How Your Clothes Destroy Your Health + 3 Natural Remedies

How Your Clothes Destroy Your Health + 3 Natural Remedies


There’s a secret battle going on in your outfit. It’s not a clashing color scheme, and it’s not a fight to fit into those jeans. No, the battle is between the hidden chemicals lurking in your clothes and your skin. And how is this relevant?


The skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it absorbs everything we put on it, which means the skin microbiome is our first line of defense to keep us healthy and in balance. 

Your skin is under constant assault from environmental agents, harsh cleansers and soaps, deodorants and other personal care products, chemical-laden detergent, and medications.

Our skin’s microbiome is compromised by urban smog, sun damage, free radicals, cosmetics and toiletries, and also your clothes. You may even struggle with dark spots and mottled skin from years of conventional skin care, often laced with harsh chemicals that weaken the microbiome’s ability to its best self.

Please remember you are as healthy as WHAT you put on your skin and inside your body. 

So if you want to be healthy and have beautiful skin that can breathe properly underneath your clothes, you don’t want to clean your clothes with the conventionally sold detergents. Here’s why.


According to the American Lung Association and the Cleveland Clinic, just to name a few of numerous research studies on the subject, there is a large amount of scientific evidence that conventional cleaning products contain harmful, synthetic chemicals that damage your health, your pet’s health, and the health of the environment.(2), (3

 Store-bought detergents can irritate skin and eyes or make you more sensitive to other chemicals. 

Asthma can develop if a person is exposed to large quantities of detergent. Chlorine bleach liquid and vapors can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Dermatitis may result from direct skin contact. These are just a few of the negative effects of these chemicals on your skin.(2)

Most conventional products are known to cause other serious health problems such as:

  • hormonal imbalances and even cancer 
  • skin irritation and problems
  • cognitive problems
  • irritants for eyes and throat
  • headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting 
  • chronic respiratory problems, allergies
  • asthma, etc. (3)

 So Why all Natural? 


Studies show the average household may contain about 400 chemicals!! That’s a lot and what’s worse is many of them are toxic and untested, according to a study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. (4)

Did you know that around 70% of your favorite liquid detergent is water, with the remaining 30% content of harsh chemicals and cleansers? This means that your use of extra detergent in a wash doesn’t mean cleaner clothes - but only more exposure to chemicals and toxins. The residues from laundry left in your clothes are also able to rub off on your skin. This can lead to skin inflammation, eczema, dermatitis, itching and more. 

Some  of the main toxins found in laundry detergent should truly concern you:

1- Bleach- can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Dermatitis may result from direct skin contact.

2- Ammonium sulfate- can cause eye, skin and lung damage even with minimal exposure. 

3- Phosphates - are linked to cardiovascular (heart) disease as well as osteoporosis, and are extremely dangerous for marine life when disposed of in the sewer system. 

4- Formaldehyde -is a chemical usually associated with preservation of dead bodies. It was classified by the EPA as a probable carcinogen, which means it could cause an increased risk of cancer. 

5. Dioxane- (1,4 Dioxane/ Diethylene Dioxide/ Diethylene Ether) is quite possibly one of the worst additives. Dioxane is also a carcinogen and has been known to pose a combustion risk. Exposure to this toxin can damage your kidneys, lungs, central nervous system, eyes, skin and respiratory function. (5

Unfortunately these 5 dangerous chemicals mentioned above are not the only bad ones you need to be aware of and avoid, so make sure you check the EWG skin deep database for each ingredient on each label for the products you intend to buy. 


So how do you know how to avoid harsh ingredients in your detergents and cleaners? First, you must read labels for all the products you buy either foods, cosmetics, cleaners, and even building materials. 

The first indication should be the name of the ingredient. If you can’t pronounce it, should you be exposed to it? 

We don’t think so, but if you want to convince yourself, you may want to check the EWG website database. The Environmental Working Group is a great, non-profit organization that helps consumers identify potentially dangerous chemicals in commercially sold products.

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning is an online hazard guide for household cleaning products, launched in 2012 to help people find products that fully disclose their ingredients and contain fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested.

The database combines product ingredient lists gleaned from product labels, company websites and worker safety documents with information in more than 16 standard toxicity databases and extensive searches of peer-reviewed scientific literature.This database provides easy-to-navigate hazard ratings for more than 2,000 cleaning products. Just enter the ingredients from any labels into the EWG database search bar to find out if they're toxic for your health. 

So what’s the best alternative then?


Making your own products ensures that you know exactly what you’re working with. Safely freshen and purify your home in a way that is easy and fun.

At Herba Terra Organic -when sourcing our ingredients- we look for ingredients that will be effective and will meet our bar for the health of the people and the planet. We believe that we can have effective, clean ingredients, and a healthy planet.

We only used ingredients on the EPA Safer Chemical Ingredients List and none of the ingredients on the EWG Unacceptable List or the Prop 65 Banned Ingredients List.

According to the EWG, the ingredients on the EWG Unacceptable list are ingredients “with health, ecotoxicity, and or contamination concerns and according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the Prop 65 list “contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.” As such, we’ve avoided using any ingredients from those lists.

At Herba Terra Organic, we also chose to source our products from vegan, soy, and nut-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients. This is why we only offer essential oils that are USDA Certified Organic, which is the golden standard recognized world wide to ensure our customers get the highest quality and the safest products for their health–always.

So invite nature into your home with our 100% plant-based essential oils without any additives such as cheap carrier oils (laden with soy and GMO ingredients), which are hidden in  cheaper brands and most oil blends sold in the US.

Studies have shown that essential oils high in monoterpenes are most effective at reducing bacterial presence, making them a powerful and safe cleaning choice.

Here are some of our tried and tested favorite laundry recipes we want to share with you.

Clean without dirtying the planet and irritating your skin. 


Naturally Scented Laundry Detergent


  • 1 cup baking soda 
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar of castile soap grated
  • 35 drops of essential oil. Choose from Fir, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, Orange, Oregano*


*Note: The oils we recommend in all the cleaning recipes have more antibacterial and antiviral powers, but you can use any oil scents you love to smell on your clothes or while you're sleeping. Oregano is the best to use when someone in the house is very sick because it's the most powerful natural antibiotic and it will help keep viruses, germs, and bacteria at bay while protecting the whole family.

  1. Grate your castile bar soap using a hand grater or a food processor (I use an old cheese grater)
  2. Place all of your dry ingredients (borax, washing soda, baking soda) in a bowl & stir together
  3. Add in your grated castile soap to the mix and stir thoroughly.
  4. Add in your essential oils & mix really well.
  5. Store in airtight container- preferable glass, as it keeps the oils scents much longer.                  

NOTE: For white clothes, instead of using toxic bleach, you can find 100% natural products such as Nellie's Oxygen Brightener Powder (or similar) or add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a full load of white colored laundry.

dryer ball infused with tea tree essential oil


DIY Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets are typically single-use and made from polyester, which often includes plastic fibers, known for polluting the environment and harming your skin. Upgrade to reusable wool dryer balls for naturally scented and truly clean clothes and a cleaner planet. 

Ditch the store bought dryer sheets filled with fragrances and other harmful chemicals to protect your skin and opt for this easy natural solution we know you're gonna love because you'll save money and time (no more trips to the store to buy them). Plus you'll sleep so much better and your skin will thank you! 


  • wool balls (you can also use wool yarn balls or tennis balls) 
  • a few drops of your favorite essential oils 


After you put your washed clothes and linens in the drier, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the wool balls or tennis balls, and go ahead with your day. You can buy them online for about $5-7 for a pack of 4 balls, but if you don't want to pay for them just make your own from a wool yarn ball or use tennis balls. You don’t need to worry about stains- the few drops of oils added to your dryer balls will NOT ruin your clothes.

EXTRA TIP: if you want to sleep better we recommend the following oils: Basil, Clary Sage, Lavender, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Ylang-Ylang.

For a fresh burst of aromas that are invigorating and uplifting your mood try: Basil, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass, Orange, Rosemarin, Tea Tree. We love these fresh, citrus scents for the hot summer days.


Linen Spray 

Making your own linen spray is an easy, fun recipe to do at a fraction of a cost for store bought sprays. This natural spray will freshen your sheet, your rooms, and invoke a peaceful rest. 


  • Glass spray bottle (preferable for all essential oils)
  • 1 tbs witch hazel or vodka ( to suspend the aroma)
  • 20 drops of any essential oil combination. Choose from the following: Basil, Cedar, Clary Sage, Fir, Lemongrass, all citrus oils- Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, etc, Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Ylang. If you want to mix them, divide the 20 drops between the oils you chose. 


Mix all ingredients and shake well before each application. This spray should be used within 3-6 months due to the all-natural, preservative-free ingredients.

Start your green and clean laundry today to better your skin and health, your pocket and the planet! 

The collection below includes the BEST essential oils for cleaning known for their antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-viral properties.



You may also be interested in: 

DIY Natural Cleaning with Essential Oils + 5 Affordable Recipes


Back to blog