Test of chemicals in liquid detergents for colour washing
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Test of chemicals in liquid detergents for colour washing

Detergents may contain problematic substances that may be allergenic or may harm fertility. Find a good chemical choice in the test.

Christel Søgaard Kirkeby · 27. september 2021
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Allergenic substances found in 4 detergents

The Danish Consumer Council THINK has tested 17 liquid detergents for coloured washing for problematic chemicals. 4 out of 17 products in the test contain problematic chemicals.

They all contain allergenic preservatives. For example, the highly allergenic substance methylisothiazolinone also called MI.

Allergenic preservatives must appear on the label. See the tested products at the bottom of the page.

2 detergents contain substances that may harm fertility

2 of the products in the test also contain boric acid and sodium borate, which are suspected of harming fertility.

These substances do not have to appear in the list of ingredients, but the full list of ingredients must be available for download on a website.

Cocktail effect: Overall exposure is problematic

The individual detergent is probably not in itself harmful.

However, a detergent can contribute to your overall exposure to problematic chemicals.

Therefore, it is a good idea to choose a detergent free of unwanted chemicals.

Select the Swan Label and allergy label

When you buy detergents, go for the eco-label swan, which set a number of environmental and health requirements on what ingredients may be used.

However, eco-labelled products may be perfumed.

Therefore, you can choose products labeled with Asthma Allergy Denmark The Blue Label or Allergy Certified. Then the product is, among other things, without perfume.

About the test

  • How we tested

    17 liquid detergents are included in the test. We have obtained the full ingredient lists online and confirmed by contact with the company.

    We have reviewed the lists of ingredients to see if the products contain problematic substances. The test is a declaration test. Therefore, no chemical analyses have been carried out and the test does not take into account concentrations.

    The test is part of the Danish Consumer Council THINK’s joint collaboration with Sweden and Finland called "Nordqual", where both the effectiveness of detergents and the content of problematic chemicals have been looked at. The EU Consumer Program funds the project.

    What we found

    How the products are distributed in the test:

    • Rating A: 12 products that are without a number of problematic chemicals.
    • Rating B: 1 product containing perfume.
    • Rating C: 4 products containing problematic chemicals, which among other things is allergenic preservation.

    We have found these problematic substances:

    • Isothiazolinons, allergenic, are found in 4 products - (methylisothiazolinone, octylisothiazolinone, benzisothiazolinone).
    • Borates, which can damage fertility and are on the EU list of particularly problematic substances, have been found in 2 products (Boric acid, Sodium borate)
    • Butylphenyl Methylpropional, a perfumer suspected of being endocrine disruptor, to damage fertility and can cause allergies, has been found in 1 product.
    • LAS, which can be problematic for the environment, is found in 4 products - (Sodium Dodecyl Benzenesulfonate, TEA-Dodecyl Benzenesulfonate, Sodium C10-13 Alkyl Benzene Sulphonate)
  • Salling Group, which is behind Netto and Savin:

    "At Salling Group, we are very aware of and work intensively to phase out questionable substances in our Private Label products. This also applies to Savin, where we are working to make it produced without, for example, benzisothiazolinone and Butylphenyl methylpropional.

    Lidl, who is behind Formil Colour:

    "At Lidl, we constantly work to expand our product range in a more sustainable direction. This also applies to detergents such as Formil, where we already offer a Swan labelled product in the series. We keep up to date with any problematic substances and follow the ongoing debate closely - and will of course always comply with the applicable legislation."

Contact us

Do you have any questions regarding the test? Or do you want to receive news articles regarding our tests in English?

Send an email request to Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

contact us here