The Surprising Ingredients In Fabric Softener
Many laundry detergent manufacturers have a bit of a secret that they like to keep from their buyers, and this is a bit of a story of clever labelling to hide an uncomfortable truth.
Virtually every fabric softener currently available from our supermarkets has a very poor profile when it comes to animal exploitation. Not only are many of the ingredients used in detergents and fabric softeners tested on animals, but some of the conditioners that help to make our clothes feel that little bit softer include a substance that you will see on the ingredients list as tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride.
This is essentially just a long winded way of saying fat mixed with ammonium. Usually the fat is from cows or horses. It means that vegans and vegetarians have to be rather careful about the choice of conditioner they make, but my view is that it should not really matter if you are vegan or not - animal fat in the washing machine is just a bit, well, repugnant.
This is something that is all too easy to overlook. I only learned the extent of the use of animal products in laundry detergents and softeners when I started researching for Planet Minimal. Indeed, I may have been unwittingly using animal derived fabric softeners at times, but I guess it is understandable since the labelling is a bit murky to say the least, something that should be changed.
There are lots of good resources for keeping up to date on products that may contain animal products or that have been tested on animals, with many blogs out there providing good information. A word of caution too, though - make sure anything you read is recent. A good example of how things can go wrong here is that of Ecover and Method, both brands that were founded on cruelty-free and environmentally responsible principles. Recently though, both have been acquired by SC Johnson, a company that has a poor record when it comes to animal testing. This has triggered a bit of a backlash against the two brands, with many boycotting them, as detailed in this article by Nature Watch.
Planet Minimal is careful to source products that do not involve animal testing or use animal derived ingredients - we also promise that, should the situation arise, we would refuse any option to be acquired by a company that does not share these values.