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Phosphate Free Detergents - An Eco-Friendly Solution

Phosphates are the main cleaning agent in many detergents and household cleaners. Although phosphates break down grease and remove stains, they are difficult to remove in waste water and often end up in rivers and lakes destroying aquatic life. Phosphate-free detergents keep phosphate out of lakes and streams, protecting our natural environment ...

What You Should Know About Phosphate Free Detergent

Phosphorus has always been one of the main ingredients in detergents, but phosphate free detergent is becoming more of the norm, with many countries opting to ban and/or place regulations on the use of phosphates in detergents.

Phosphates are used in detergents as what are called “builders.’ Builders enhance the cleaning efficiency of detergents by reducing soap scum and removing dirt from soiled clothing. Builders have been increasingly necessary in areas where the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions creates “hard” water. Builders keep the hard water from interfering with the cleaning process. In phosphate free detergent, the phosphates are replaced by alternatives like sodium carbonate sodium silicate, citrates, and zeolite A, which are effective builders in and of themselves.

The problem with phosphate detergent occurs when it is allowed to get into the water supply. Unfortunately, when phosphates go down the drain, they often show up in bodies of fresh water. Higher than normal phosphate levels can destroy fresh water bodies by causing algae to grow at a much faster rate than usual. The build up pf algae makes it more difficult and expensive to filter water for drinking and can cause fresh water to go cloudy and smell bad. Along with this, excessive algae growth can eventually kill lakes, rivers, and streams by choking them until they go dry. This is a vital reason for the use of phosphate free detergent.

Many parts of the world have banned laundry detergents containing phosphates and insist on the use of phosphate free detergent instead. Phosphate free detergent is the standard in places like the United Sates, Japan, Canada, and Western Europe. There is, however, another fight brewing over the use of phosphates in other soaps such as dishwasher detergent. Many of the same countries that require the use of phosphate free detergent for laundry have yet to place such requirements in effect for other types of soaps. The fact that they would ignore the use of phosphates in products like dishwasher detergent, but restrict it in laundry detergent seems hypocritical. In fact, many environmental groups are calling for bans on all soaps and detergents containing phosphates.

With the problems we now face, in every country of the world, with our fresh water supply, it only makes sense to eliminate proven contaminants from our water as much as possible. The history of detergents containing phosphates leaves little doubt of their negative impact upon our environment. As green-conscious consumers, it behooves us to take action wherever we can to eliminate the use of products that would bring damage to our planet.

Nothing can change the negative impact of man on this planet, but man himself. By choosing to do the right thing, and by using products whose alternative is to abolish the degradation of our planet rather than to contribute it we make the right choice for ourselves, our fellow man, and the earth.

Sometimes, such choices are difficult. Sometimes they are as simple as choosing to use phosphate free detergent for whatever type of cleaning you do. You won’t believe the healthy impact switching to phosphate free detergents can make until you give it a try.

Phosphate-Free Detergents

Phosphate Free Detergents - Compare products, read user reviews and browse a range of earth-friendly phosphate free laundry and dishwashing detergents from

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Green Cleaning Products - What Is Wrong With Phosphates?

Phosphates are naturally occurring compounds crucial for life on our planet. The fact that living organisms use phosphates has been a key argument in the detergent manufacturers claims that phosphates are not dangerous and do not need to be removed. But once again, that old adage 'too much of a good thing..' rings true in the case of phosphates. Although nature uses and needs phosphates it does not need the huge volume we are depositing in the waterways.

As we send such vast quantities of phosphates into our water system, algae feed happily on this free meal. Sadly the algae bloom out of control. Whole coastlines in the Baltic and Adriatic Seas become covered in a mass of thick algae. While it lives in such un-sustainable volume it blocks light and warmth from the organisms struggling to live below it.

As the algae dies it then becomes un-naturally large swathes of dead matter. With the algae decomposing, suffocating out light, heat and oxygen from all the other struggling organisms in its stretch of water. As anaerobic bacteria decompose the dead algae the oxygen levels in the body of water are much reduced. It is likely that fish and other water borne organisms will die off due to insufficient oxygen.

This process is called eutrophication and is a naturally occurring process where waterways gradually fill with plant life and silt. In nature the process takes thousands of years to clog up lakes. With our un-natural over-fertilisation of the waterways by sending phosphates through the waste-water system, we can speed things up significantly.

The problem of eutorphication is not just one of small streams and lakes. This poses a significant threat to the balance and diversity of whole seas. Recently the World Wildlife Fund has made great strides in getting detergent manufacturers to voluntarily reduce phosphates in a bid to save the Baltic Sea. Although modern waste-water treatment facilities can remove much of the phosphate load in water, we are not all lucky enough to have such high specification facilities. The countries sharing the Baltic Sea possess very different levels of waste-water treatments. Even those with the most efficient, cannot hope to capture all the phosphates in detergents because so many homes are not connected to the sewage treatment systems anyway.

This work to help prevent the Baltic Sea dying shows how important it is to think of the wider world. So your town may harness 90% of the phosphates you send into the sewage treatment system. That's great, but you share your waterways and we all share the oceans with others who may have less complicated systems. Plus that 10% will never be captured. If we just prevent the phosphates arriving in the water in the first place we can save ourselves some hassle.

Choosing phosphate free green cleaning products will not stop all phosphates affecting our waterways. Much will still run off land, and be occurring naturally through human and animal waste. But choosing Eco cleaners is an easy way to reduce that burden significantly. The World Wildlife Fund estimate a 24% reduction on the phosphate load of the Baltic Sea simply by removing phosphates from detergents. Once we have done that we can move on to tackling all the other phosphates we are responsible. But if just making our cleaning Eco friendly can reduce the burden by nearly a quarter I think it is worth making the switch.

Article Author: Lec Watkins. For more information on green cleaning products and how to make cleaning Eco friendly visit the Eco Green Cleaning Product site. Article Source:


Phosphate-Free Detergents

Phosphate Free Laundry Detergents

Some phosphate free laundry detergents you can purchase online include:

Phosphate Free Laundry Detergents

Some phosphate free dishwashing detergents you can purchase online include:

Phosphate-Free Detergent Features

Some of the features that green consumers look for in phosphate free detergents include the following:

  • Animal-free ingredients
  • Artificial fragrance-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Chlorine-free
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Formaldehyde Free
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Kosher certified
  • Made from plants
  • Made with cruelty-free ingredients
  • Made with renewable ingredients
  • Neutral pH
  • No dyes
  • Non-toxic
  • Not tested on animals
  • Packaged in recyclable containers
  • Petrochemical Free
  • Vegan product

Go here for more eco-friendly laundry and dishwasher detergents

The Phosphate in Dishwasher Detergent Debate

Phosphates are found in many detergents, cleaning products, fertilizers and in water. Phosphate is a mixture of salt and phosphoric acid and is considered to be an inorganic material. Water-softening phosphates are great for breaking down grease and they remove stains very well but are often difficult to remove in waste water. They very often end up in rivers and lakes which increases algae growth (algae blooms), choking lakes and streams, suffocating fish and aquatic life.

There are two sides to the issue of if detergents should contain phosphate. On one side are environmentalists who are fighting for cleaning products, like dishwasher detergents, to not have it in them. On the other side are people who want good cleaning products that do the job they're supposed to. There have been many complaints about these more expensive cleaning products and detergents that don't contain phosphate because they don't clean very well. States like Washington have begun setting low limits on it in dishwasher detergent, forcing people to smuggle in brands like Cascade and Electrasol over the state borders from stores like Costco. Other states are considering similar legislation and environmentalists say it's just a matter of time before laws banning phosphates in detergents goes nation-wide.

Phosphates are an important plant nutrient but higher than normal levels can destroy the health of lakes. They allow increased algae growth make clear lakes and rivers look green and cloudy. This addition growth of the algae is not unappealing to look at and also makes the water smell bad. It's not something people really want to swim in. Another downside to increased levels is that it can make drinking water more expensive to filter as it makes its way back to our faucets.

This demand in good cleaning products that are earth-friendly / eco-friendly has brought many new dishwasher detergents to the market. Some of these brands are Seventh Generation, Caldrea and Biokleen - among others. These new brands seem to have mixed reviews about how clean they will get dishes. People are trying them and are finding that some work decently while others don't do the job.

Cleaning dishes is important since you do not want grease or old food to remain on dishes, possibly growing harmful bacteria, causing sickness. Some people have ditched using their dishwashers and have gone to hand washing their dishes to make sure they get clean as they wait for the industry to come out with a good dishwasher detergent that is green, inexpensive and does a good job cleaning. Until such a new detergent proves itself worthy, people will need to scrub a little harder or continue to smuggle in other brands to do their cleaning.

About The Author: Chuck H. Anthony. Chuck does research into the social effects of legislation and how it affects the lives of consumers and the environment. He's a neutral party in the debate about environmental issues as he researches both sides of these issues. Chuck is guest writer for many websites and has had articles recently appear on the Phosphate Dishwasher Detergent Guide website where he writes about Phosphate Free Dishwasher Detergents. Article Source:


Phosphate Free Detergents - Compare, review and buy a range of earth-friendly phosphate free laundry and dishwashing detergents from respected eco brands like Seventh Generation, Citra Dishwashing Detergents, The Laundress and more online at

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