To get an idea of the types of chemicals found in products like detergents, see this article listing the most common chemicals found in 31 fragrance products.
Thankfully, there are many non-toxic options.
Soap nuts grow on the Chinese Soapberry Tree and are sometimes call Soap Berries. Soap nuts contain naturally occurring saponins which foam when combined with water. Click here to find out more.
Another alternative is to make your own laundry soap. Note that laundry soap will be more natural than detergent, as detergent is made from synthetics while soap is derived from natural elements. Here is a simple homemade powdered laundry soap.
- 1 bar Castile soap (Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap originating in Spain. Kirk's Castile offers a version with minimal added fragrance.)
- 1 c. Borax
- 1 c. washing soda
Use 2 tablespoons per full washer load.
For added potency, add 1/2 c. baking soda to each load and 1/2 c. white vinegar during the rinse cycle.