Marine Safe Laundry Detergent
Graywater refers to the untreated water originating from sinks, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, as well as the runoff from boat cleaning activities involving detergents, soaps, and bleaches.
This untreated water poses a significant threat to marine ecosystems, particularly in ports and coastal regions. In certain regions, graywater is classified as sewage and subject to specific regulations, with the presence of soap bubbles on the water's surface even being considered a reportable pollution incident. As a result, numerous marinas and harbors have implemented a strict no-discharge policy.
Just like blackwater (sewage discharge), when graywater is introduced into aquatic environments, the chemical nutrients it carries break down in the water, reducing the availability of oxygen for aquatic organisms. Additionally, this surge of nutrients encourages the rapid growth of algae, a phenomenon known as eutrophication. With an excess of algae, ecosystems can eventually become oxygen-deprived. This oxygen deficiency can lead to suffocation in fish, shellfish, and other aquatic organisms, ultimately leading to the formation of dead zones.
On our last 3-week Canada Boating Trip, I was in the Refuge Cove laundry room doing our laundry. I watched a woman putting a strip of something in her wash and asked what it was. A laundry detergent strip! What?! I had never heard of such a thing. She raved about how well they worked, saved space on her small boat and were lighter than schlepping a jug of detergent up to the marina laundry room.
In addition to them being lightweight and convenient she said they were eco-friendly. A big plus, especially if they perform well. I try to use products that are safer for the marine environment, especially when I am using them on the boat.
We do not have a washer on board our boat but if we did, I would be thrilled to find these eco-friendly laundry sheets that clean well.
I was skeptical about these little strips actually cleaning clothes well, so I decided to do some research, purchase a couple brands and try them myself. After many loads of laundry, this is the brand that I am sticking with!
First, let's dive into why it is better for our marine environment to avoid using chemical-based laundry detergents.
Using Chemical-Based Laundry Detergents Can Harm The Ocean And Aquatic Ecosystems
- Chemical Runoff: When you use these products, they often get washed down drains and into wastewater systems. Once in the water, these chemicals can have harmful effects on aquatic life.
- Water Pollution: Chemical detergents and cleaning products contain various substances, including surfactants, phosphates, and synthetic fragrances. These substances can pollute water bodies and disrupt the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. For example, phosphates from detergents can lead to nutrient enrichment in water, causing excessive algae growth (eutrophication) that can harm aquatic species.
- Toxic Effects on Marine Life: Many of the chemicals found in these products can be toxic to marine organisms. This includes detergents and cleaning agents containing surfactants and chemicals like bleach. These substances can harm fish, aquatic plants, and other marine life by interfering with their respiratory systems, disrupting reproductive cycles, or damaging their tissues.
- Altered Water Chemistry: The introduction of chemicals into water bodies can alter the water's chemistry, affecting pH levels and creating unfavorable conditions for certain marine species. These changes can harm coral reefs and other sensitive aquatic habitats.
- Microplastic Pollution: Some laundry detergents contain microplastic particles, such as microbeads, which can end up in wastewater and ultimately reach the ocean. These microplastics are harmful to marine life when ingested or absorbed by organisms, and they can enter the food chain, potentially affecting human health as well.
- Bioaccumulation: Chemical pollutants that enter the marine environment can accumulate in the tissues of marine organisms over time. This process, known as bioaccumulation, can result in higher concentrations of harmful chemicals in organisms at higher trophic levels, potentially impacting predators, including humans who consume seafood.
- Habitat Destruction: Some cleaning products are used in and around water bodies, such as lakes or rivers, for cleaning boats, docks, or other equipment. The runoff from these activities can introduce harmful chemicals and toxins directly into aquatic habitats, disrupting local ecosystems.
To mitigate these harmful effects on the ocean and aquatic life, individuals can consider using environmentally friendly and biodegradable cleaning products and laundry detergents. These products are formulated to be less harmful to the environment and can help reduce the negative impact of household cleaning routines on the oceans and waterways.
There is a great green boating cleaning products resource that lists some homemade boat cleaners.
The Tru Earth Laundry Strips
Be part of the solution: Every little effort counts in the fight against plastic pollution in our oceans. Using these eco-friendly strips helps eliminate harmful chemicals returning to the ocean with your boat’s gray water.
Like I said, I was skeptical about these little strips actually cleaning clothes well, so I decided to do some research, purchase a couple brands and try them myself. After many loads of laundry, this is the Tru Earth brand is the one that I am sticking with!
WHY THESE ARE RECOMMENDED
- Eco-friendly product that packs a ton of cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured lightweight ultra-concentrated strip of detergent.
- Best performing laundry sheet in many tests, including my own
- Lots of 5-star reviews
- Each strip weighs just 3 grams - a perfect compact size for boat use.
- No measuring, no mess: 1 strip equals 1 load.
- Easy to use. You simply tear off a strip and place it either in the dispenser or inside the drum of the washing machine
- Works in all washing machines (Front & Top Loaders, HE)
- Will dissolve in either hot or cold water
- The packaging is a biodegradable cardboard sleeve that can be recycled or composted
- Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin
- Vegan and cruelty free
Tru Earth Certifications:
- Free of added dyes
- Free of chlorine bleach
- Free of 1,4-dioxane, as certified by independent laboratory tests
- Readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D
- Vegan: no animal-based ingredients or testing on animals by us or our ingredient suppliers
Available in Fresh Scent, Fresh Linen, Heavy Duty Fragrance Free, and Baby Fragrance free
Tru Earth Laundry Strips Are Marine Friendly
I contacted Tru Earth and asked directly if they were marine friendly. This is their response:
"We are Ocean Wise Certified consequently making our products marine safe."
Categories: Healthy Boat Living