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Dangers of Using Laundry Powder on Your Hands

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Is laundry powder usable as a hand wash? In short, no. Although clearly stated and understood, managements of various businesses in Malaysia especially in the manufacturing field are providing it to laborers as an alternative to hand wash. No surprise as laundry powder is cheap and easily sourced than a hand wash from your local sundry or hardware store. Such practice is improper where the health and wellbeing of our workers are jeopardized. There is a fine line that we should not cross despite trying to minimize costs and maximize profits.

Why is it harmful to our hands?

Most laundry powder products contain caustic ingredients that are harmful to the human skin. They are to be used on non-organic matter such as fabric from the clothes that we wear in our everyday life and not on our hands. In some cases, laundry powder will exert heat upon contact with water as it produces an exothermic chemical reaction and is not advisable to be touched with your bare hands.

Laundry detergent powder are chemically produced to removed oil stains and your hands are laced with natural oils, doing so will make your skin crack open. It breaks down and dissolve organic materials such as fats, food stains. You may get chemical burns if you are to immerse your hands into a bucket of washing powder solution.

What are the harmful ingredients contained in typical laundry soap powders?

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) OR Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate
    Created and typically used as a surface degreaser in garages. They may inflame your skin, eyes and lungs, damaging your respiratory system too! These sulphates may also clog pores and cause acne. Both SLS and SLES are known to cause eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. Those with sensitive skin are advised to steer clear from these sulfates.
  2. Phosphates
    Causes cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and sometimes death! Common phosphate used in detergents is sodium tripolyphosphate. Even though useful in improving the effectiveness of detergents, it has been banned in parts of American and European soil for its adverse impact on water bodies.
  3. Quaternium-15
    A quaternary ammonium salt that releases formaldehyde, a carcinogen known to trigger asthma or damages the respiratory system even. Skin rashes included. It is used as a preservative. Formaldehyde has been proven and linked to cancer if contacted daily. It has been banned from usage in the European Union.
  4. 1,4-Dioxane
    A solvent that may cause drowsiness, headache, anorexia, and irritations to our sense of smell, vision and respiratory system. Exposure to high amounts of 1,4 dioxane may result in liver and kidney toxicity. It is a known carcinogen since the year 1988.
  5. Phthalates
    Comes bundled together with the fragrance included in the laundry detergent powder. Phthalates is typically used to increase the longevity of the plastics. Researchers have relate phthalates to asthma in the last decade or so.
  6. Bleach
    This material is mostly stated on the product label as Sodium Hypochlorite rather than the word bleach. It gives a false sense of cleanliness by turning UV rays into visible light for “white” clothing. Even though known as a skin and lung irritant, most are clueless of its commonality in laundry products.
  7. Benzene
    Used to lower the surface tension of water and stains on clothes, allowing dirt particles to be suspended in the liquid and easier to dissolve.
  8. Nonylphenol Ethoxylate
    A non-ionic surfactant used in laundry detergents and other cleaning products. It is a synthetic detergent that is made from petrochemicals, and it is one of the most commonly used surfactants in the world. NPEO has been linked to a number of environmental and health concerns. It is a hormone disruptor, and it can interfere with the reproductive systems of both animals and humans. It is also toxic to aquatic life, and it can cause serious damage to the environment.


Use a proper hand wash detergent like ours at Upekkha Cleaning Equipment! You’d save more with us than purchasing hand wash from supermarkets and hypermarkets alike. Contact us today to know more about our hand wash detergents!

Benjamin P.

Benjamin P.

A BMus performance arts graduate majoring in classical piano somehow ends up pressing on the wrong keyboard writing articles for you cleaning nerds instead of music enthusiasts.

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