Listed as one of the 9 Recommended Detergents for Baby Laundry, Dreft detergent has been around for what seems like forever. And based on its packaging and marketing, you are led to believe that it is absolutely the best laundry detergent you could use on your baby's clothes.
But is that true? Let's take a look at Dreft detergent and see if it truly lives up to its claims.
What Dreft Advertises
The company states that Dreft is "specially formulated to be gentle on babies skin and tough on stains." Having been around for more than 70 years, Proctor & Gamble cites the detergent works particularly well on are formula, juice, baby food and spit-up.
Dreft states that their formula rinses thoroughly and leaves virtually no residue on the baby's clothes.
Ingredients of Concern
While most of the ingredients in Dreft are of little concern, there are four ingredients cited by GoodGuide — a site run by scientific and technology experts devoted to providing "authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies." — that are of concern.
- Propylene Glycol: listed as an ingredient of medium concern, Propylene Glycol is used in literally thousands of everyday items. However, there has been significant debate over whether or not this ingredient is actually safe. According to Scorecard.org, Propylene Glycol is suspected of causing immunotoxicity, respiratory toxicity and skin or sense organ toxicity. You can learn more about Propylene Glycol from David Fisher, the About.com Guide to Candle and Soap Making.
- Ethyl Alcohol: better known as ethanol and often associated with biofuels and the environment. Listed as an ingredient with a medium level of health concern, GoodGuide indicates that this ingredient is suspected of causing cancer, developmental toxicity, gastrointestinal and liver toxicity, neurotoxicity and skin or sense organ toxicity. As is true with Propylene Glycol, Ethyl Alcohol is used in thousands of everyday products from nail polish to cosmetics. To put it in perspective, you should read the Ethyl Alcohol in Laundry Guide at GoodGuide.com.
- Sodium Hydroxide: better known as "lye," and a common ingredient in soap and GoodGuide lists this posing a low level of health concern. According to Scorecard.org, Sodium Hydroxide is suspected of causing respiratory and skin or sense organ toxicity. This particular ingredient is widely used and is found in almost all laundry detergents.
- Calcium Formate: is another ingredient classified as presenting a low level of health concern, primarily because full testing has not yet been done on the chemical, however, it is commonly used as a food additive E238.
What Parents Have to Say
Parents overwhelming love the scent of Dreft, which is described as being light but not overpowering. Also receiving high marks are the wide availability of the detergent as well as the ease of use for all family laundry — thanks to the light scent that doesn't smell like babies.
There seem to be three major complaints among parents when it comes to Dreft: price, it's inability to remove some stains and the fact that it's still scented. Many parents indicate that, in order to really get stains out, a pre-treater and the hot water setting on the washer must be used. And for parents with baby's that suffer from eczema or other skin sensitivities, scented laundry detergent is a big no-no.
Another concern that continues to creep up that Procter & Gamble does not adequately disclose the ingredients of Dreft.
My Personal Experience with Dreft
As is true of most parents, as soon as I began collecting baby clothes, I bought laundry detergent to wash them all in. And I first turned to Dreft because of it's fantastic reputation and the many parent recommendations that I came across. My experience was initially very good, but after the baby was born, I found that it did not adequately remove baby poop stains — particularly those that resulted from exclusively breastfeeding. With a little work, I was able to almost completely remove spit-up and formula stains though.
The Bottom Line
Dreft is a well-known baby laundry detergent that could easily be used for an entire family's laundry. It's price point is not the least nor the most expensive, but if you're looking for a super-economical laundry detergent that will do a great job removing stains, I would recommend a detergent such as all Free & Clear or Purex for Babies.
Share Your Experience with Dreft Laundry Detergent
Did you choose Dreft or are you currently using it? Share your experience with this detergent.