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Like Oil & Water - The Problem with Emulsifiers.

When trying to choose a safe and effective cleaner, it's easy to get disoriented with unfamiliar and hard-to-understand, not intuitive ingredient lists. Reading a cleaning product label often feels like cracking a code, with chemicals that sound intimidating and hard-to-pronounce names. And, invariably, the reader gives up trying to understand, and thinks "how harmful can it be? It can't be that bad if it's on the shelf in a grocery store."


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are similarly-named chemicals that are often confused. They are commonly used as an emulsifying cleaning substance. An emulsifier is a substance that binds oil molecules with water molecules into a homogenous substance. Think, Italian Salad Dressing, the oil and water separate naturally, which is why you have to shake the bottle before pouring it onto a salad. SLS and SLES are commonly used in household cleaning products (laundry detergents, spray cleaners, and dishwasher detergents), these two ingredients may sound the same, but they are very different.

SLS is a known irritant - so well-known that it's commonly used in testing to harm skin intentionally: following its application, scientists can compare the effects of untested products against SLS or test the efficiency of products intended to heal the skin. The gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposure is concerning, due to a lack of long-term studies on how ALL of the chemicals found in cleaning products react together. 


SLES is similar to SLS but has been through an additional chemical engineering stage – ethoxylation. Because of this extra step, SLES can sometimes contain traces of a compound called 1,4-dioxane, a toxic contaminant and carcinogen. To ensure zero contamination, SLES has to be vacuum stripped, and there is no way to know whether or not manufacturers complete this process. Although both SLS and SLES are biodegradable, they are considered toxic to aquatic animals.


Embed Hygiene Defence products do not use SLS or SLES emulsifiers or emulsifying process, so how are the essential oils and solutions suspended together in the Embed Hygiene Defence products? Glorious Seaweed (as in marine-based plants and algae) and plant gum, already widely used in food and everyday pharmaceutical products. We find this a refreshing difference from the SLE and SLES toxicity of industrial cleaners. 


Experience the Embed Hygiene Defence difference today.

Brittany Gooding
Brittany Gooding
Content writer by day, toddler mom by night. When Brittany isn’t checking grammar or chasing her toddler, you can find her sipping coffee, watching The Office, or organizing her pen collection. You can find Brittany on LinkedIn.

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