This article discusses why using pH-neutral laundry detergent is so important for your skin, clothing, and home linen.
Here at Heritage Park, we spend a good bit of time telling you what’s in our detergent and -- most importantly -- what’s not in it! Our short list of ingredients features plant-based compounds and a proprietary blend of enzymes to effectively clean and safely care for your clothes and linen.
You’ll also read that we describe our products being pH-neutral. Most of us haven’t thought too much about pH since high-school chemistry class. So if you’re not a scientist by trade, read on for a quick refresher on the pH scale.
What is pH and Why Does it Matter?
In layman’s terms, pH translates to “potential of Hydrogen” (or “power of Hydrogen) with the H denoting the chemical symbol. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with low pH being acidic (for example, lemon juice has a pH of around 2) and high pH being alkaline, or basic (baking soda has a pH of around 9 while bleach has a pH of 13).
You can see from the pH scale above that neutral pH is somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5. This is the natural pH of water, and the range of all Heritage Park Laundry Detergents.
Note: Some acidic (lemon juice, vinegar) or basic (baking soda, bleach) compounds are actually effective at targeting specific stains on an as-needed basis. While an acidic or basic formula is fine to use as an occasional stain remover, you should use a pH-neutral formula for regular laundering. Learn more about stain removal here.
What Can Happen to You if pH is Too High or Too Low?
When you think about it, your laundry detergent should be every bit as safe for your skin as soap, shampoo, or facial cleanser. After all, everything you wash (with the exception perhaps of some table linen) comes in direct contact with your skin. So, what are the consequences of using a detergent that is too acidic or too basic? Simply put, a detergent that is too high or too low in pH can be harmful for people (and the environment).
- If the pH in your detergent is too low, it is acidic. This can cause skin irritation, rash, redness, eczema or dermatitis.
- Similarly, an alkaline detergent can also irritate the skin by leaving behind a deposit on fabric that, when in contact with skin, attacks the “acid mantle” that serves as a barrier to bacteria resulting in infection and irritation.
Why is pH Neutral Detergent Best for Fabric?
At Heritage Park Laundry Essentials, our mission is to help you clean and care for your clothes and home linen. That’s a big part of why we insist our detergents be pH neutral: a pH neutral formula is better for the integrity of fabric. If a detergent is too acidic, it will, over time, degrade and destroy the fibers of your clothing, bedding, and towels, particularly those made of delicate fabric. Most commercial modern detergents tend to be a bit on the alkaline side, with a pH of between 8 and 10; this is considered “good” for targeting routine dirt and stains, but the pH of these detergents is achieved by using harsh chemicals.
The Heritage Park pH-Neutral Difference
Heritage Park Laundry Detergent is a concentrated, liquid detergent. It is made to a neutral pH balance without any of the harsh chemicals found in “supermarket” laundry detergents:
NO Dyes: Dyes used to color detergent serve absolutely NO purpose in getting your clothing or fine linen clean. Even worse, dyes are a common source of skin irritation and allergies in a cleaning product.
NO Sulfates: Sulfate is a surfactant used to create foam in laundry products (as well as in other household cleaning and personal care products like dish soap and shampoo). Sulfates and can irritate allergies, eczema, and other skin conditions
NO Phosphates: Used to soften hard water, but dangerous for people and the environment. (Most reputable detergent manufacturers have stopped using phosphates).
NO Chlorine: Chlorine is a highly reactive chemical element that is used to disinfect and sanitize, but it triggers skin irritation and worsens contact dermatitis.
NO Bleach: Chlorine and oxygen bleach can both irritate delicate skin and shouldn’t be used as an ingredient in regular detergent (if needed for sanitation or brightening, these products should be added separately after testing for irritation).
NO Brighteners: Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals that stay on fabric to absorb UV light and make items appear brighter. These compounds are not biodegradable in wastewater and pose an environmental hazard.
Why is Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent So Effective?
Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent is wonderfully effective at cleaning your clothing and home linen because -- along with a short list of plant-based ingredients --it contains a proprietary blend of enzymes that work together to remove stubborn stains:
- Protease (Subtilisin): Protease enzymes target protein stains. These include food stains such as egg and milk; a mud or grass stain; and blood and other body fluids.
- Alpha-amylase: These enzymes are formulated to remove starch stains such as those left by gravy, cereal, or pasta.
- Pectate Lyase: Pectate lyase enzymes attack pectin stains, which are left by fruits and vegetables.
- Lipase: As you may be able to tell by the name, the lipase enzyme targets fats or lipids. Lipase enzymes work on greasy food stains such as butter and oils and other oil-based stains such as lipstick or certain cosmetics.
- Mannanase (Mannan endo-1,4-beta-mannosidase): This enzyme attacks mannans, a form of sugar used to thicken and stabilize food items such as ketchup and ice cream and personal care products like deodorants, all of which are major stain culprits.
- Cellulase: This ‘care enzyme’ doesn’t target stains, but helps keep clothing and fabrics looking and feeling newer longer. It targets loose fibers that can trap dirt and make colors look dull and white look gray or yellowed.
Care Note: Enzymes are made to break down the protein in stains. They should not, however, be used for regularly washing silk, wool, or other protein-based fabrics. For these, use Heritage Park Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent, which is made without enzymes.
Unscented Formulas: Hypoallergenic and Great for Sensitive Skin
Heritage Park offers unscented options in both All-Purpose and Silk and Wool. Our fragrance free formulas are certified independently as hypoallergenic by AMA laboratories, where they undergo a rigorous testing protocol. These scent-free detergents are also pediatrician-and dermatologist-tested. These are ideal for anyone with allergies or who is prone to irritation or dermatitis of any kind. For those who prefer a delicate scent, choose our lightly scented detergents including Shore Breeze, Lavender Mist, and—new for 2023—Magnolia.
Heritage Park Laundry Essentials
At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.