The Seventh Generation Challenge – An Enlightening Experiment

| November 15, 2013 | 8 Comments

Companies that create products to care for ourselves and are homes are becoming more environmentally conscious about how these products are affecting not only our planet, but our families as well.  Seventh Generation is a leading force in this way of thinking.

7th Gen Feature

Founded in 1988 in Burlington, Vermont, Seventh Generation made it their mission to create household and personal care products that, from their concept, through to their production, sale and eventual disposal, are safe for both people and animals so they are not harmed by what these products are made out of.  They pride themselves on using plants within their products to replace harmful toxins some other companies use in their products to achieve the same level of cleanliness.

I was asked to do an experiment with Seventh Generation’s laundry detergent.  I was to show how their brand of laundry detergent does not use optical brighteners in its laundry detergent formula versus a brand that does use these agents in their laundry detergent formula.  Some of brighteners can cause allergic reactions when they come in contact with certain people’s skin.  This one of the issues Seventh Generation wanted to alleviate with its products.

What are optical brighteners, you ask?  Well, they are dyes that are used, in this case, by some laundry detergent manufacturers, to help make your clothes appear whiter, making them look less dingy.  Optical brighteners do this by emitting more light onto an object than it usually would on it own.

7th Gen Experiment Items

Seventh Generation sent me the following items to conduct this experiment:

  • A bottle of Seventh Generation laundry detergent
  • A bottle of Conventional laundry detergent that contains optical brighteners
  • Two organic cotton t-shirts
  • A black light (in order to see what optical brighteners are like in the right light.

I then washed one of the shirts provided with the Conventional laundry detergent, then the other with Seventh Generation laundry detergent.  Once laundered, I placed them on a flat surface, side-by-side, in a completely dark room, and used the black light to show the optical brightener reflecting off of the shirt that was washed in the Conventional laundry detergent with the optical brightener.  Look at this:

7th Gen Compare

As for what these two shirts were like after they were washed, well, I took a picture of them side-by-side, too.  I could not see any real difference in how they looked or felt.  They both looked clean, smelled fresh, and felt soft ( I did not use any fabric softener, as I thought it may ruin the results of the experiment).  They both did a good job!  The difference is that Seventh Generation was able to do just a well of a job as the Conventional Laundry Detergent, only without having to use optical brighteners to enhance the look of the shirt.

7th Gen Day

Just in case you were curious, I am sharing a list of laundry detergent brands that use optical brighteners and which do not that Seventh Generation shared with me:

Contain optical brighteners:

Gain Liquids (all versions)
Gain Powders (all versions)
Ivory Snow Liquid
Ivory Snow Powder
Tide Liquids (all versions)
Tide Powders (all versions)
Tide Tablets (all versions)
Fab (all versions)
Ajax (all versions)
All laundry products made by Colgate-Palmolive
Arm & Hammer Liquid (all versions)
Arm & Hammer FabriCare Powder (all versions)
Arm & Hammer Fresh ‘n Soft Fabric Softener (all versions)
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
Surf Liquid (all versions)
Yes (all versions)
All Dial Laundry Products including:
Purex Powder (all versions)
Purex Liquid (all versions)
Purex Fabric Softener (all versions)
Purex Baby (all versions)

Don’t contain optical brighteners:

– Cheer (liquid and powder)
– Cheer Free
– Exchange Select Cold Water Wash
– All Detergent Free Clear
– Country Save Liquid Detergent
– Allens Laundry detergent (power and liquid)
– Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Detergent (powder and liquid)
– Charlie’s Soap (powder and liquid)
– ECOS Free and Clear Laundry Detergent
– Mountain Green Liquid Laundry Detergent
– Nature Clean (liquid and powder)
– Oxy-Prime Powder
– Planet Ultra (liquid and powder)
Seventh Generation Laundry detergents 
– Sportwash
– Sun and Earth Liquid
– Surf Powder (not Surf Liquid)
– Washeze
– Woolite, original and dark

So if your family is looking for an alternative to conventional laundry detergent, or to many of your other household or personal care products, you should give Seventh Generation a try!  Here is a coupon to receive $3 off of your next purchase of Seventh Generation laundry detergent!

It was a fun experiment to conduct.  It was simple, and I learned a lot, too!  Now, only if the clothes could magically find its way into and from the washer and the dryer by themselves…


Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products to sample. All opinions are honest and my own.

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Category: Home & Garden, Living, Products, Reviews, Shopping

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Comments (8)

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  1. Victoria Ess says:

    That’s crazy! It’s so good to know especially for people with sensitive skin.

  2. Lian Wright says:

    Thanks, Victoria! I agree, I know a few people with skin allergies, so that’s why I’m glad I did this review!

  3. Saima says:

    I am in LOVE with 7th Generation products! I particularly love their cream, shampoo and facial wipes for babies. I’m really particular about what I put on my child so I want to be sure it is as safe as possible and their baby lotion is so moisturizing and free of fragrances. I got a package to host a 7th generation party and I’m so excited to let others know about how great they are as well!

  4. Maggie says:

    I think that 7th Generation products are great. My SIL uses their diapers for her son. I think those optical brighteners are very interesting but probably not good for us!

  5. Lian Wright says:

    No, Maggie, from the research I did into these brighteners, they cause allergic reactions on some people’s skin. It was a really fun experiment to conduct. Thanks for leaving a comment, Maggie! 🙂

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  8. Debbie White Beattie says:

    I think there needs to be more companies like seventh generation because we need to think more about the environment because it’s a mess and what are we leaving for the future generations.

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