Yes, this sneaky culprit might be why you’re tossing and turning.

By Madison Alcedo
Updated May 02, 2019
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If you’ve ever tossed and turned at night trying to fall asleep, your first thought might be that the blue light from your phone or other devices could be causing your wakefulness. While blue light can affect your sleep patterns, there’s another sneaky culprit that you might not be aware of.

Marilee Nelson, co-founder of natural cleaning supply brand Branch Basics, recently let us in on a little secret: Toxins from your laundry detergent might actually be affecting the way you sleep from breathing in the fragrances on your clothes and sheets.

“Toxic, fragranced laundry products can significantly undermine your sleep through increased exposure to harmful chemicals that have been linked to asthma, endocrine disruption, cancer, neurological issues, metabolic disruption, and obesity,” she says.

And what you may not realize is that out of all the cleaning products on the market, the chemicals in your detergents, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners are considered the most toxic as they are filled with neurotoxic chemicals that affect your brain.

“Chemicals from laundry products that are neurotoxic in the fabric of your pajamas, sheets, and pillowcases enter the body through contact with the skin and also through your lungs,” she says. “These chemicals then go to the limbic system of the brain and ‘excite’ your nervous system, which causes some people to feel stressed, anxious, depressed, and agitated resulting in sleep disturbances, nightmares, and insomnia.”

Related: 5 Chemical-Free Ways to Spiff Up Your Laundry

If you struggle with easily falling asleep, Nelson suggests that the first step to testing your air quality in your home and bedroom is to remove and replace your cleaning supplies, specifically your laundry products. Because even if they’re stored in a cabinet, the toxins still have a way of seeping into your home’s air during storage and usage.

“Think about it, these chemicals accompany you 24/7 through your skin and your lungs as you wear your clothes, dry off after a shower, and sleep in pajamas under your sheets, so using conventional laundry products or even so called ‘non-toxic’ laundry detergents with synthetic fragrances are such dangerous health offenders,” Nelson says.

In order to make sure your body can fully rest, rejuvenate, and restore the way it’s made to, there are a few natural detergents we suggest you try first. You can easily shop all of our top picks below.

Branch Basics


In this Branch Basics kit, you’ll receive the brand’s best-selling concentrate that you mix with water to replace your current laundry detergent. The kit also comes with a 32-ounce bottle of oxygen boost powder, which helps remove stains and whiten and brighten your laundry loads.  

To buy: $59;



Designed for chemically sensitive people or those with sensitive skin, this powder can pretreat stains before wash, and it gives you a low-suds, natural, and effective clean as laundry detergent. The powder also includes a one-tablespoon scoop for easy use.

To buy: $19;



This dermatologist-tested, concentrated detergent works at all water temperatures and is proven to give your clothes a clean refresh without all the bad stuff, such as parabens, dyes, phosphate, alcohol, or optical brighteners. It’s made with 94 percent plant-based cleansers and ethically-sourced lavender, so you can enjoy the scent without the negative effects of synthetic fragrance. Plus, what makes concentrated detergents different than other laundry products is that they are more eco-friendly because they require less water to make.

To buy: $13;



With more than 1,700 positive reviews, this fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry powder is loved by customers since it’s easy to use, works on all fabrics (including silk, cotton, and polyesters), and is completely biodegradable.

To buy: $18;



Forget about finding detergent residue on your clothes after a wash. Just one scoop of this powder has the same cleaning power as any other detergent yet is free of phosphates, chlorine, and fragrance.

To buy: $19;



As a detergent, stain remover, and brightener all in one, these pods leave your laundry super clean thanks to the plant and mineral-based formula. While it’s still free of harmful chemicals, these pods are also available in gardenia or lavender vanilla if you’re wanting a stronger scent.

To buy: $14;