Optical Brighteners and Other Laundry Detergent Chemicals You Should Avoid

goat milk laundry soap

Clothes tend to naturally yellow over time. Since most big brand laundry detergents are fighting to provide you with the "brightest and whitest" clothes, they've had to devise ways to counteract this natural occurrence. What's their solution? Optical brighteners.

These optical brighteners are designed to trick your eyes into thinking that your clothes are less yellow than they actually are. This happens because they are actually dyes in most commercial laundry detergents that alter the way clothes reflect light.

If you remember your science lessons, light is made up of a color spectrum. The optical brighteners absorb the ultraviolet light and give off light in the blue region of the light spectrum. The blue light negates the yellow tinge to the clothing and tricks your eye into thinking that the fabric looks whiter. It also makes the clothes look brighter because it gives off more visible light.

Goat Milk Laundry Soap
"I've used powdered detergents in the past and have had issues with it leaving residue on my clothes as well as causing itchy rashes. I have been slowly detoxing my house from chemicals and haven't found a solution for laundry.....until now!!! LOVE IT!!!!! No residue, clothes are clean and best of all, no itchy rashes!!!!" - Mikki

Optical Brighteners are not new

In the “old days” people used to use “bluing” (a blue dye) for the same effect. The blue color somewhat canceled out the yellow tinge and made the clothes appear white.

Optical brighteners may be known by other names such as brightening agents, fluorescent bleaches, optical whiteners, fluorescent brighteners, or fluorescent whiteners. Regardless of what they are called, they are made up of different chemical compounds.

Laundry detergents do not list what chemicals they use and in fact, may not include the fact that they use optical brighteners on their ingredient list at all.

Goat Milk Laundry Soap Standard Size
"I decided to get away from the harsh chemical detergents. I wanted to make things healthier for my family. I was very skeptical about the clothes being clean, but I so wrong. The goat soap detergent works better than the popular detergents. The clothes are bright and clean. They smell fresh and clean!" - Pricilla W.

What are the problems with using these chemicals as optical brighteners?

1. They’re designed to bind to the clothing and remain. If you were able to rinse them off, they wouldn’t be doing their job. Because they remain on your clothing and sheets, they come into regular contact with your skin. This is not healthy for your skin and can cause rashes, irritations, and sensitivities compared to the safety of a natural laundry soap.

2. They are not readily biodegradable. Therefore they can be harmful to fish and other animals and plants.

3. They can also cause your clothes to feel stiff unless fluffed in the dryer or washed with a fabric softener. Laundry washed without optical brighteners will feel much softer even if line dried.

4. Long term effects are still not known. Since they can cause issues in people with skin irritation and sensitivities, it should still be avoided.

Goat Milk Laundry Soap
"I REALLY like it. Clothes are very clean and fresh without the chemicals in my old, well-known detergent. Skin condition has DRAMATICALLY improved!!!!! Ordered some for my son and his family who are having skin issues. I believe this will be a BIG game changer for them as well. Thank y'all so much for your commitment to healthy living without all of the chemicals that we have previously been using on the LARGEST organ of our bodies." - Judy H.

Another interesting fact is that if you wash clothes with detergents using optical brighteners, you can put them under a black light and they will actually glow. For this reason, we’ve been told that military personnel are not supposed to wash their uniforms with any detergents using optical brighteners because it makes their uniforms highly visible with night vision goggles.

Detergents that use optical brighteners make the fabric stiffer, can be irritating to your skin, are bad for the environment, and do not even make your clothes any cleaner. Your eyes may think your clothes are cleaner, but it’s just an optical illusion.

Fletcher using Goat Milk Laundry Soap
"We love this laundry soap and the comfort we get from no additives and only real, clean ingredients! Thank you so much!" - Christine A.

What Laundry Detergents do not have Optical Brighteners?

Instead of chemical-laden detergents with optical brighteners, Goat Milk Stuff makes a goat milk laundry soap that is a healthier and safer way to clean your clothes. The laundry soap makes your clothes look and feel clean without relying on optical illusions.  

The Goat Milk Stuff Laundry Soap is available in 3 sizes so you can find the best amount to suit your needs. We offer it in a Trial Size, a Standard Size and a Refill Size. If you've never used a natural laundry soap in powder form before, we recommend starting with the Trial Size. 

The Trial Size and Standard Size make wonderful gift options. The Refill Size is the perfect size if you love our Laundry Soap and want to stock up at the best possible price.

Goat Milk Laundry Soap Refill
"The laundry soap works very well, leaves your clothes clean and fresh-smelling naturally, without the chemicals of regular detergents. You don’t have to use a lot so it lasts, and you can also use it in any type of washing machine, even high efficiency. I have used it for years and love it!"Susan W.

Need Some Extra Stain-Lifting Power?

We also make a Goat Milk Laundry Stain Stick. This powerful little stick lifts stubborn stains from tomato sauce to grass stains. In fact, we haven't found a stain the Stain Stick doesn't work on yet!

Goat Milk Stain Stick
"I bought a Laundry Stick some time ago, put it in the cupboard and forgot about it. A few months ago, my favorite workout shirt got stained with a base makeup/sweat combo. I've had this happen before and have never succeeded in getting this particular stain out of shirts. I tried everything - probably bought five different stain sprays - nothing worked. I was considering throwing the shirt away and remembered the stain stick in the cupboard. The stain was gone on the first try! Amazing product. Thanks for saving my favorite shirt. I'm tossing all of the other stain products. I'm a convert!" - Donna C.

Have you made the switch to a Natural Goat Milk Laundry Soap yet?

3 Responses

SunWhite Chemicals

Thank for sharing such a informative Blog.

PJ Jonas

I’m so glad you’re loving it!


I love your laundry soap (and all the other products you have). My clothes are so soft and if I need a little extra whiting I put in hydrogen peroxide.

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