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Sodium Lauryl Sulfate FAQs

Learn more about SLS

What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also known as SLS, is a surfactant that is widely used in many different types of consumer products. Surfactants are commonly known as “foaming agents” and are used in products designed to clean —including personal care and home cleaning products. They work by lowering water surface tension to effectively spread a product across the surface being cleaned, attracting dirt and grime away from the surface and down the drain.

What are the primary concerns around SLS in consumer products?

The primary concern our consumers have about using SLS is its potential for skin irritation (including skin in and around the mouth, i.e. gums, lips). Though we have heard anecdotally of other concerns, research indicates that they are incorrect and not supported. Schmidt’s never utilizes SLS in any personal care formula directly applied to the skin or in our oral care products.

If Schmidt’s never formulates with SLS in personal care and oral care products, why do you use it in your laundry detergent?

When developing our products, we believe in choosing ingredients that will result in a product that, when used as intended, makes us feel good about using it – and is also effective. As laundry detergent is not designed to come in direct contact with skin, the risk of skin irritation is minimal when such products are used in accordance with use instructions. SLS is highly effective at helping to remove dirt and stains from clothes, and we have carefully formulated our concentrated laundry detergent to ensure low irritancy when used for cleaning your clothes. Our detergents have been tested to ensure they are gentle on your clothes, are considered safe for use in homes with cats and dogs and of course, all our products go through rigorous safety assessments prior to entering the market.

What is Schmidt’s SLS sourced from?

The SLS used in Schmidt’s laundry detergent is plant-derived. Approximately 80% of SLS in the industry comes from petroleum. In keeping with our commitment toward choosing ingredients that result in products that make us feel good about using them, we require that the SLS used in our laundry detergent be 100% plant-derived.

Why did you choose to use SLS over another plant-derived surfactant?

Beyond the reasons stated above, we consider a variety of factors when formulating our products. For laundry detergent, we select ingredients considering factors like consumer safety, ingredient source, environmental profile, renewable carbon index, efficacy, and cost. When formulated correctly, SLS has a consumer safety profile comparable to other surfactants. It is also an efficient surfactant that can clean very well at low levels, therefore giving great cleaning performance while maintaining the safety profiles we require, at a price that is still within reach for many of our consumers.

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