Optical brighteners are whitening agents, which are used while making plastics, fibers, coatings, dyes, inks, detergents, paper, etc. They help in making the appearance whiter and brighter. When detergent containing optical brighteners is used, it helps to reduce the natural yellowing of the fabric over a period. Light colored clothes look brighter after they have been washed using these detergents. Previously, bluing agents were used to brighten the appearance of white colored clothes. However, more and more detergents are making use of brighteners, so that clothes washed with such detergents look cleaner.
How do Optical Brighteners Work?
Optical brighteners are chemicals that stay on clean laundry as a coating of microscopic fluorescent particles. When light passes or hits on these fluorescent particles, an optical illusion is created which tricks the eyes and give it a super clean appearance. The difference between bluing agents used for laundry and optical brighteners is that, the ultraviolet light is absorbed by bluing agents and it is emitted back, which is often blue in color. The blue light overpowers the yellowing light and lends a brighter and whiter color to the fabric.
If you come across laundry detergent ingredients and you do not see optical brighteners mentioned in it, do not be worried. They can clean clothes as good as detergents with brighteners, but you will not have the optical effect. At the same time, it is important to note that if optical whiteners do not remain on the fabric, you will not get the same effect. Therefore, one of the laundry tips is to remember that clothes which are washed with detergents containing whiteners have a chemical residue on them. If you want to know, if the detergent you are using contains optical whiteners, see the clothes after they have dried. Clothes washed with these detergents will feel stiff, while clothes washed with detergents that do not contain whiteners are soft, right off the line.
List of Laundry Detergents Without Optical Brighteners
If you work with the armed forces, then you may be on the look out for laundry detergent recipe, which does not contain optical whiteners. Although you may learn how to make laundry detergent, you may want to go in for detergents without these. The battle uniform should be washed without brightener detergents, lest they become visible in low light environment.
Some detergents, which may be used include:
- Cheer Free
- Exchange Select Cold Water Wash
- Bold Powder
- all Free Clear
- CountrySave Liquid detergent
- Allens Laundry detergent
- Bi-O-Kleen Laundry detergent
- Charlie's Soap
- ECOS Free and Clear Laundry detergent
- Mountain Green Liquid Laundry detergent
- Nature Clean
- Oxy-Prime Powder
- Planet Ultra
- Seventh Generation Laundry detergents
- Sun & Earth Liquid
- Woolite, original and dark
If the laundry detergent for baby clothes does contain optical brighteners, then you may want to talk to your child's pediatrician about the same. At the same time, it is important to note that some people may be allergic to them, therefore if you have a sensitive skin, then you may want to take an allergy test for the same.