What are the ingredients of a traditional detergent like Surf Excel?

- 4 minutes read time
What are the ingredients of a traditional detergent like Surf Excel?

Demystifying ingredients: Surf Excel Easy Wash Liquid Detergent

Daag acche hote hai, par detergent ke diseases nahi!

Huh? Diseases from detergents? Unfortunately, if you’re using popular chemical detergents such as Ariel, Surf Excel or Tide, you are inviting diseases into your home.

Shocked? We were too. Much as we would love to jump on the bandwagon of husbands sharing the load, and kids cleaning their own stains with easy-to-use detergents, we can’t bring ourselves to ignore the chemicals lurking in the formulation of these detergents. If you’re a parent, a pet owner or someone with low immunity then you should definitely think twice about purchasing Surf Excel’s powder or liquid detergents. Scroll down to learn why.

What are Surf Excel’s Ingredients? 

Here are Surf Excel Easy Wash Liquid Detergent’s ingredients as listed on Big Basket. Surprisingly, they don’t share them on their website or print the composition on the packaging.. Fishy, no?


1. Cleaning agents (anionic and nonionic surfactants, enzymes)
2. Water softeners (sodium carbonate and sodium aluminosilicate)
3. Fabric whitener
4. Sodium perborate
5. Anti-redeposition agent
6. Perfume
7. Washer protection agent (sodium silicate)
8. Processing aids (sodium sulfate)


Cryptic right? Don’t worry, we will go into the nitty-gritty of these ingredients. Surprisingly, even the most commonplace ingredient like perfume could be harmful to your health in the long run.

What’s unsafe about Surf Excel’s Easy Wash Liquid Detergent?

1) Cleaning agents or Surfactants:

Surfactants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) are the main ingredients in cleaning products such as shampoos, detergents and dishwashing liquids.

What are they? Basically, surfactants = foam. But other than creating bubbles, they reduce the surface tension between the detergent and the water, to allow the stains to separate from your garments.

Why are they harmful?

Despite the fun bubbles they make, surfactants can also irritate your skin and eyes. Studies by the World Health Organization1 have linked surfactants to dermatitis. Yikes! Oozy-woozy rashes and blisters don’t sound so bubbly, no? Babies with sensitive skin are particularly at risk of skin irritation by chemical detergents. Furthermore, SLS/SLES can also be contaminated by an an impurity called 1 4 Dioxane which isn’t just extremely harmful to aquatic animals, but has also been anticipated as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer2.

What are the ingredients of a traditional detergent like Surf Excel

2) Fabric or optical brighteners:

While some chemicals remain behind as accidental residue, fabric brighteners are formulated to intentionally stick to your laundered garments. They reflect light, making your clothes appear brighter.

Why are they harmful?

Long term exposure to optical brighteners make your skin more reactive or sensitive to the sun. Would you want them resting against your baby’s skin?

They’re also extremely toxic to marine life, and cause bacterial mutations in them when they reach the oceans after washing your garments.

3) Artificial fragrances/ perfume:

We all love the smell of freshly laundered clothes. So, it’s no surprise that detergents are loaded with artificial fragrances.

Why are they harmful?

Brownie points from your nose aside, artificial fragrances contain phthalates, which have been linked to diabetes, obesity and hormone disruption. Studies have linked prenatal exposure of phthalates to ADHD and autism in children. 3

Furthermore, it’s easier for these phthalates to enter your body because washing machines emit them as Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) and pollute the internal air, causing you and your beloved pets to breathe them in directly.

What’s the alternative?

It’s time to make the switch! Toss your toxic chemical powder and liquid laundry detergents and opt for natural cleaners such as Born Good’s non-toxic plant based fragrance detergent. It’s enriched with the goodness of citrus extracts which soften the water, coconut extract which disinfects and acts as an anti-redeposition (of stains) agent, and glycerine from sugarcane which maintains the tensile strength of your garments.

What are the ingredients of a traditional detergent like Surf Excel

It also has the USDA stamp of approval for its BioBased content (72%) which makes it a biodegradable detergent as opposed to Surf Excel detergent. This means that the remnant ingredients, in the dirty water which washes down the drain and into the ocean, don’t harm marine life.

Furthermore it’s hypoallergenic, so you can bid goodbye to rashes and inflammations.

P.S this means that Born Good is extremely pet & baby friendly.

Don’t worry it’s still super effective. Tested by Bureau Veritas, it removes upto 25+ plus stains from your clothes. Furthermore, if you opt to purchase our Concentrated Liquid variant, you only need 10 ml of product per load. So, you can save the environment and slash your laundry bills in the same go! So, what are you waiting for? Cart now!

1 http://www.ilo.org/dyn/icsc/showcard.display?p_lang=en&p_card_id=0502

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK153666/

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6280477/

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published