What Does Clean Really Mean?

By Carolyn Butler, CEO 7/27/20

Safety is at the core of our cleaning practices. It’s also a core reason I started this company. At Borobabi, we take sanitation very seriously. From detergent selection to water quality, there are many factors in the laundering process that affect the safety of clothes on your skin, and special attention must be paid when cleaning clothing – especially for our children. 

Unlike other clothing lenders, we commit time and energy to ensure our pre-loved garments are thoroughly cleaned with incredibly high standards before they leave for a new home. In fact, it’s likely our garments are cleaner and safer than the clothing laundered in most homes, and there are several reasons why.

We don’t bathe our clothing in chemicals and synthetic fragrance sprays, nor do we use a homemade approach that lacks legitimate, scientific backing. As a bio-chemical engineer, I know it’s important to curate a responsible, chemistry-based process that’s also friendly to the environment.

We produce the least amount of waste possible, and we have your child’s health in mind – every step of the way.

Let’s dive deeper into our water and our detergents…

Not all water is created equal. Water quality varies greatly based on the water source. Where you live, what chemicals and contaminants are commonly loaded into your community waterways, wastewater treatment practices, plumbing and sewer systems – even recent rains can impact your water quality. While municipalities test their water supply hundreds of times a month, catastrophic failures like what we recently saw in Flint, Michigan can demonstrate the fragility of our public water systems. Chemical contaminants and heavy metals like lead are common concerns, but water can also contain microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. New knowledge tells us that certain coronaviruses can survive varying lengths of time in tap water, and proper water purification is increasingly important.

Our UV water sterilization process

Because Borobabi is aware of the pitfalls in some of our water systems, we selected a laundering service that takes an extra step to purify its wash water – using ultraviolet (UV) light purification systems. Borobabi loves UV because it’s more effective than chlorination alone. The process uses no harmful chemicals, and mimics the natural purifying power of sunlight! We use the natural energy embodied within ultraviolet light to inactivate microorganisms, without the addition of any chemicals. The intensity of light, combined with exposure over time disrupts and inactivates a microorganism’s DNA. Viqua, a Safer Laundry Services supplier, offers the best certified UV sterilization systems available on the market today. The use of UV as a disinfectant dates back over 100 years in the U.S., and there are currently over 2,000 UV water treatment plants in Europe, where UV is quickly becoming the new norm for municipal water systems.

We use the mildest ingredients, approved by the harshest critics.

Typical detergents contain harsh ingredients like sulfates, bleach, synthetic fragrances and dyes, parabens, preservatives and phthalates which are harmful to aquatic life, our skin, and our endocrine system. The fact that infant-friendly formulas exist is evidence suggesting that conventional detergent compositions are unhealthy. Many options offered by big brand names and marketed or consumer labeled as “baby safe” are just standard formulas with scents and colorants removed.

In selecting our Borobabi detergents, I rely on the research of a non-partisan industry watchdog: the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG’s mission is to empower consumers and by offering hazard ratings of each listed ingredient. EWG only gives the highest “clean” ratings to companies with complete ingredient transparency. This is especially important in the U.S., where due to a legal loophole, brands aren’t always required to disclose all their ingredients.  Borobabi purchases only EWG-approved detergents for infants, and they all bear the EWG-Verified mark. By choosing clean-certified and A-rated products, Borobabi is unequivocally positive that what we use on your baby’s clothes is completely safe.

Why not just dry clean??

It’s a common question! While purported as a gentler way to clean delicate fabrics, dry cleaning is by no means a natural process. Dry cleaners typically use a variety of harsh solvents which cling to fabrics for weeks after cleaning, and evaporate into the air as contaminants. The most potentially harmful dry cleaning chemical is a probable carcinogen called perchloroethylene (or perc). In fact, California has adopted legislation to phase out perc’s used in dry cleaning by 2023, and similar concerns have surfaced with some substitutes on the market – even those marketed as green alternatives! Borobabi will never dry clean garments intended for children, whose bodies are still in development.

Infant skin is not just sensitive, it is thinner and more absorptive of all chemicals. Brands who understand both chemistry and the dermatological differences between adult and newborn skin are taking a more holistic approach, and these are the brands I’ve determined Borobabi should support. Alongside our clothing brands and laundry partners, Borobabi is all about transparency.

Happy renting!