Laureth-7 is an ingredient commonly found in personal care and household products, including some laundry detergents. It's a surfactant, and is typically produced from lauryl alcohol derived from coconut or palm oil.
In laundry detergents, this ingredient can be used as a surfactant, reducing the surface tension between the water and soil, allowing the detergent to effectively remove dirt, stains, and oils from fabrics during the washing process.
Laureth-7 is part of a group of ingredients known as Polyethylene Glycols or PEGs, which are used in some consumer products. PEGs are generally considered safe in these applications, and while their use has historically been associated with some contamination concerns, most modern manufacturing practices are able to eliminate any harmful byproducts. While we don't use PEGs in any of our personal care products, we do use them in some of our machine detergents when necessary for this context, and consider this acceptable while they do not come into direct skin contact with the user.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel assessed a group of Alkyl PEG Ethers in 2012 and reviewed their safety for dermal exposure in cosmetics. They concluded they are “safe in the present practices of use and concentration described in this safety assessment when formulated to be nonirritating.”
Other names: Hyptaethylene Glycol Dodecyl Ether, PEG-7 Lauryl Ether, Polyethylene Glycol (7) Lauryl Ether
Chemical class: Alkoxylated Alcohols
Fiume MM, Heldreth B, Bergfeld WF, et al. Safety Assessment of Alkyl PEG Ethers as Used in Cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology. 2012;31(5_suppl):169S-244S. doi:10.1177/1091581812444141
Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (2016). Amended Safety Assessment of PEG Propylene Glycol Derivatives as Used in Cosmetics. https://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/pegpge122016rep.pdf
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 76459, Heptaethylene glycol monododecyl ether. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Heptaethylene-glycol-monododecyl-ether