The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Ask ACI: 1,4-dioxane in Detergents


I’ve read some headlines that say laundry detergents are being banned because of an ingredient called 1,4-dioxane. What’s this all about?

There has been some misleading news coverage reporting on the potential impacts of a law that went into effect in New York State on detergents that consumers use safely and effectively every day.

What is this law about? New York State enacted a law in 2019 requiring extremely low levels of 1,4-dioxane in detergents, cleaning products and cosmetics. That law went into effect December 31, 2022.

What is 1,4-dioxane? 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of manufacturing processes for some surfactants (the workhorse ingredients) contained in cleaning products and detergents. It is not an intentionally added ingredient, present at very low, trace levels.

What else do I need to know?

  • According to a 2020 determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “certain consumer products containing the by-product 1,4-dioxane do not present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment."
  • Despite certain headlines you may have read, we are unaware of any specific detergents that have been banned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
  • Ingredients Matter, a company that sells laundry products, claimed some detergent products were not in compliance with New York law, despite that fact that test results this company released - assessing 1,4-dioxane levels in those products - were conducted months before the law went into effect.
  • The American Cleaning Institute co-authored a new study that examines the methodologies to measure 1,4-dioxane in commercial products. Because of the complexity of consumer product formulations and the extremely low 1,4-dioxane concentrations mandated by New York’s law, optimum conditions for measurement are evaluated. The authors noted the advantages and disadvantages of various methodologies and make specific technical recommendations for which methods and standards should be used.
  • Major manufacturers of detergents and their ingredient suppliers have worked strenuously to address levels of 1,4-dioxane in their products to meet the stringent requirements set forth by New York State. Many companies have otherwise utilized a waiver process set forth by DEC signifying those companies’ efforts to further lower the trace levels of 1,4-dioxane, as required by law.
  • As reported in February 2023, major detergent manufacturers were indeed found to be in compliance with the most stringent requirements of New York’s regulations.
  • Consumers can continue to use their favorite detergent products as directed.