- Months after initially alerting customers to concerns, laundry care brand The Laundress announced a new recall of its fabric conditioners in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, according to a government notice. The recall is for 800,000 units of the product, 730,000 of which were voluntarily recalled for a separate reason in December.
- The Laundress — founded in an effort to help “eliminate the chemicals” of dry cleaning — has recalled the conditioners due to the presence of ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is a carcinogen to humans via inhalation and has evidence that long-term exposure can increase the risk of lymphoid cancer and breast cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Consumers are no longer able to purchase anything from the brand’s website.
- On Instagram Friday, the brand urged consumers to stop using all products from The Laundress and said customers could request refunds if they have not already. The brand began issuing safety notices in November about products potentially containing elevated bacteria, urging customers to cease using all products. The Laundress issued a voluntary recall of several products on Dec. 1 due to the presence of certain bacteria, including most of its fabric conditioners. An additional 13,000 units were sold in Canada.
The Laundress’ conditioners were sold through its own direct-to-consumer site from 2011 through November 2022, as well as its store in New York City that is currently listed as temporarily closed on Google Maps.
However, the brand was also sold through retailers such as Amazon, Bloomingdale’s, The Container Store, Saks Fifth Avenue, Target, Nordstrom, Jenni Kayne, Kith, Peruvian Connection, N.Peal, Brooklinen and more.
“We again deeply apologize for this situation and look forward to returning soon with a renewed commitment to the highest standards of product safety and quality,” The Laundress said on Instagram Friday.
Comments under the brand’s latest Instagram post expressed frustration over how it has handled refunds and the overall recalls. Several users claim that they still haven’t received their refunds despite filing for them last year.
The laundry care company was founded in 2004 by Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, who initially met studying textiles at Cornell University. In 2019, the brand was acquired by Unilever for an undisclosed amount. At the time, Whiting said the duo had set out to make a “non-toxic line of fabric care and home cleaning products.”
Unilever’s annual 2022 report showed an €89 million (about $96.9 million) loss related to a product recall and market withdrawal by The Laundress.
The Laundress has previously worked with celebrity musician John Mayer, who created a capsule collection with an exclusive fragrance in 2019. This followed an initial collaboration in 2016, about a year after Mayer posted on social media using one of the brand’s products.