Laundry Detergents Without Optical Brighteners – Our Insanely Helpful List

Detergents Without Optical Brighteners Featured

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Updated: December 4, 2019

Best Laundry Detergent Without Optical Brighteners Detergent

 

In a hurry?
If you want to skip right to the number one rated laundry detergent without optical brighteners you’ll find it on Amazon here or the manufacturers’ website here.

I hope you’ll stick around and continue reading for some eye-opening information and extensive details about the options available to you. This list took months to research and compile. I hope it helps.

A Word of Caution!

 

There are several websites that are listing detergents, such as multiple forms of Cheer as “Optical Brightener Free”, however, these statements are FALSE! I have done extensive research and there is only one variety of Cheer that is optical-brightener free! (See notes for links to cheer ingredients). This is only one example of false information I have found on other websites! Rest assured, this list is up to date and reexamined on a regular basis!

Please do your homework. When it comes to the safety of your infant or military family it’s better to stick with a list you know is thoroughly researched and current. Check the date of the article to find out if its the most up to date information on current laundry detergents.

detergents-we-tested-without-optical-brighteners

 

What Are Optical Brighteners In Laundry Detergent?

 

Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals that are added to liquid & powder laundry detergents. Laundry detergent manufacturers add this chemical for the sole purpose of making clothing appear whiter and brighter, and thereby looking cleaner.

Do Optical Brighteners Fade Clothes?

 

OBAs (optical brightening agents) are added to most of the American laundry detergents today, to make whites appear whiter, but the reality is that they can also cause colors to fade, especially dark colored clothes. Have you ever had a new black blouse that only after a few washes looked grayish and worn out? That would be the OBAs doing their job, making clothes appear lighter/brighter! I would never use harsh synthetic chemicals to wash my cloth diapers, but the fact that they fade dark clothes is why I don’t use them on my clothes either!

optical-brighteners-on-the-label

 

Do All Detergent Have Optical Brighteners?

 

No, not all laundry detergents have optical brighteners in them! Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals. So if you’re trying to keep chemicals away from your precious little ones’ skin, this is something you should be checking out on the labels!

What To Look For On The Ingredients Label

 

  • Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
  • DMS
  • Fluorescent Brighteners
  • Fluorescent Brightening Agents
  • Fluorescent Optical Brighteners
  • Fluorescent White Dyes
  • Fluorescent Whitening Agents (FWAs)
  • Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs)
  • Optical Whiteners
  • Organic Fluorescent Dyes

 

Trade Names And Optical Brightener Manufacturers

 

  • Blankophor
  • Dikaphor
  • Intrawite (textile use)
  • Kolocron
  • Optiblanc
  • Tinopal
  • Tuboblanc
  • Uvitex
  • Akzo Nobel
  • BASF
  • Deepak Nitrite
  • Eastman Chemical Company
  • Huntsman International
Helpful Video

List Of Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

We can only fit so much information within each small section, therefore we have provided you with a clickable link, so you can obtain more information on the detergent that you are researching such as reviews, manufacturer information, and varieties available (if any). We hope this information is useful!

If this list does not completely answer any questions you may have, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to help you as efficiently as I can. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does!

Need information on a detergent that’s not on our list?
No Problem!!! I will look into it for you! Just leave a comment below and I will do my best to find the answers for you.

Product
CLICK FOR MORE INFO
Details He Safe
Active
Active Wear Detergent (Optim)
Great for uniforms and work wear.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
All Free And Clear Liquid Military
All Free And Clear Liquid Military
Great for uniforms, hunting clothes, and work wear.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Allens 150x150
Allens Naturally Powder
Best for babies with sensitive skin, however, doesn’t clean very well!
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
  • Rinses well in cold water
Yes
Allens Powder 150x150
Allens Naturally Ultra Powder
Although there are no brighteners, the label reads “Not recommended for military uniforms”.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Allens Liquid Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 150x150
Allens Naturally Liquid
Allen’s Naturally liquid laundry detergent requires only 1/4 oz for HE Machines.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Attitude Baby Fragrance-Free
Attitude Baby Fragrance-Free
Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Awesome for sensitive skin and eczema!
Yes
Attitude Ylang Ylang And Tangerine Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Liquid 1800ml 4
Ylang-Ylang & Tangerine
Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Good Value For Money
Yes
Lavendar Grapefruit Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Attitude
Lavender & Grapefruit
Good plant-based option. Use half a cap in prewash and a whole cap and a half in the main wash. Wash on hot and add a water softener if your water is at all hard.
  • No Optical Brighteners
Yes
Baby Ganics Laundry Detergent Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
BabyGanics Loads of Love 3X, Fragrance-Free
Loads of Love is an unscented detergent that has none of all the “bad stuff” in regular laundry detergent. This means that it is free from petrolatum, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrance, and parabens.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes
Babyganics
BabyGanics 3X Lavender liquid
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Chlorine, phthalates, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes
  • No Dyes
  • No Phthalates
  • No Synthetic Fragrance
  • No Phosphates
Yes
Closeup Detergents H240
Bio-O-Kleen Liquid Laundry Detergent
The liquid brand is a good choice
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Perfumes
Yes
Biokleen Laundry Powder Free And Clear 10 Lb Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Bio-O-Kleen Powder Free & Clear
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Contains Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Bumgenius
BumGenius Powder
Moms report cloth diapers are clean, and no funky smell.  Commonly used on both pocket diapers and prefolds.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Bumgenius Liquid
BumGenius Clean & Gentle Liquid
Plant Derived, GMO Free, Cruelty Free & Sulfate Free makes this an excellent choice.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Laundry Detergent Caldrea Sweet Pea Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Caldrea
Sweet Pea Laundry Detergent
Contains plant-derived surfactants, Borax and essential oils of Geranium, Orange, Jasmine, Coriander, Rose and Bergamot.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
No
Charlie Banana Detergent Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Charlie Banana Powder Fragrance-Free
No lingering chemical-based fragrance. It’s completely free from perfume or parabens. It dissolves quickly in cold water, and you won’t have to worry about residues on your clothes after rinsing the soap off. This works great for babies and individuals who suffer from allergic reactions to certain components in regular laundry soaps. Safe and effective for all fabrics including silk, wool, linen, cotton and high-tech microfiber athletic and waterproof gear.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Charliessoap Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Charlie’s Soap Powder
Similar to Allen’s Naturally, however ingredients are proprietary. Extensive studies by Clemson University have shown it leaves no residue. Biodegradable. Technically a “detergent” (not soap, despite its name). Complaints of chemical burns and rash have been reported!
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes
Cheer Powder He Detergent Box There are several other websites (as of May 15, 2019) such as :
  1. Diaper Jungle who claims Cheer Free and Gentle has no optical brighteners, this statement is FALSE! – (link to manufacturers ingredient list)
  2. Homequicks claims Cheer and Cheer Free are optical brightener free. this statement is FALSE! – Cheer (ingredient list) and Cheer Free (ingredient list)
  3. ArmyStudyGuide.com list multiple forms of Cheer (as well as other detergents) as “Optical Brightener Free”, however, these statements are FALSE!

I have done extensive research, with 1,000’s of man hours for this post, combing through ingredients and this variety of Cheer is the ONLY one that is optical-brightener free!  .PDF Ingredients from the manufacturer.

  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners

Screenshots of DiaperJungle, Homequicks, and ArmyStudyGuide.

N/A
Clorox Green Works Liquid
Clorox Green Works Liquid
  • No Optical Brighteners
Yes
Countrysave Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Country Save Liquid
Cost effective, additive free, and great results.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Country Save Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Country Save Powdered
Cost effective, additive free, and great results.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Droppsl
Dropps Liquid Laundry Pacs – Fresh Scent
Plant-based and rather weak. It would take a lot of product to accomplish a good clean.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • NPE Free
  • No Phosphate
  • No Chlorine
Yes
Ecosfree Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Earth Friendly Products Baby Ecos Disney Laundry Detergent, Lavender and Chamomile
Phosphate-free, chlorine-free, enzyme-free, borine-free, cocamide DEA-free, dye-free, and free of petroleum ingredients.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
Yes
Earthview Laundry Detergent Fragrance Free Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
Earthview Laundry Detergent
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Healthy Child Compliant
  • No Animal Testing
  • HE Safe
  • Methylisothiazolinone-free
  • Fragrance-Free
Yes
Envirorite Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent
EnviroRite Clearly Clean
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
N/A
Hex Performance Advance Laundry Detergent Free And Clear 1 350x200
H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Free + Clear Liquid
Eliminates tough odors – including smell caused by sweat, bacteria, mold, and mildew!
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Hex Anti Stink No Optical Brighteners
H-E-X Performance Anti-Stink Fresh Clean Scent Liquid
A light, fresh scent that doesn’t linger.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes
Honest Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 529x1024
Honest Company liquid
Plant-based. Contains sodium cocoate, which can build up in diapers, trapping bacteria and causing repellency issues. This baby laundry soap has a neutral pH level, which means it does not irritate the skin.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent
Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent
Contains vegetable-based surfactants including those derived from coconuts
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for Septic Systems
  • Not tested on Animals
  • No Phosphates
Yes
Lifekind Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 1024x1023
Lifekind Naturally Safer Triple Concentrated
Contains Seed & Pulp Extracts, Orange Peel Extracts, Surfactants from Coconuts.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Maggiessoapnuts125 150x150
Maggie’s Soap NutsMaggie’s Soap Nuts
100% natural – Grows on Trees!!! Perfect for hunting camo! This is actually a natural soap, not a detergent and can build up on fibers and cause repelling issues. Perfect for regular laundry.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Laundrydeterfc.1 1 476x1024
Mountain Green 3X Free and Clear
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Fragrance-Free
  • PETA acceptable product
Yes
Mollys Suds All Sport Wash
Molly’s Suds All Sport Wash Liquid
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes
Mollys Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 2 813x1024
Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener Powder
Does not contain surfactants.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes
Mollys Suds Sensitive Skin No Optical Brighteners
Molly’s Suds Sensitive Skin Powder
Does not contain surfactants.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Natureclean 2 1 498x1024
Nature Clean liquid
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Nature Clean 3l Laundry Liquid
Nature Clean Refill liquid
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Nature Clean Powder Detergent
Nature Clean Powder Detergent
Although this is an excellent product, it ships from Canada so if you are in the USA shipping is outrageous!
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Nellie's Laundry Soda
Nellie’s Laundry Soda
Contains coconut oil based ingredients. Not considered strong enough to properly clean a dirty diaper. Too expensive to be able to use enough to get a proper clean.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Oxy Prime Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent 1 1 639x1024
OXY-PRIME Powder
Rinses completely and decomposes almost immediately in the environment leaving no toxic by-products or phosphates to the water table.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Planet 150x150
Planet Ultra Powder
Not an effective detergent.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
From Austin, Texas; No phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, dyes, allergens.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Rockin Green Watermelon Classic Rock
Rockin Green Classic Rock Formula, Smashing Watermelons
Fantastic for hard water
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Essential oil fragrances
Yes
Natural He Powder Laundry Detergent By Rockin Green Perfect For Cloth Diapers Classic Rock Formula For Normal Water Up To 90 Loads Per Bag 45 Oz Unscented 0
Rockin Green Unscented
Fantastic for hard water
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrances
Yes
Ruby Moon Laundry Detergent Small 150x150
Ruby Moon Cloth Diaper Detergent- Warm Vanilla Sugar
This product is not really a detergent, it is mainly water softeners and salt. Not recommended for cloth diapers as it contains no surfactant.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • Some varieties have fragrance
Yes
Sensiclean 150x150
Sensi Clean Liquid
Very expensive. Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Seventh Generation Natural 4x Concentrated Free And Clear Unscented
Seventh Generation Natural 4X Concentrated Free and Clear Unscented
Use 1/2 cap in your cloth diaper prewash and 1 1/2 caps in the main wash. Wash on hot; add a water softener, such as Calgon if your water is at all hard. Does contain essential oils.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Seventh Genration Detergent Baby No Optical Brighteners
Seventh Generation Baby
Plant-derived enzyme stain removers. Certified Cruelty Free. From Vermont; 0% fragrances, dyes, or artificial brighteners.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Perfumes
Yes
Product Sportwash 150x150
Sport-Wash Residue Free
Reports of burns and rashes by users of this detergent.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Sun Earth Cloth Diaper Detergent 1024x806
Sun and Earth Unscented
The free and clear variety does not contain synthetic fragrances.  Ingredients in this detergent are problematic for build-up/repellency issues with cloth diapers.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance

Ingredient PDF

Yes
Ever Spring Laundry Detergent
Target Free & Clear Everspring
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Perfumes
Yes
Tide Pure Clean
Tide PureClean Liquid, unscented
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Traderjoesclothdiaperdetergent 150x150
Trader Joe’s Liquid
Contains fabric softener which can buildup and cause repellency issues with cloth diapers.
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Enzymes
  • No Dyes
Yes
Vaska 150x150
Vaska Baby
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Vaska Perfect
Vaska Perfect
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
  • No Fragrance
Yes
Woolite Baby
Woolite Baby
  • No Optical Brighteners
  • No Dyes
  • No Softeners
Yes
Woolite Darks
Woolite Dark Midnight Breeze Scent
  • No Optical Brighteners
Yes

 

 

Discontinued Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

 

You can check eBay and other outlets that deal in discontinued products for these oldies but goodies.

  • A Happy Green Life
  • Bio-Vert
  • Bio-Vert with no perfume

 

Hard To Find Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

 

 

Can optical brighteners be washed out?

 

Well yes and no!

No, optical brighteners can not be “washed” out by simply washing them in your washing machine with laundry detergent. It takes a little more effort than that!

Yes, optical brighteners can be cleaned out of your laundry with speical products. The folks over at Clean It Guide have an article “How To Remove Optical Brighteners From Clothes” that is simple to follow. I did exactly what they said and IT WORKED!

aundry-detergents-without-optical-brighteners-military-hunting-camo-cloth-diapers
ACU, OCP Uniform Washing In Optical Brightener Free Detergent
 

ACU, OCP Uniform Washing In Optical Brightener Free Detergent

 
On the care label, the instructions are to launder in a mild detergent which does NOT contain “optical brighteners.” The reason the instructions say not to use detergents with optical brighteners is that they make Army uniforms a lot more visible (not quite glow in the dark, but close).
 

Laundry Detergents Without Optical Brighteners F.A.Q.

 

Here are a few of the specific questions we get asked a LOT:
 

2. Does all free and clear contain optical brighteners?

Yes

3. Does Dreft have optical brighteners?

Yes PDF ingredient list

Detergents Without Optical BrightenersDetergents Without Optical Brighteners Free And Clear Safe

20 COMMENTS

  1. Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  2. Does tide free and clear and seventh generation in the lavender scent have optical brightness? I also wanted to know does fabric softeners have optical brightners?

  3. Hi Tammy, I use the Grab Green brand laundry pods, typically Vetiver scent but also Fragrance Free if nothing else is available. Would these be brightener free?

  4. Dear Tammy,

    We just bought new white Charisma towels; the tags state no bleach and no optical brighteners. Does OXI CLEAN contain either?

    • Oxygen bleach (like OxiClean) is an alternative to chlorine bleach. OxiClean contains two active ingredients: Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate. These substances form oxygen and hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water. So no, OxiClean does not have optical brighteners or bleach. I use it on my cloth diapers as it doesn’t disintegrate the fabric the way “bleach” does. If it were me, yes I’d use it.

      The best way to wash towels is with warm water and color-safe bleach (if needed) for colored towels. Use hot water and nonchlorine bleach, like OxiClean (if needed) for white towels.

      Hope this helps

  5. Do you know if Sprouts free and clear has optical brighteners?
    Here are the ingredients:
    Water, sodium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, sodium citrate, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium oleate, laureth-7

    Thanks so much!

    • Courtney, methylisothiazolinone is a cytotoxin that may affect different types of cells and have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity. However none of the ingredients you have listed are Optical Brighteners. Hope this helps

    • Hello Erinn and thank you for your question! I’ve looked into the Target Free & Clear Everspring Detergent and it does not contain any optical brighteners! I will be adding it to our list, thank you so much!!

      Target Free Clear Everspring Detergent Ingredients

  6. Thank you for the information. What if detergents with optical brighteners were previously used? I have several sets of secondhand diapers that my sister washed with a detergent containing optical brighteners. Can the optical brighteners be removed with washing?

    • Yes, we covered that in the above article. It’s ok, I skim through things when I’m in a hurry too! LOL I’ll paste it here:

      • No, optical brighteners can not be “washed” out by simply washing them in your washing machine with laundry detergent.
      • Yes, optical brighteners can be cleaned out of your laundry with special products. The folks over at Clean It Guide have an article “How To Remove Optical Brighteners From Clothes” that is simple to follow. I did exactly what they said and IT WORKED!
      • Essential oils will most likely be listed as a fragrance. So any from this list that says no optical brighteners, no softeners, and no fragrance would be good, The first four on this list are good examples of that.

      • Yes…

        • Purex Baby contains “Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate” – Yes, this is an Optical Brightener
        • Arm & Hammer™ for Sensitive Skin Free of Perfumes & Dyes Liquid Detergent contains “Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate” – Yes, this is an Optical Brightener
        • Arm & Hammer™ for Sensitive Skin Plus OxiClean™ Liquid Detergent — Fragrance and Dye Free contains “Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate” – Yes, this is an Optical Brightener
        • Arm & Hammer™ Sensitive Skin plus Skin-Friendly Fresh Scent Liquid Detergent contains “Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate” – Yes, this is an Optical Brightener

        Hope this helps! Let me know if there are any others you’d like to know about. I’d be happy to research them for you.

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