For most people, soft laundry is a must; I mean who really wants crunchy, static-y clothes? Plus, if you’re like me, that warm, fresh laundry smell is heaven. That is, until you learn that fabric softeners and dryer sheets can have tons of toxic chemicals including ethanol and chloroform. Because fabric softeners work by coating fabrics in a thin layer of chemicals, those chemicals then rest on your clothes and are vented out with dryer exhaust which isn’t good for you or the environment. While some people have little adverse reaction to the chemicals in fabric softeners, many of the chemicals are classified as carcinogens and allergens, and that isn’t including the massive amount of fragrance used in softeners which are enough of an allergy trigger on their own.
Luckily avoiding fabric softeners and their possible issues is pretty easy. For many people, just skipping the softener altogether is fine with the added benefit of less waste and less money spent on boxes of dryer sheets. However, if you don’t like the idea of risking crunchy or static-y clothes, there are plenty of alternatives such as:
- Using felt wool balls in the dryer: they’re reusable and easy to make or cheap to buy!
- Adding baking soda or white vinegar to your wash: they act as natural softeners and won’t leave your clothes smelling like vinegar
- Finding natural ingredient or reusable dryer sheets
- Drying your clothes on the low heat setting: it might take longer but it definitely works
If you’re still worried about losing out on the scents of fresh laundry, try a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the wool dryer balls. Most people who ditch the softener never look back and even find their clothes are softer than before. With such painless alternatives, consider doing yourself, your wallet, and the environment a favor and ditching the fabric softener.
For more information on fabric softener toxins and alternatives, check out:
"Don't Get Slimed: Skip the Fabric Softener" by Rebecca Sutton, Enviroblog
"Fabric Softener Alternatives and Other Safe Approaches to Laundry" by Robin Konie, Thank Your Body
Mallory is a part-time writer and Kalamazoo College graduate native to the Pacific Northwest. When not writing blogs and small business articles, she enjoys spending time with her pets, reading Victorian literature, and supporting the Seattle Sounders.