As much as I didn’t want to hear it (because I was once a dedicated fabric softener/ dryer sheet user)… several years ago someone kindly encouraged me to do a bit of research on what these contain. And so I did. I encourage you to do the same.
One thing we know… our skin is our largest organ, and it’s super absorbent. So although fabric softeners are often portrayed as softness, comfort, butterflies-flying-out-of-the-bottle, it seems they contain some pretty big offender toxins. So when I think about how Americans coat their bodies, virtually 24/7, in these chemicals, it gets me concerned. Think about it. We dry off in a towel that has been washed with them; we pull on clothes that have been washed with fabric softener or dryer sheets; and then we climb into bed in sheets that have a coating of these toxic chemicals. It’s a lot for our bodies to deal with. And just think about the impact it’s having on our children. Their bodies are much smaller and likely even more sensitive & impacted.
So, you ask, what might be found in our fabric softener? I mean, they sell it on our store shelves… can it *really* be that bad??? According to my research, here are a JUST a few of the “bad list” chemicals that it contains:
Chloroform. Carcinogenic, neurotoxin. On the EPA’s Hazardoous Waste list. Not a good list of possible disorders this may cause. And worse yet, it’s effects seem to worsen when heated. Hmmmm…. dryer=hot….
Benzyl Alcohol. Also shown to not be good for our neurological system, specifically our central nervous system among other things.
Benzyl Acetate. From what I read, this ingredient has been linked to pancreatic cancer.
A-Terpineol. Not getting much better here- the list for this one is a long one- being a common disrupter of our precious Central Nervous System (CNS). That just basically means problems of the brain and spinal cord. Scary stuff to be messing with.
So as I understand it, the chemicals in these products are pretty strong smelling, so it requires a lot of synthetic fragrance to cover those odors up. These products are designed to stay in the fibers of your clothes, slowly releasing the fragrance into the air (and into your skin). Their intent was to camouflage bad odors of synthetic fabrics, as well as decreasing the static cling that happens primarily in synthetic fibers. So let me help you understand the cause of static cling, a couple solutions, and share with you a couple of enzyme products that can help remarkably with odors that get held within synthetic clothing.
So are the chemical fragrances and chemically-softened clothes worth the risk? Would you like to find an easy alternative so you can REPLACE these chemicals in your home with safer option? And would you like for your towels to stay more absorbent? Do you think it’d be better for your health to not breathe in these chemicals all day? (You may also want to educate your co-worker who you share office space with, because you can also breathe in the toxic fumes from his/her clothes!) And a quick note on dryer sheets… why do you think they are so effective at keeping rodents out of RVs? Mosquitoes away? If the rodents and bugs are smart enough to stay away, should we be also?
So what to do? I’m passionate about the Norwex Laundry System- the Norwex Ultra-Power Plus Laundry Detergent and Norwex Dryer Balls. Together they give us an effective alternative from using toxic products, and putting our family’s health at risk. Our Odor Eliminator and Sportzyme are excellent odor removers. Consider adding about 1/4 cup of white vinegar to your rinse (where you used to put your fabric softener). It naturally helps to soften the clothes.
So about 3 years ago, I began a little experiment. I took one of the top selling high-efficiency (HE) laundry detergents in both powder & liquid- the amount instructed on the box for a medium load. Then I compared that to the Norwex detergent, which requires just 1 teaspoon (yup, really!) for a large load in an HE washer. Three years later, these look as gunky as ever… and I’ll let you guess which detergent doesn’t contain all of the fillers. My favorite thing about our detergent though? It WORKS great. 🙂
Norwex dryer balls are made out of food-grade plastic, are oblong in shape (a pro), softer than most (aka quieter), and come with an excellent 1 year warranty. Customers often tell us that they love them because they don’t sound like they just threw two tennis shoes in the dryer. (Winter tip: To extend their lifespan, take them out of the dryer between loads in the winter. Extreme hot/cold variances tends to shorten the life of plastic.) As for static cling? It’s very important to decrease your dry time, especially for those synthetic, static-prone fabrics! Take them out earlier. On average, our dryer balls decrease dry time by about 20%! So a nice cost savings there, as well. And these also naturally fluff your clothes, which also tends to mean… less wrinkles, too!
Thanks for taking the time to visit! If you’re still using fabric softener and dryer sheets, I hope you’ll consider making some changes to help protect your health, our earth & our water supply from these less-than-innocent products. I’ve only just scratched the surface here. Please do continue on with your own research. Thanks for reading & come back soon! 🙂