This is an easy one! I love easy ways to reduce toxins in our home. I know some of you love your dryer sheets and fabric softener. I used to too, so I understand. But a strong smell does not equal clean. Bear with me here because this one small change can take a big toxic load off of your body. When I learned about the chemicals they put in dryer sheets and how they work I stopped buying them, threw out what we had left and I havent touched one since. And here is why ……
1. Traditional Dryer sheets and fabric softeners work by coating your clothing with chemicals so they feel soft. Both dryer sheets and fabric softeners contain long lists of dangerous, synthetic chemicals. I came across some “Material Safety Data Sheets” for name brand dryer sheets. One recommended wearing gloves while handling the product and warned “May cause skin irritation. May cause allergic skin reaction on prolonged or repeated contact.” Ummmm…. they coat your clothes which then have contact with your skin nearly 24 hours a day. So that’s probably not great.
2. Scented dryer sheets also contain “fragrance” which is an umbrella for over 3000 chemical scents, some of which have neurological effects, disrupt moods and hormones and cause unpleasant symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes. This term could include essential oils though it had any pure, quality oils I’m sure they’d be sure to list them. Check out these 19 pages of possible ingredients for P&G’s products containing the word “fragrance”: Link When you use dryer sheets and softeners with artificial fragrances you are giving yourself a 24 hours a day exposure (clothes, sheets, towels, etc)
3. Who wants 24 hours of toxins? The reasons they warn not to use fabric softener on flame-resistant clothing is exactly because of how it works – it coats clothing and builds up over time. (side note: I avoid buying flame resistant anything since that indicates its been sprayed with chemicals). Our clothes are on us 24 hours a day (or nearly), they are sitting on our skin, we are sweating in them (=open pores), our skins rubbing against them and we are breathing in any scents left on them. Then we lay down on sheets that have also been washed in chemicals. This is a huge toxic load for our bodies that is EASY to remedy.
What does the Enviromental Working Group have to say about mainstream products?
Bounce Dryer Bar. Safety Grade = F
UP and UP unscented. Safety Grade = F
Snuggle Dryer Sheets. Gentle Spring: Safety Grade = F
Gain Dryer Sheets, Lavender. Safety Grade = D
Downey Simple Pleasures Dryer Sheets. Safety Grade = D
Yikes! If you can let go of that strong smell and doing things the way you always have, you can trade it for feeling GREAT knowing you are making a healthy choice with life-long health benefits.
So how do we make our laundry soft without chemicals?
1. Avoid build up that makes your clothes stiff in the first place. This means using an unscented detergent at least, use less than they say and you can even do any extra rinse. We use either use our favorite essential oil based detergent (email us for more info), Ecovers free&clear (great company we use their dishwasher powder too) or even better, soap nuts. Soap nuts do not build up at all and they are very affordable, take up less space, etc.
2. Add a Downey ball filled with Vinegar (instead of softener) to your wash. This helps strip residue left from your detergent (see #1) so that you don’t need the softener as much in the first place.
2. Use wool Dryer balls in your dryer to help keep clothes soft and dry faster. They last for years so they are a great investment. You can buy them (I got mine on etsy) or easily make your own (its super easy). You need 10-12 for a large load.
3. Add a few drops of essential oils to a washcloth or sponge in the dryer to help your clothes smell clean and fresh without artificial fragrance. My favorite: The Cleansing blend. You can also add them to your wool dryer balls although they are so absorbent that you’ll get a better scent using the sponge.
4. Dry on low heat for less static with polyester fabrics like fleece blankets.
5. Make your own fabric softener with just epsom salts, baking soda and essential oils.
This is going to save you money!!! And protect your health! Double win!
Do you make your own softener or use dryer balls? Let us know below!
Have questions? Need help deciding whats best for you?
Email me [email protected] and I’ll be in touch very soon. Happy oiling! I look forward to working with you!