Dryer Sheet and Fabric Softener Toxins

A dryer sheet at the beach.It’s hard to believe that out of all household cleaning products, the chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softeners are considered to be among the most toxic. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are made up of pernicious chemicals combined with a hefty dose of fragrance. Some of the most harmful ingredients include the following:

  • Benzyl Acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer)
  • Benzyl Alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant)
  • Ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders)
  • Limonene (a known carcinogen)
  • Chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen)

The chemicals in dryer sheets get released into the air when they are heated up in the dryer and can pose a respiratory health risk. Also, since fabric softeners are designed to stay in your clothes for extended periods of time, such chemicals can seep out gradually and be inhaled or absorbed directly through the skin. The concern about these laundry products comes from studies that showed the effects of fragrances. The term “fragrance” on a label can mean up to hundreds of synthetic chemicals. A 2011 study found our that breathing in scented products causes

  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Irritation to the eyes and airways
  • Asthma attacks
  • Migraines

If you can smell detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets in the laundry room when you’re not using them, that’s a sign that they’re off-gassing chemicals and degrading your indoor air quality. The Environmental Working Group actually gave 83.33% of fabric softeners and dryer sheets a D or F rating.
If you still want to use these laundry products but don’t want the toxic chemicals, don’t worry we have alternative products you can use such as

  • Seventh Generations Natural Lavender scent fabric softener
  • Ecovers Natural Fabric Softener
  • Maddocks Static Eliminator (non toxic hypoallergenic reusable dryer sheet)

You can also use these common household products to soften your clothes; add either a quarter cup of baking soda or a quarter cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle. Be sure not to mix either with bleach, as resulting chemical reactions could cause noxious fumes.

Resources:

www.scientificamerican.com
www.healthline.com
www.branchbasics.com

4 Responses to “Dryer Sheet and Fabric Softener Toxins”

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  1. Diane Dudley says:

    What a informative article. Thank you Lexi
    keep sending more of these gems

  2. Laura says:

    My husband likes the fabric softener sheets, I’ve never been a fan so I don’t buy them but somehow they keep coming back to our laundry room. I never thought to look up more about it since we are pretty good about staying away from other toxins. This will now be on the no – no list. Thank you!

  3. Brandon says:

    Yes I agree 100% with this. I stopped using dryer sheets a long time ago and I kid you not my allergies got a bit better. I even got some of my roommates to stop using them. Now just need to work on the family. Usually on a low heat tumble the scented detergent stays and keeps the clothes mildly fragrant but not too strong.

  4. Scott Stuller says:

    I just purchased fabric softener sheets from Amazon last week.
    I wish I could have read this article before then.

    Thank you for posting!

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