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
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.