Many people love to use fabric softeners in their washing machines and dryers to help keep their clothes soft and plush and also smell nice. Understandable, yes, but many people do not realize that fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain many harmful chemicals that stay in your clothes and are absorbed by your skin. Some of the chemicals are highly toxic and have been linked to brain damage and cancer.
Below is a list of some chemicals commonly used in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:
Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
Limonene: Known carcinogen
A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list
Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
The chemicals in fabric softeners and dryer sheets do not smell very good on their own especially when heated, so manufacturers have to add very strong perfumes and scents to mask the poisonous smell of thses toxic chemicals. This can also cause skin irritation and possibly even cancer in certain individuals.
So what is the solution? How can people have a healthy natural and organic fabric softener that is not toxic?
The Solution - A Natural, Cheap and Organic Fabric Softener?White Vinegar with a few drops of and essential oil!
That's correct, white vinegar makes the best fabric softener you could find, and it also has the added benefit of neutralizing the soap reside in the clothes. Just add it to the fabric softener compartment in your washing machine with a few drops of essential oil. The vinegar leaves no smell residue, even if used without the essential oil.
An natural alternative to dryer sheets is to put a few drops of an essential oil (lavender smells nice and is antibacterial) on to a sock, and put it in the dryer. The smell will go through all the clothes.
Interestingly enough, the reason vinegar is so effective is because it is acidic and washing powder and soaps are alkaline, so the vinegar neutralizes the soap residues during the rinse cycle which help keep the clothes soft.
The skin of humans is naturally acidic, so using vinegar will be good for your skin also. Many skin problems such as ringworm, jock itch, athletes foot, tinea, dematitis and more are actually caused by using soap in our washing machine and in the shower. Soap disrupts the skins natural PH balance, killing the natural protective friendly bacteria that thrives on your skin, thus allowing unfriendly bacteria and fungus to enter into the skins pores. Many people with fungal skin rashes have found a cure by simply switching to a neutral PH mild natural body wash and not using soap on their skin. Also using vinegar in the washing machine will help.