There is nothing quite like taking a warm towel out of the dryer after a long relaxing shower and then hopping into a bed of freshly cleaned sheets. However, this common habit may be causing more damage to your health than you would expect.
Commercial fabric softeners are one of the most dangerous cleaning products for your health because fabric softeners are filled with harmful chemicals that come into contact with our skin when we use them on our clothing, towels and blankets. Fabric softener products are designed to stay in fabrics to give them a soft feel until their next wash. As a result, you are exposing yourself to these chemicals virtually 24/7.
Fabric softeners are not only dangerous when they come into contact with one’s skin, but also when they are inhaled. For instance, the negative affects of commercial fabric softeners are intensified by the heat from the dryer which also affects the health of your neighbors when the chemicals are aerosolized out your dryer vent.
So what chemicals are actually contained in fabric softeners? To name of few: Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Acetate, Ethanol, Limonene, A-Terpineol, Ethyl Acetate, Camphor, Chloroform, Linalool, Pentane and Tallow. You may or may not be familiar with these chemicals, but they can cause significant damages to your health:
- Skin irritation is one of the lesser side effects. Some of these chemicals can cause itching and burning when they come in contact with your skin.
- Benzyl Alcohol, A-Terpineol and Pentane can cause respiratory issues such as lung irritation and damage and have even caused asthma in young children.
- Nervous system damage can be caused by some of these chemicals leaving users feeling dizzy and nauseous. These same chemicals can also cause headaches and numbness/pain in the back and spine.
- The use of fabric softeners has been linked to serious health issues including pancreatic cancer, central nervous system disorders and blood pressure reduction.
In order to cover up the strong scent from all these chemicals, fabric softeners are created with large amounts of scented fragrances to mask the smell and keep your clothing smelling good. However, these scented fragrances at such a high concentration are not beneficial to your health.
Like most things in our world there are various natural solutions to this fabric softener dilemma. If you can’t live without your fabrics being extra soft, there are natural ways to achieve the same softness without the harmful chemicals:
- One easy way to soften your fabrics is putting half a cup of baking soda into the water in your washing machine. Then, let this baking soda dissolve before you put your clothes in.
- To soften and reduce static you can add a cup of vinegar to your washing water.
- Another common way to reduce static is to put an aluminum foil ball made from scrunched up aluminum foil in the dryer with your laundry. Some people use tennis balls for the same effect plus extra softness.
- Another unconventional way to ensure soft fabrics is to only purchase clothing, towels and bedding made from all natural fabrics such as cotton, hemp, bamboo and linen.
To find all natural fabric softeners, make sure to go to your local health store. Remember to double check the ingredients before purchasing them!
Call Michelle to find out other ways that dangerous chemicals may be part of your household routine and find alternatives that will help you start to feel better.