Using Natural Fabric Softener for your Laundry Needs
Remove Static and Soften your Clothes with Organic Fabric Softener
If you’ve ever seen sparks as you put on your shirt or climbed under the sheets at night, you likely appreciate the benefits offered by fabric softeners. Used by consumers in either liquid or fabric sheet form, fabric softeners are an effective way to reduce the cling without a lot of trouble.
Not-so-soft environmental problems with fabric softeners
But like most conventional laundry products, most fabric softeners are made with materials and chemicals that are less than soft on the planet and your health. Here are the major concerns with non-natural fabric softeners:
- Health-harming chemicals: Ingredients like benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, ethanol, limonene, pentane, linalool, camphor, and chloroform are added to both liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. These chems have been linked to health concerns like pancreatic cancer, respiratory problems, and neurotoxicity.
- Petroleum base: Most cleaning products are made with a base of petroleum ingredients, which means they’re part of an industry that is responsible for oil spills, global warming, and widespread environmental degradation.
- Synthetic fragrances: Not only do these perfumes and scents contribute to poor indoor air quality (and as a result, health conditions like asthma), they also add to environmental problems. Synthetic musks make it impossible for aquatic wildlife to eliminate toxins from their systems.(1) They are also environmentally persistent and bioaccumulate in the environment, so once they’re flushed into our water systems, they stay there for years or even decades to come.(2)
- Color dullness: Most fabric softeners work by adding a film to the fabric. Over time, this film will build up, leading your clothes colors looking dull and worn, and perhaps promoting you to replace them before they’re really due.
Natural fabric softener solutions
There are many ways you can make homemade fabric softener (see our DIY Fabric Softener Recipe), but if you’re looking for a bottled or packaged fix for your static dilemnas, try a natural fabric softener. These versions of laundry products are made with vegetable-based surfactants, plant-based scents, and salt, and are therefore not harmful to the environment, your indoor air quality or your health. Try these reliable brands:
One last thought: many conventional fabric softeners are tested on bunnies and cats for allergies and toxins, but this is a cruel, unnecessary practice. To find vegan products that haven’t been tested on animals, look for the Leaping Bunny Logo or the Certified Vegan Logo to be sure that you’ve got a cruelty-free product.
1 Synthetic Fragrances. (2004, November 1). Retrieved June 11, 2010, from Labour Environmentla Alliance Society: http://leas.ca/Synthetic-Fragrances.htm
2 Environmental and human health concerns relating to synthetic musk compounds, commonly used as fragrance ingredients in consumer goods. (2005, July). Retrieved June 11, 2010, from Greenpeace Research Laboratories: http://www.greenpeace.to/publications/synthetic_musks_2005.pdf