Friday, June 5, 2009

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners : Big hazards come in sweet smelling packages

Good morning.

One of our missions while trying to transform our household into a green haven for our family was to replace products as we ran out of them. We figured that throwing away boxes and bottles full of products away was wasteful and it would make it easier on the wallet to go one item at a time instead of suddenly needing to replace everything in our home.

One of the things that have taken forever at getting to the bottom of has been our box of dryer sheets. Why? Because we hang so much to dry that we use them very rarely and when we absolutely MUST use the dryer, we cut them in 2, sometimes 3 parts. So a little box of 70 dryer sheets has been lasting us going on a year now.

When I pulled one out to realize there was only left in there this morning, I jumped for joy at the idea of finally switching to eco-friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable fabric softener.

Then my curiosity got tickled and I decided to look at how bad for the environment dryer sheets really were. I was very shocked and quite scared by the info I found. Not because of the dangers for the environment, but because of danger to us!

According to, this is a list of some of the chemicals found in commercial 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
  • 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

So needless to say, the last dryer sheet went in the trash and I went searching for alternatives.

Fabric Softeners :

Natural health food stores, and even many big grocery stores, will sell natural fabric softeners that are non-toxic and made from plant-based products. They are often times only a few dollars more and will make your clothes just as soft and static free.

Home recipes :

Again, from here are a few ideas on home recipes to help make your clothes soft and static free without the use of chemicals :

Add a quarter cup of baking soda to wash cycle to soften fabric
Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to rinse to soften fabric and eliminate cling

Reusable natural dryer sheets :

My final suggestion is to check out a great product I found while doing this research. I came across a site for a Canadian company called Static Eliminator that produces a chemical free, hypoallergenic, long lasting and safe reusable dryer sheet that seems just fantastic!

How does it work?

The technology behind the Static Eliminator Re-Usable Dryer Sheets is a true innovation for the way you do laundry... The weave of the Static Eliminator Re-Usable Dryer Sheets gives them their static fighting power - instead of coating your laundry with harmful chemicals, these unique, re-usable dryer sheets "conduct" the static out of your laundry load. The Static Eliminator removes static and softens fabrics while remaining chemical free and maintaining your dryer warranty.”

So I hope I could inspire you to look for safer alternatives to your traditional dryer solutions. We all want a safer, healthier home and sometimes little differences can have a huge impact!

Happy greening!

What are some of your favorite home recipes for household chores?


OilGirl said...

Hi, my name is Jen and I found your blog while entrcarding. Great posts! I use essential oils in my home as an healthy alternative to chemical products. Diffusing therapeutic grade EOs helps improve indoor air quality by increasing oxygen availability and killing mold, reducing allergens and odors, as well as petrochemical residues. To add to your toxic list about dryer sheets..many of them contain fiberglass fibers which can cause skin allergies and irritation as well as pthalates and petrochemical based fragrances that can wreak havoc on the hormonal,respiratory, and endocrine systems of the body. Thanks for being here. Hope you will stop by and say hello sometime! Be Well, Jen at Oils For Wellness

caroneko said...

Wow--I had no idea about dryer sheets. It's something I was taking for granted, but no more. Thanks for this info, I'll be sure to switch.

mommyhastowork said...

wW e also have been only replacing when our current stock ran out..
I had no idea about the dryer sheets, we don't use them often anyway, I always forget.
thank you for the info.

Abby said...

Check out this link

Yanic said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone!

OilGirl : Great additionnal info! Thank you. The fiber glass info is just scary. I noticed on the Static Eliminator website that they do use oils in those reusable dryer sheets for scent. I'll check your website for sure...

Caroneko : I take things for granted too. Sometimes I get startled at something I've been using forever that didn't even get picked up by my radar. But it,s never too late!

mommyhastowork : It's good you don't often use them! We've been hanging to dry more and more, but some things like heavy towels and jeans, we still dry. I'm glad you enjoyed the read and hope you'll stop by again!

Abby : Great recipe! I love home made stuff. I'll have to look for those ingredients at the supermaket, but they don't sound familiar. *fingers crossed*

Naturally.Natalie said...

Hey! Great Blog!
Wow, those are some nasty nasty chemicals, and I am really not surprised about the fiberglass info the previous commenter said. Came across your blog on a directory while signing up my own new blog. We seem to share a common theme, I just started, would love to be 'blog friends'

Yanic said...

Hey Nathalie! I'd love to be blog friends... I checked out your blog and your first post was very well written and has made me look forward to what else you are gonna write!

Keep me posted.