Fabric softener, or fabric conditioner, is used to prevent static cling and make fabric softer. It is available as a liquid or as dryer sheets. Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling.
What you might not know is that these well-known laundry products contain chemicals that are toxic. Ingredients found in fabric softner and dryer sheets include: alpha-terpineol, benzyl acetate, camphor, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, pentane, and chloroform. According to the manufacturers’ Material Safety Data Sheets, these chemicals have the potential to do things to you such as:
◾cause central nervous system disorders, headaches, and loss of muscle coordination
◾irritate mucous membranes and impair respiratory function
◾cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness
◾cause liver or kidney damage
◾cause skin disorders and allergic reactions
These chemicals enter our system not only through our skin as the coated clothing rubs against our body, but through the air from dryer vents and through our water supply as the rinse water goes down the drain.
Simple Steps for Fresh Laundry
◾Substitute Thieves Household Cleaner for your regular laundry detergent.
◾Use white vinegar in your laundry’s rinse cycle instead of fabric softner. About 1/4 or 1/2 cup with a few drops of Young Living Therapeutic Grade essential oil will do a good job of keeping things soft and static free with no odor. The essential oil will also disinfect the load of laundry. Try lemon, lavender, Melaleuca alternifolia or bergamot for a fresh, clean scent.
◾Add a damp washcloth on which you have added 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to the dryer when you add the wet clothes.
Reduce That Cling Naturally
◾Static cling is the direct result of over drying your laundry. Try lowering the dryer temperature, shorten the drying time or both.
◾Since natural fabrics don’t develop static, begin switching to fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen, silk and rayon.
◾Shake your clothes when taking them from the dryer.
◾Stop using the dryer altogether! Utilize clothes lines and drying racks whenever possible.
Begin the simple process of following the suggestions listed above as you do your laundry. You will find that it will save you money, reduce the risk of illness from exposure to toxic chemicals and it is good for the planet.
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