Since fabric softeners are designed to stay in your clothes for a while to keep them static free, soft and smelling fresh, the chemicals obviously stay too. They were designed to stay and disperse slowly to release fragrance and keep static at bay. All those chemicals seep slowly out of your clothing and can be absorbed directly through the skin, which can lead to illness. Even worse than liquid fabric softeners, dryer sheets with their green-washed labeling “natural fragrance” can pose health issues, especially respiratory challenges to those inside and outside the home.
Here is a list of junk that can be found in fabric softener and many other household products and what it may cause.
- Alpha Terpineol: central nervous damage and respiratory problems
- Camphor: central nervous disorders, is easily absorbed through skin
- Chloroform: a carcinogenic neurotoxin
- Benzyl Acetate: linked to pancreatic cancer
- Benyl Alcohol: respiratory tract irritant
- D&C Violet 2: cancer
- Ethanol: on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list, central nervous system disorders
- Ethyl Acetate: a narcotic on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list
- Fragrance: asthma, skin irritations, and worse. There are more than 3,000 fragrance ingredients in common household products and we don’t have any way to know what they are, so just avoid any product with fragrance listed, period.
- Glutaral: asthma, skin allergies, toxic to marine life
- Limonene: a known carcinogen that irritates eyes and skin
- Linalool: central nervous system disorders and depresses heart activity
- Quats: asthma, toxic to our reproductive systems (distearyldimonium chloride, diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride, variants of hydroxyethyl methyl ammonium methyl sulfate or the vague terms biodegradable fabric softening agents and cationic surfactant.)
I could go on. I give credit to the EWG’s website for the above information.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like static free and soft clothes, but I won’t jeopardize the wellness of my boys or others. So, I experimented making my own fabric softener and this recipe is what worked for our farmhouse well water, the best. Plus, it made 32 ounces, so it will last me a while.
- 1 and 3/4 cups hot water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1/4 cup of any Young Living Conditioner
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 12 drops of essential oils
- Get a big mixing bowl or pot. I used a 5 quart mixing bowl. This is crucial as the baking soda will make it fizz and rise.
- Add the hot water, vinegar and conditioner. Whisk until combined. You could so this on your kitchen aid mixer with the whisk option.
- Add the baking soda SLOWLY. It fizzes. then whisk or stir in to combine.
- Add your combination of essential oils. Purification is what I added. You could do citronella during the summer. Maybe lavender, peppermint and lemon is a combination you enjoy. I used 12 drops. If you like more scent, add more.
- Funnel into a glass jar or bottle. I used two of my old kombucha bottles. A mason jar would work or even an old apple cider vinegar bottle. Reuse, reduce, recycle.
- Use it. I added it in the softener dispenser drawer of our washer. So easy.
I love money saving, environment saving, and wellness saving recipes. If you haven’t read my post of how to STRETCH your budget with laundry soap, check it out on our Instagram or Facebook page or on the blog.
Enjoy soft clothes without the toxic load!