Pulling soft cozy clothes out of the dyer is one of those satisfying moments that make us believe that everything the Snuggle bear represents is true. But have you ever taken a second to think about how those clothes get so soft? Yep, I didn’t either until I started to get curious about all of the 12 plus lettered words on the back of the bottle.
So what exactly is Alpha-Terpineol? or Benzyl acetate? Chemicals. The chemicals found in fabric softener have been found to cause everything from cancer to depression and we wear them all day, every day. And do not be fooled that just because your not eating or drinking it, doesn’t mean that it is not getting into your body. The skin has the ability to absorb what it comes in contact with and therefore we must be just as aware of what we are putting ON our body as what we are putting IN our body.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these nasty little toxins:
1. Alpha-Terpineol–This chemical has been linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression, and headaches.
2. Ethanol–Ethanol is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list for its ability to cause brain and nervous system disorders.
3. Linalool–Studies have shown that linalool causes loss of muscle coordination, nervous system and brain disorders, and depression.
4. Chloroform–Chloroform is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hazardous Waste list and has been identified as a carcinogen and neurotoxin (toxic to the brain and nervous system). Inhalation of chloroform is fatal.
5. Ethyl Acetate–Ethyl Acetate is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list and can cause headaches, stupor, and may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys.
6. Benzyl Acetate–Benzyl acetate has been linked to cancer of the pancreas and the EPA warns ” can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects.”
7. Pentane–Pentane causes nausea, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and depression. Prolonged exposure may cause dermatitis (skin rash).
8. Benzyl alcohol–Linked to depression, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, as well as disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Yukk! So now that my possible headaches and skin irritation could be from my fabric softener… what in the world do I do?
While you can always purchase the natural fabric softener sheets, I have done that already and I am not so in love with the idea. For one, they are not that effective, and two its an expensive that I might as well not have if there is an easier, more effective alternative.
My favorite natural fabric softener:
The best way to soften your clothes is to add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water in the washing machine and let it dissolve before adding your clothes in. I also like to add a few drops of essential oils such as lavender to keep my clothes smelling fresh as well. Plain and simple.
I would definitely recommend purchasing an aluminum-free baking soda such as Bob’s Red Mills in order to avoid any possibly effects of aluminum intake. While studies are varied on the matter, its better to be on the safe side.