Thursday, January 17, 2013

8 Reasons Why I Ditched Dryer Sheets

Call me crazy, but I love doing laundry...well, for the most part. Putting away the clothes for a family of four? Not so much.

What I do love is pulling out the warm, soft, scented towels and clothing from the dryer or smelling the air from our dryer vent leading outside my house. Who would have thought that so much joy and aromatherapy could come from a $1 box of dryer sheets?

Well, that was about four years ago. Since then I took a deeper look into why these little sheets that made my laundry feel and smell so good, were actually quite harmful to my family. This is why...

Most commercial fabric softeners, dryer sheets, cosmetics, soaps, and household cleaners contain a number of toxins that are linked to many types of health problems, and I am talking about more than simple skin irritation...

Here are 8 common chemicals that may be in your fabric softeners or dryer sheets :

* Alpha-Terpineol– This chemical has been linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression, and headaches

* Benzyl acetate – Linked to cancer of the pancreas

* Benzyl alcohol – Linked to headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, depression, as well as disorders of the brain and nervous system

* Chloroform - on the EPA's hazardous waste list and has been identified as a carcinogen and neurotoxin (toxic to the brain and nervous system)

* Ethanol – also on the EPA’s hazardous waste list since it has been know to cause brain and nervous system disorders

* Ethyl Acetate – causes headaches and also on the EPA hazardous waste list

* Linalool - has been found to cause nervous system and brain disorders, depression, and loss of muscle coordination

* Pentane – causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and depression

Scary, isn't it?

Of course some may argue that the amount of these chemicals is so small that they would have little effect on ones health, but honestly, I wouldn't want to take that chance, especially if there is a chemical-free option.

Replace the conventional fabric softeners and sheets with any of the following :

* Eco-friendly, non-chemical dryer sheets or fabric softener - a more expensive option, but you and your family are worth it right?

* Wool dryer balls - reduce drying time, can be used up to 1,000 times, and are compostable. Some claim that wool balls make their clothes extremely static-y, but you can greatly reduce the static but tossing in a ball of foil in with your dryer load and wool dryer balls.

* Make your own dryer sheets - use a small rag or cloth and soak in a teaspoon of conditioner (make sure that it is also toxin free!)

* Vinegar - add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water of the laundry cycle...and yes, it actually softens clothes!

You may have seen those plastic or rubber dryer balls at your local grocery store, but they are loud, are not BPA free (BPA releases when heated), and have been rumored to damage your dryer's sensor.

What do you currently use as a fabric softener? What is your favorite chemical-free option?


  1. We used to use the plastic balls - they *did* reduce drying time, but they also only lasted a few months for us! They'd start cracking and little pieces of plastic would get stuck in our laundry. It was awful! I *love* the wool dryer balls I have now!

  2. We have a water softener hooked to the whole house and it keeps the clothes static free in the dryer. :)
    I really hate that there are so many chemicals in our lives - it would be so easy for the companies to come up with alternatives...

  3. I've been using the dryer sheets. It's something to think about.

  4. courtney hennagirJuly 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    yikes,i never really thought about all the crap that's in these dryer sheets! i will be looking for an alternative for sure.i keep hearing about the wool dryer balls.

  5. I use wool dryer balls and I do notice a lot of static cling I'll have to try the foil trick. The dryer balls really do cut down drying time. I love anything that laundry faster .

  6. Thoughts a lot of chemicals going into those little sheets! I ditched them too.

  7. I use vinegar right now but I think I want to get some dryer balls. I haven't used fabric softener or dryer sheets for years now.

  8. I absolutely LOVE the smell of fresh clean laundry but I quit using dryer sheets too because they just seemed so wasteful, more trash ending up in landfills, all the energy and resources being used up to produce them and package them and ship them to stores just so we can use it once and throw it away. I had never thought to make my own with fabric I will definitely have to give that try!


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