by Tiffany Windsor
My sister Candace and I recently talked about toxic air fresheners on our BlogTalk Radio show and when we researched, we quickly found that dryer sheets and fabric softeners fall into the same category.
The average American household is loaded with toxic chemicals. These chemicals are often found in household cleaning and cosmetic products. But, of all the toxic products in the average household…the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets are among the most potentially harmful.
It is reported that the chemicals used to make these products are extremely dangerous to our neurological system. Our nervous system (including the brain) operate via chemical messengers (neuro-transmitters). These chemical messengers are damaged and disrupted by the ingredients in these products. Given the nature of these products, they are extremely dangerous due to the fact these toxic ingredients are transferred to our clothing, bed sheets, towels, pillows and, well, everything we wash! Basically, we are in contact with these toxic ingredients constantly. Also, when heated these toxic substances are often released into the air and are inhaled.
The following are substances used as ingredients in dryer sheets and fabric softeners that are most concerning (they are often used in untested combinations): Alpha Terpineol, Pentane and Linalool (one of the potentially airborne substances that is very dangerous when inhaled. It has been linked to nervous system damage and respiratory issues.)
Benzyl acetate: Has been identified as a potential cause of pancreas cancer
Benzyl alcohol: Can irritate the upper respiratory system. Has been linked to central nervous system disorders, vomiting, nausea, headaches, syncope and dizziness.
Chloroform: This is a well-known carcinogen that is also neurotoxic. It can also be released into the air when heated and can cause loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Ethanol: This ingredient is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Has been linked to Central Nervous System disorders.
Ethyl Acetate: Also on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List. Can cause headaches.
Fragrances: These fragrances are composed of several of hundreds of synthetic chemicals that are almost always toxic,
The best way to reduce your exposure to these toxic ingredients is to avoid commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets all together. Want an easy natural replacement? Try making your own using essential oils
How to make your own dryer sheets using essential oils
Fill a clean container with organic white vinegar and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I love doTerra lavender).
Cut an old sheet or t-shirt in squares then add them into the container with the vinegar. Shake well so the fabric squares are completely saturated.
When using, simply grab a square and place it in the dryer with your laundry.
When done, return the squares to the container of vinegar. Add more vinegar and essential oils as needed to keep the squares saturated and fresh.