Laundry 101: Part 6 – Using Fabric Softeners

Clean Soft Clothes and How to Use Natural Products to Soften Clothes.
How to Naturally Soften Clothing.

Everything Your Mom Didn’t Tell You about Fabric Softeners

Fabric softener is a combination of chemicals that are used to make clothing softer and reduce static electricity.

I have long loved the “fresh from the dryer” smell of clean laundry, but I’m not a fan of adding commercial preparations to soften my clothing. That goes for both the liquid you pour in the rinse cycle and the dryer sheets used when drying your clothes.

The older I have gotten, the more concerned I am with the chemicals in the products I use, and fabric softener is at the top of my list.

Whether the fabric softener is added as a liquid in the rinse cycle, or in the dryer as a dryer sheet, it ultimately covers every little bit of your clothing. Any chemicals present are in full contact with most every part of your body.

Here are just a few ingredients that can be found in fabric softener:

  • Alpha-Terpineol: Central nervous system (CNS) problems, breathing problems, and can cause headaches.
  • Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer. Irritating to eyes and lungs.
  • Limonene: Carcinogen. Irritating to eyes and skin.
  • Linalool: CNS disorder and reduces heart rate.

There are more chemicals used in fabric softeners for fragrance, making your clothes feels soft, and stopping static cling that are all worrisome and that can trigger reactions.

I decided a long time ago not to use it. You don’t need to use it either. There are natural ways to soften your laundry and stop static cling without covering your clothing with chemicals that have been linked to cancer, brain damage, breathing problems, and skin irritations.

Using Baking Soda or Washing Soda to Soften Clothes

Instead of using a fabric softener in the washing machine or dryer, you can add extra fabric softening and deodorizing by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. Baking soda is a gentler alternative to commercial fabric softeners.

You can also use 1/2 cup of washing soda added to the wash load along with your regular detergent to soften the water by increasing the pH level. A higher pH helps the soap to do a better job removing dirt and oil and also helps reduce mineral build up on your clothing.

Both baking soda and washing soda are alkaline substances; they boost the power of detergent, deodorize and help to keep white colors bright.

Using White Vinegar to Soften Clothes

Plain white vinegar is a mild acid and reduces the pH of the water. 1 cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle helps remove soap residue to keep laundry soft. That single cup will also help deodorize your laundry, reduce lint and associated static build up. And don’t worry it won’t smell like vinegar when it’s finished washing.

Using Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls are a very effective way to soften clothes and reduce static cling as they bounce around the inside of the dryer. They come in various sizes but are made of 100 percent wool and a nice option versus a dryer sheet. Just follow package instructions, toss in the recommend number of balls and dry.

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