Not many are aware that fabric softeners offer more than what you are paying for. And, not in the good sense. The thing is these common household products are loaded with chemicals that can harm your health when absorbed through skin or when inhaled. Worst of all, they are particularly dangerous for children.
Below you can find a list of the most common harmful ingredients found in liquid fabric softeners:
- Chloroform: Although it was commonly used as an anesthetic during the entire 19th and the early 20th century, this toxic chemical has been linked to fatal cardiac arrhythmia. As it’s a proved carcinogenic neurotoxin, it’s on the Hazardous Waste list of EPA. In addition, inhaling its vapors may cause drowsiness, nausea, headache, loss of consciousness, vomiting, and/or dizziness, and it may even aggravate liver, kidney and heart disorders. When it’s exposed to heat, its effects are even more harmful.
- A-Terpineol: This chemical has been linked to a number of disorders of the central nervous including Parkinson’s disease, seizures, strokes, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, ADD, and dementia. The first symptoms of central nervous system disorders include blurred vision, dizziness, numbness in face, aphasia, disorientation, hunger, headaches, memory loss, neck pain and pain in the spine. Plus, when inhaled, this chemical irritates the mucous membranes and may lead to fatal edema, pneumonia, and respiratory depression.
- Ethanol: This is another chemical that’s on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste. Ethanol can also cause CNS disorders.
- Benzyl Alcohol: Aside from irritating the upper respiratory tract, this chemical triggers disorders of the central nervous system, nausea, dizziness, headache, dramatic drops in blood pressure and vomiting.
- Ethyl Acetate: Another chemical from the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list, ethyl acetate causes kidney and liver damage, loss of consciousness and unbearable headaches. Also, it can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract.
- Phthalates: Normally used to improve the scent of a product, phthalates have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
- Limonene: A well-known carcinogen, limonene can irritate the skin and eyes.
- Pentane: This chemical is particularly harmful when inhaled.
- Camphor: Camphor has been linked to seizures, dizziness, confusion, nausea and muscle spasms. As it’s easily absorbed by the tissues, it irritates the throat, nose or eyes.
- Benzyl Acetate: This chemical is absorbed by the skin and its vapors irritate the eyes and the respiratory tract. Also, it has been linked to pancreatic cancer.
- Linalool: In lab studies this chemical has caused death in animals. It can also lead to CNS disorders and respiratory problems.
- Tallow: Vegans should know that tallow, a form of animal fat, is commonly used in a number of fabric softeners.
And manufacturers are completely aware of the dangers these ingredients can cause. However, they choose not to explicitly warn their consumers; in some cases they only include a small warning note on the product’s label saying that this product shouldn’t be used for children’s sleepwear. But, is this enough to warn you of the health threat you’re exposing your children to?
The best solution here seems to be making your own fabric softener that will contain only natural ingredients, thus be perfectly safe for children.
This DIY fabric softener recipe we provide here is one of the best natural alternatives to store-bough softeners. Aside from using only two inexpensive and easily-available ingredients, this recipe is quite easy to make. The basic ingredient is white vinegar, which is both nontoxic and cheap. Plus, it effectively eliminates soap residue, and reduces static electricity during drying. Last, but not least, it contains some potassium and sodium, which can soften hard water.
Natural Homemade Fabric Softener
What you need:
- 1-gallon white vinegar
- 30 drops of essential oil
The preparation of this recipe couldn’t be easier. Simply add 30 drops of any essential oil to a gallon of white vinegar and mix well.
Before each use, dilute 1/4 cup of the mixture in 3/4 cups of water. Then use it as a regular softener.
You’ll be more than amazed by the results!