The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets...Who Knew???

by SWALKER 42 Replies latest social current


    The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets, by

    Although they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, it turns out that fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. Read why now!

    (PRWEB) February 21, 2005 -- Many people will remember a famous TV ad where a woman races to her washing machine, fabric softener in hand, only to arrive just as the wash ends. This woman who "forgot to ad the fabric softener" was actually doing herself and her family a favor.

    Although they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. And chances are that the staggering 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers would think twice if they knew they contained chemicals that could cause cancer and brain damage.

    Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

    • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
    • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
    • Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
    • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
    • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list
    • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
    • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
    • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
    • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

    So how could products with pretty names like Soft Ocean Mist, Summer Orchard and April Fresh be so dangerous?

    The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling -- so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells. Furthermore, synthetic fabrics, which are the reason fabric softeners were created in the first place, do not smell good either when heated in a dryer or heated by our bodies ... hence the need for even more hefty fragrances.

    In other words, remove all the added fragrance that endears people to fabric softeners and -- like the cliché wolf in sheep's clothing -- the real smells of the chemical-laced fabric softener and the synthetic fabrics they were designed around may prompt people to shoot their laundry machines and be done with it.

    Are "Soft" Clothes Worth It?
    Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment. Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include:

    • Central nervous system disorders
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Blood pressure reduction
    • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
    • Pancreatic cancer

    Soften Your Clothes Safely With These Tips:
    Even if you don't feel the effects of these chemicals today, they can affect you gradually over time, and children, whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk. There's really no reason to expose yourself to these risky chemicals when natural alternatives exist. Not only are they safer for you, your family and the environment, but they're much more economical too:

    • Add a quarter cup of baking soda to wash cycle to soften fabric
    • Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to rinse to soften fabric and eliminate cling
    • Check out your local health food store for a natural fabric softener that uses a natural base like soy instead of chemicals

    It's likely that fabric softeners and dryer sheets aren't the only toxic products in your home. Many household products that consumers regard as safe are also full of toxic chemicals. Our past articles on PEG Compounds in Cosmetics and Phenols in Common Household Cleansers are two of the all-time most popular articles on and will make you more aware of the pervasiveness of harmful chemicals that can be eliminated from your home. provides the Web’s most read and trusted personal, family and home safety and wellness e-newsletter at NO-COST, with useful and practical information, statistics and guidance from the world’s leading experts on how to best protect yourself and loved ones from illness, injuries, crime, violence, disasters, scams and more. Go to now to subscribe to the free SixWise “Be Safe, Live Longer, and Prosper” newsletter. allows reprints of this article or excerpts thereof as long as "Reprinted with permission of" is included in the reprint; if reprinted online, the link to must be live.

    (Note: This is an excerpt of the full original article that can be read now at

  • theredhead

    Wow I did not know this! And I just bought some fabric stuff today....

  • Rig Boy
    Rig Boy

    Use baking soda and vinegar to wash your clothes and household stuff. It is non-toxic. the phosphates and other chemicals in laundry detergent is some of the worst.

    Baking soda with water in a paste like mix, also works for under arm deodorant. There is a tun of aluminum in conventional under arm deodorant. Boycott them all. Baking soda and water works better anyways.

    SWALKER grandmother used to do that and I thought she just wasn't keeping up with the times!!! Now, I know she was just smarter than I gave her credit for!


  • TooOpinionated

    Yup, white vinegar for fabric softener here, too. I eliminated dryer sheets over 6 years ago.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    hmmmm I wonder if that is the real reason why mosquitoes stay away from you if you have a couple of sheets in your pockets.

    In Winnipeg that's about the only way other than stinky bug repellants to ward of the little blood suckers

  • juni

    Hi Swalker!

    That is so funny and odd that you would post about fab. soft. today. I was just reading the same thing and also how to make home made laundry and automatic dish det.

    I remember my grandma making her own homemade stuff w/fat and lye. Back during the time of wringer washers.

    I'm going to try the wht. vinegar and baking soda. They just said to be careful when mixing the two as it will fizz.

    Thanks for your info.


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I'm surprised the report didn't mention the most insidious poison used in the laundry room - Dihydrogen Monoxide! Just a small amount inhaled into the lungs will cause instant spasms, and a lungful could cause death. A dead body immersed in dihydrogen monoxide becomes "soup" in just a few days!

    Dihydrogen monoxide is also frequently found containing dissolved Natrium Muriaticum, the edible rock!

    The world is a scary, scary, dangerous place!

    May the pixies protect us!

    I'm sure we'd all live FOREVER if we were only somewhere else!

  • greendawn

    Ever since mankind got flooded with thousands of new manmade chemicals early in the 20th century the incidence of cancer and heart disease skyrocketed in just 30 years (1920-1930) from being relatively few to striking two thirds of the population in the western world. Then there is osteoporosis and diabetes.

    Blaming cholesterol and animal fats for heart disease won't do, ppl have been eating these since time immemorial.

  • Rig Boy
    Rig Boy

    I have to agree with the Watchtower stance on vaccinations. Obviously if the watchtower really cared about health they would not be a cult based on mind control and mental abuse. So we know the false motive behind their so called health tips.

    Before modern vaccinations, Autism, Tourette's Syndrom, Down's Syndrome, Alzheimers, was unheard of.

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