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Fabric Softeners

Fabric Softeners

The smell of fabric softeners is on the minds of many Americans,
or so I assume from the volume of e-mail I receive on the subject.
Many are frantic to get the smell out of their driers, others out
of their clothes, and most want alternatives.

A recent study from Anderson Laboratories gives a clue as to why
this particular household product has become a bee in so many
peopleís bonnets.
Here are the details:

Anderson Laboratoriesí chemical analysis of the airborne
emissions of five different kinds of commonly available fabric
softeners was reported in the May, 2000 issue of The Journal of
Toxicology and Environmental Health. Their study revealed that
the fabric softeners emitted toluene, styrene, phenol, thymol,
xylene, and trimethylbenzene, among other chemicals, many of which
cause acute respiratory tract irritation and inflammation.

What You Can Do
Fabric softeners are static cling busters; that is their main
function. They reduce static cling by coating fabric with a waxy
film that fluffs up clothes and changes the negative electrical
charge from the detergent.

Interestingly, natural fabrics donít develop static the way
synthetics do, so step-by-step switching to all natural fabrics
such as organic cotton sheets will help. You can also shake out
the clothes to reduce the static. Fortunately, “green” fabric
softeners are now on the market from brands such as Seventh
Generation and Ecover, that are made of vegetable-based surfactants,
salt, and natural ingredients for scent.

To read the Anderson Laboratories study, click here.

Read more: Home, Green Home Decor, Non-Toxic Cleaning

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
11:34PM PST on Nov 29, 2013

Thanks for sharing this

11:06PM PST on Nov 29, 2013

Never use them.

3:21AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013


5:58AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

Thank you!

7:21AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Thank you

4:46AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks for the info.

2:34AM PDT on May 21, 2012

thanks! I actually use the laundromat, so I can't completely control what goes onto my clothes, since the remnants of the soap/rinse/dryer fixative from the last customer is always there - but, for what we spend at the laundromat, we match into our washer/dryer fund, and we keep trolling craigslist/ads for well-kept used machines.

12:22AM PDT on May 14, 2012

Thanks for this article.

5:32PM PDT on May 13, 2012


6:56AM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Thanks for the article.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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