Saturday, June 5, 2010

Natural dryer sheets

In an earlier post, I wrote about how to make your own natural laundry detergent. I'm currently working my way through a big tub of the liquid version of the soap. I feel really good about using a natural product when I'm doing my laundry, but it killed me when I realized that I'm cancelling out the good by using a dryer sheet in the dryer. Dryer sheets contain a laundry list (waa-waa) of harmful and irritating chemicals that are not only bad for our bodies, but also bad for the environment, as well as contribute to waste when you throw it away. Here is a list of commonly found chemicals in commercial dryer sheets:

  • Benzyl Acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benzly Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol: Can cause central nervous system damage
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems 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: Narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
But the one that grosses me out the most, is that they also contain tallow, which is a refined form of beef fat. It's essentially what makes your clothes soft- it coats it in a fine layer of fat. Uggg.....

So that's enough to freak me out. I searched for ways to make a natural fabric softener at home, but nothing really hit it out of the park. The next time I was at a grocery store that had an extensive supply of natural products, I checked out what they had in the laundry aisle. To my delight, many companies that make natural laundry detergent also make some type of natural fabric softener or dryer sheets. I picked up a pack of Method Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths, and tried them for the first time today. I love them! You get 40 cloths, each are usable twice, then afterwards you can recycle them. Even better! They left a great light scent behind (I got the lavender scented cloths- yes, I love lavender), and my clothes were wonderfully soft and static free. Other companies that make natural fabric softener are Mrs. Meyers, Ecover, Sun & Earth- CostCo even sells a natural fabric softener which my parents use and like. Or you can use a dryer ball, which I've never used, and don't really understand the science of it, but I have heard they are an equally "green" alternative to dryer sheets.
method Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths, Sweet Water

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"Un-shit your life"- to rid your life of useless shit. This blog is a collection of hints, tips, ideas and stories that I have gathered from my family, friends, articles, the internet, rumors and life experiences. Please share your own!

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