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The Danger of Dryer Sheets

By Alexis Atkins

Tackling laundry is a chore, using a dryer sheet is a choice.

You can choose every scent imaginable when shopping for dryer sheets. From “Outdoor Fresh” to “Lush Lavender,” your laundry is bound to invoke the aroma of a peaceful french valley. You can choose whether you want wrinkle-resistant dryer sheets, or not. Or better yet, you can select your most-trusted brand of dryer sheets.

But what if I told you that in choosing traditional dryer sheets, you are also opting to inhale toxic chemicals everyday single day. Sound scary?

Unfortunately, I’m not exaggerating. Studies have shown that various toxic chemicals found in dryer sheets are potentially damaging to our health. Not only are we breathing in these chemicals, but we’re rubbing them onto our face and body from our washcloths, wearing these chemicals on our clothes and even sleeping on them at night on our sheets.

Let’s breakdown the harmful effects of dryer sheets and look at the natural alternative to these chemically-coated laundry products.

What Are Dryer Sheets?

Traditionally, dryer sheets are a thin piece of woven polyester fabric that has been covered in a chemical cocktail designed to soften laundry. This cocktail is comprised of a surfactant, a compound that reduces tension or static between objects, and fragrance. When you touch a dryer sheet and feel that sticky or slimy feeling, that’s the chemical mixture.

For example, “as the surfactant heats up during the drying cycle, the fatty substance coats your clothes, making them more pleasant to the touch, and the positive atoms prevent static.”

In short, heat-activation of the toxic-chemicals in dryer sheets is what gives our laundry that freshly scented cuddly soft feel.

What Ingredients Are In Dryer Sheets?

If you are looking for the ingredients label on a box of dryer sheets, chances are likely that you won’t find one.

The U.S. Consumer Products and Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates products and sets universal safety standards in the hopes of reducing potential harm to consumers. Despite their mission, the CPSC guidelines to disclose all ingredients (including fragrances) to customers are voluntary for the participating manufacturers.

According to the Co-Founder of The Honest Company, “manufacturers are only required to list the ingredients that are active disinfectants (because these are technically pesticides) or known to be acutely hazardous (which to them includes ingredients that cause fires or explosions but not those that cause cancer or developmental diseases).”

This lack of transparency gets even worse when it comes to the mixtures of fragrance chemicals because most synthetic fragrances are a major source of allergens.

Needless to say, these toxins are not allowing us to live a health-conscious life. Not only are dryer sheets damaging our environment by creating non-recyclable waste, but they are also polluting the air with hazardous chemicals.

The All-Natural Alternative

If you want your clothes to feel soft to the touch and smell fresh, there are non-toxic options for dryer sheets that provide the same results without the added health risks.

My go-to toxic-free alternative is LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls. Not only are they 100% wool, but they are all natural, sustainable, biodegradable and durable.

Wool Dryer Balls have many benefits including:

  • Reusability: Unlike dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners that are single-use, wool dryer balls can be used time and time again.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: You don’t have to spend loads of money every month repurchasing new ones in comparison to traditional dryer sheets.
  • Reducing Dry-Time: LooHoo dryer balls can eliminate 10-25% of your laundry’s dry time, saving you time and money.
  • Reducing Static: Just like traditional fabric softener, natural wool dryer balls have the ability to separate clingy clothes and naturally absorb odors so that you still have a clean smell to your laundry.

LooHoo’s Wool Dryer Balls are unscented, but if you still want that floral or fresh scent from traditional dryer sheets, there’s a simple fix. Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the wool dryer balls and toss the balls into the dryer with your clothes. Adding essential oils to the dryer balls will have your laundry smelling fresh and clean.

Transitioning to a lifestyle free of chemicals can be difficult, but once the change happens you’ll wonder what was stopping you in the beginning.

Looking to make your laundry routine toxic-free? Check out the BLK + GRN marketplace for non-toxic cleaning products for your home.

How did you transition to a toxic free laundry routine? Share with us below.

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