I get asked all the time, “what would be the first item you tell people they should stop using?” This is hard to answer but I immediately ask if they use Dryer Sheets. Personally, I can develop a headache immediately from the scent coming from the chemicals in dryer sheets. Walking the neighborhood, I am on high alert for toxic fumes coming from laundry vents. The smell has become ubiquitous. I am lucky because my immune system is strong and I can fight off these chemicals. Others with auto immune disorders are not so lucky and they can suffer from burning skin, respiratory irritation, anxiety attacks, nervous system disorders, and irritability.
What if I told you the dryer sheets you use are full of ingredients that you would never want bear your skin? You may see advertisements stating “Super Fresh Smell” or “Spring Burst” or ‘White Lavender & Sandalwood” depicted on the dryer sheet box. You’ll probably see images of flowers, or line-dried laundry and claims of wrinkle-free, static freshness, and fabric softening. What you don’t see is the list of chemicals listed on the box.
As ridiculous as it seems, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require dryer sheet manufacturers to list actual ingredients, including the chemicals used in their ‘fragrance’ blends. Acetaldehyde is a very common ingredient used in fake fragrance blends. It’s “potentially carcinogenic to humans” and adversely can impact the kidneys, nervous and respiratory systems including your lungs. Benzene is another chemical known to be on the lookout for even though it will never be on the label. Both of these chemicals are also pollutants that commonly come out of vehicle tailpipes. Most dryer sheetsare also coated with a chemical lubricant called Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QACS), which is known to exacerbate asthma symptoms and irritate skin, and has been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.
These chemicals adhere to your clothing, sheets and towels. They also release VOCs which are gases released into the air in your home and outside through the vents.
Could these chemicals such as acetaldehyde and benzene, which are considered carcinogenic, actually be making you sick? Potential Health related issues could be:
- Respiratory illness
- Runny Nose
- Skin allergies
- Breathing issues
From an Environmental standpoint: Dryer sheets aren’t needed to keep clothes clean or static free. As single-use products, they produce needless amounts of waste and emit potentially harmful chemicals into the air. It may be prudent — as well as environmentally responsible — to switch to an alternative. Most people have no idea they’re introducing such nasty pollutants into their neighborhoods. Some of these chemicals are also considered toxic to wildlife.
Alternatives: The good news is you can survive without dryer sheets even though t it may be tough to give up that smell at first. I often hear from clients that they are so grateful they stopped using dryer sheets and they can’t even stand the smell anymore. This is music to my ears whenever I hear that!
Static Cling: To help with static and softness for your laundry: Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to the Washing machine rinse cycle
Fresh Essential oil smell: Use Dryer Balls with Essential oils. They soften fabric by virtue of their woolen texture that helps fluff up the fibers in your laundry. Click here to view the the recommended dryer balls from our store.
Fresh Air: Try hanging your clothes outside on a clothes line. There is nothing better than fresh air smell! As I write this in May of 2020, everything old is becoming new again so give it a try! You may just see what it truly means to smell like “Spring Burst” or a “Super Fresh Smell” for real.
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