Store bought fabric softeners are designed to reduce static in synthetic fabrics. They serve no purpose with natural fabrics. Fabric softeners work by leaving a residue on the fabric which never completely washes out. It can cause allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. Fabric softeners may also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia and very strong scents. When fabric softeners are exposed to hot water, heat from dryers or ironing, vapors may be emitted which can be deeply inhaled, increasing their impact.- Guide to Less Toxic Products
When I stopped using fabric softener, this strange rash I used to get on my leg went away, and Sexy’s nighttime nosebleeds subsided. I tell anyone with excema or asthma to stop using store brand fabric softener immediately, since it’s known to aggravate both ailments. It’s incredibly easy to make your own fabric softener, and much healthier too! Here’s few versions that I’ve tried.
Basic DIY Fabric Softener
Lavender Fresh Fabric Softener
Lemony Fabric Softener* (this one makes your clothes really soft)
DO NOT use Apple cider Vinegar in any of the above recipes, it will stain your clothes! (save it for your hair, I’ll explain in another post)
Note: The clothes will smell really lemony when they come out of the washer, but after they dry, either in the dryer or on the line, the scent fades a bit.
*This recipe is from The Naturally Clean Home, by Karyn Siegel-Maier