Why Choose Fabric Softener Substitutes?
So, do you really need fabric softener?
Nope, not even a little bit. The best alternative fabric softener is no softener.
Synthetic fabric softener is not only bad for the environment, but also your skin, your health, your machines, and your clothing.
Let’s spin (cycle) through the history and facts about chemical fabric softener to understand just how important it is to say “no” to this product.
Fabric Softener History
Historically, liquid fabric softener first emerged in the early 1900s, because back then clothing dyes left predominantly cotton fabrics with a harsh, stiff feeling.
Early formulas were more natural and made from corn, olive or tallow oil mixed with water.
But quats, along with synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals, are damaging not only to our planet, but also our skin, health, clothing, and machines.
Fabric Softener Chemical Overload
Quats are known to trigger asthma and are likely toxic to the reproductive system.
Synthetic fragrances in regular fabric softener can likewise cause allergies, skin irritations, dermatitis, respiratory issues, and possible reproductive damage. While more research is needed, studies indicate that synthetic fragrances possibly also create health issues when vented into the air outside, particularly for asthmatics.
Then there are the preservatives and colors. Methylisothiazolinone is a strong skin irritant and allergen, and glutaral is known to trigger skin allergies and asthma. These common fabric softener chemicals are also fatal for marine life when they get washed down the drain and back into waterways.
The artificial cherry (color) on top is the synthetic colors—like carcinogenic D&C violet–added into store-bought fabric softeners for no real reason.
Environmental Dangers Of Chemical Fabric Softeners
Not only do the plastic jugs take 500+ years to decompose and contribute to enormous landfill waste and microplastics, but the liquid softener itself kills the environment and marine life.
An alarming 1 billion laundry jugs are used in North America annually, and more than half end up in landfills.
On top of that, the quats we spoke of earlier are sometimes plant-based, but usually they are an animal byproduct, meaning that your store bought fabric softeners aren’t vegan or cruelty-free.
Fabric Softener Damage To Clothing & Washing Machines
If that wasn’t enough to make you swap for an eco-friendly alternative, fabric softeners are also bad for your clothing and your laundry machines.
According to one laundry expert interviewed for Consumer Report, his number one tip for laundry was to ditch the fabric softeners—and disposal dryer sheets, while you’re at it.
But remember: using no fabric softener doesn’t actually mean you can’t soften clothes.
You can simply opt for a replacement for fabric softener: natural alternatives, dryer balls, DIY solutions, and common household items.