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Join me on my new adventure - Van Living!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Fabric Softener Alternatives

Fabric softener is something 
I lived without for most of my life.
We just didn't use it.
Scented softener is one of the biggest challenges 
for an MCS Canary, 
and as such, 
should be something that people without sensitivities 
look at VERY closely 
as far as safety is concerned.

The fumes from scented fabric softeners
are extremely toxic,
not only to the person WEARING the clothes
but to everyone within
smelling distance of them
AND of their dryer exhaust.
By using scented fabric softener,
you are poisoning the entire neighborhood.

Scented fabric softener 
will send a Canary running to their nest, 
taping up windows and doors 
to escape the toxic fumes.

So how DOES a person 
get those new fangled fabrics 
soft and wrinkle free?
What are some safe options?

The first option is Apple Cider Vinegar. 
Even by the gallon
it is much less expensive than fabric softener!

If you live in a city with a health food store like New Seasons,
you can often buy vinegar in bulk
supplying your own jar
and save from having to recycle 
all those insidious plastic jugs.

To use it, 
add 1/2 cup to the rinse water when you're washing.

I know. I know.  
While grandma used to stand by the machine 
and WATCH the wash,
many of us are much too busy these days.

But the benefits could outweigh the annoyances.

First, no plastic jugs to recycle.
Second, no dangerous chemicals down the drain.
Third, no dangerous chemicals to be absorbed by your child's SKIN.
Fourth, soft wrinkle free clothes.

Don't worry about the smell.. 
it quickly goes away.
Use it on your hair too, 
instead of conditioner.
You'll be happy 
with the squeaky clean, tangle free shine!

A second option 
is to dilute DOWNY sensitive fragrance free fabric softener 
and dip a damp cloth or a wool dryer ball 
into that
and toss it in your dryer.
.Of all the fabric softeners, 
I've found this one to be the least toxic for me.
There is no smell.

I mix one cap of liquid softener with 2 CUPS of water.
I keep this in a small plastic bowl 
with a lid on top of my dryer.
I keep 3 wool dryer balls inside my dryer.
These not only pound the wrinkles out of your clothes,
but the wool attracts lint and makes your clothes lint-free.
I make my own dryer balls by needle felting wool. 
Some people make them by wrapping wool yarn into a ball,
but I find those eventually fall apart.
You can also find these on
Once I'm settled into my house,
I will post a tutorial on making them.

dip one ball 
into the diluted fabric softener solution
and toss it into the dryer with your wet clothes.

It works GREAT!
And that one CAPful of fabric softener will last 
for (literally) WEEKS
saving you a lot of money,
saving the earth from more garbage,
and saving people from toxic chemicals.

If you can't find wool dryer balls on Etsy,
you can order them from me.
I sell them for $12 for 3 balls.
Mine have lasted a year so far.

When the balls fill up with lint, 
you just pull it off
or shave it with a sweater shaver
and continue to use them.

Try it.
You will be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time,
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without!


1 comment:

  1. As someone who isn't MCS, even I can attest to the power of the damn fragrances in fabric softener! We were on a long bike ride one lovely spring morning and going thru a lovely wooded area with a few homes. All warmed up...lungs open and breathing well (I do have asthma!) and wham...thru a scented cloud from someones dryer! Sheesh, it left me gagging and gasping for a good couple of minutes and I could feel it for quite some time afterwards. God only knows what that would have felt like if I was more sensitive! I use the unscented occasionally. Will think about the dryer balls...when I get home in a few weeks! :-)


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