With promises like fresher, softer laundry, long-lasting scent, elimination of static electricity, etc., it’s easy to imagine that using fabric softener comes at a cost. However, it is very often our health, as well as that of the planet and of the washing machine, that suffer the most. In this article, we’ll take you behind the scenes with this product designed to perfume laundry and give you all the good reasons to drop the fabric softener. And of course, we will also offer you effective alternative solutions based on natural products so that you never have problems with coarse laundry again. What to have a clean and perfumed linen without harming your health.
1) Fabric softener is not always useful
With each wash, it’s automatic: you add a dose of this product to provide its good smell. However, its use is not always necessary. Often, it is recommended to use it in hard water, because lime can make clothes less soft. Nevertheless, not all municipalities have very hard water (inquire at the town hall). In addition, the harder the water is heated to a high temperature, the faster the lime settles. Also, when washing at low temperature (less than 60 ° C), this product does not add no added value in comparison with its use for a warmer wash. There is therefore no need to add a detergent or an anti-limescale under these conditions!
2) This product clogs the washing machine
With regular use, fabric softener tends to clog the drawers of the washing machine as well as its ducts. This may in particular promote black deposits mold and bad smells in addition to interfering with washing clothes. The latter is poorly rinsed because of the blocked ducts. For the durability of the washing machine and optimal cleaning, it is therefore better to avoid using it too much.
3) Fabric softener causes allergies and can be harmful to health
We pay attention to what we eat or what products we put on our skin, but we usually don’t pay attention to what we use to clean clothes. However, the latter are in constant direct contact with our skin. Between the surfactants it contains and the various allergens (preservatives, overdosed synthetic fragrances, ingredients from petrochemicals, etc.), this product is not harmless. Respiratory discomfort (eg increased asthma), headaches, skin irritations, allergies … Its effects are harmful, especially in fragile or sensitive people. Moreover, we often advise against their use for baby laundry. Several studies also consider that this product may be carcinogenic.
And unfortunately, allegations such as ”hypoallergenic“,“sensitive skin” Where “dermatologically tested” are not no security guarantees. It’s marketing. As shown in the UFC What to Choose test, 5 out of 8 fabric softeners with these labels contained an allergenic fragrance or preservative.
An anthology of harmful ingredients often found in the fabric softener:
–Methylisothiazolinone : As the linalool, it is a very allergenic product common in household products. Allergies to this component have been on the rise in recent years.
–Eugenol, Isoeugenol, Amyl Cinnamal and Benzyl Cinnamate : Present in high content in fabric softener, they promote irritation of the skin and the respiratory system.
–Alpha Terpineol : This neurotoxicant can cause dizziness, headache, vertigo, memory loss and pain (neck, back, etc.). Despite its natural origin, it exhibits a certain degree of toxicity which destroys the structure of cell membranes.
–Benzyl alcohol : It causes nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and headaches as well as central nervous system disorders with regular exposure. However, it is present in cleaning products, paints and varnishes, medicines, etc.
–Benzyl acetate : It is irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract, and is linked to the development of cancerous tumors in the pancreas.
–Chloroform : It is a carcinogenic solvent.
4) Softener is a polluting product
Like essential oils, this product pollutes water when used for laundry care. Remember that the chemical ingredients that compose it are not not biodegradable. De facto, they end up in wastewater and can thus harm aquatic flora and fauna. If you don’t do it for yourself, think about our beautiful and already badly tried planet!
5) It also makes cleaning less efficient
By surrounding the textile fibers to smooth and soften them, softening it impairs the absorption capacity of the laundry. Concretely, towels and tea towels washed with this detergent will have more difficulty absorbing liquids. As for sportswear, they also absorb perspiration less well. This ultimately makes their use less pleasant. If you want clothes and linens that perform their function, avoid putting fabric softener in the dedicated compartment of the washing machine! It can also accumulate in the fibers of the rags and therefore spread grease when cleaning various surfaces of the house. Housekeeping then becomes less efficient.
So, how do you replace fabric softener on a daily basis?
To counter the effects of limestone, you can use white vinegar. By countering the effects of limestone, it makes the laundry more flexible. And as it dries, it disappears. There is therefore no risk of unpleasant odors of vinaigrette in the laundry. However, we can associate it with a few drops of natural fragrance (to buy on the Internet). This will give the vinegar a good smell. In addition, the scent will be more sustainable and less polluting than an essential oil whose primary function is not to perfume. Don’t feel like using vinegar? There are other recipes for softeners without chemicals!