Ditch the fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and use these simple, non-toxic alternatives to naturally freshen your laundry without using harsh chemicals.
If you’ve read my Liquid Laundry Soap or Powdered Laundry Soap posts, you may be wondering how I’ve tackled the issues of fabric softener and dryer sheets. Read on to find out why I don’t use these products and how I naturally freshen my laundry without the use of harsh chemicals.
UPDATE: I’ve completely stopped using homemade laundry soaps – find out why!
It’s easy to guess why I don’t like the liquid softeners – I hate the idea of artificial fragrances and residues left on my clothes, when it’s supposed to be in the washing machine to get washed! But what about the dryer sheets? What could possibly be wrong with dryer sheets?
Well, besides the artificial fragrances (again), a quick online search returns a long list of some very concerning chemicals – Benzyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Chloroform, A-Terpineol, among others that are neurotoxins, carcinogens, and even listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List!
For a complete list of what’s actually in your dryer sheets, along with their health risks, visit this link.
There are a few things you can do both in the washer and the dryer that work really well to naturally freshen your laundry:
1. Baking Soda
Add about 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash basin while it’s filling with water and let it dissolve before adding the clothes.
Baking Soda helps to not only soften the clothes, it also regulates the pH level of the wash water. It’s is also very effective at reducing odors in the laundry. (For HE/front-loading machines, just add it into the detergent cup.)
Instead of using a liquid fabric softener, use ¼ – ½ cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer. If you have a fabric softener dispenser just add it there, and you’re good to go. If not, you can just use an old Downy ball or just manually pour it in during the rinse cycle.
Vinegar helps to soften the clothes and if used during the rinse cycle, it won’t leave your clothes smelling like a salad. 😉
3. Homemade Dryer Sheets
Take a small piece of cotton cloth (cut-up shirt, washcloth, etc.), soak it with water and wring it out so that’s it’s just damp. Add about 5 drops of your favorite essential oil all over the cloth (orange, tea tree, and lavender work great!), and throw it into the dryer with your clothes. This works best if its done in the last 10 minutes of drying.
When you take out your clothes, they’ll have a nice, light scent from the essential oils. Just keep wetting the cloth and using it over and over again until the smell runs out. Then toss it in the wash and start all over again.
These 3 simple methods are the easiest way to naturally freshen your laundry without the use of harmful chemicals.