What Are Eco friendly Solutions To Replace Fabric Softeners?
We all love the softness that fabric softener brings to our clothes. But is this softness really so good for our clothing and the environment?
Today’s households are much more aware of the environmental impact of their daily activities. You may have already asked yourself if this type of product is good for the environment and for your clothes. But what if we told you that there are alternatives to fabric softeners that are much kinder to both?
Read on to find out how to maintain your (probably eco-friendly and carefully chosen) clothes and how to soften them in a natural way.
Are Fabric Softeners Good for My Clothes?
Fabric softener is a household product that is used either in the final rinse or in the dryer when doing laundry. Whether liquid or in sheets, fabric softener brings softness, suppleness and a pleasant smell to freshly washed clothes. But is it really the best solution for your clothing and the environment?
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your laundry habits, you’ll be disappointed to learn that most commercial fabric softeners are made from petrochemicals and synthetic products, which are both polluting and potentially irritating to your skin.
Conventional fabric softeners are made with a variety of chemicals, including synthetic fragrances, quats and phthalates. They may contain parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which are known to cause irritation in humans and animals.
These ingredients can linger on clothes after they have been washed, and be absorbed through the skin. Furthermore, they can end up in our water bodies, where they can harm aquatic life.
As well, conventional fabric softeners are not optimal for clothing longevity. If you want your clothes to remain pristine, these synthetic products should be avoided. While they may make your towels and sheets feel softer, they also prevent them from absorbing moisture as effectively. This also means that your workout clothes won’t be able to wick away sweat as well, and will end up retaining more moisture and bacteria.
Fabric softeners can also be harsh on babies’ delicate skin. If you use them to wash onesies or blankets, you may want to find an alternative. These products can also damage the flame-retardant properties of some textiles, making them less effective in the event of a fire.
Fabric softeners can leave stains and residue on your clothes, and have the potential to damage your washing machine and plumbing. In general, it is best to avoid fabric softeners if you want to keep your clothes in perfect condition.
Disadvantages of Fabric Softeners
In summary, here are the main disadvantages of commercial fabric softeners:
Bad for Clothes
- They leave stains and must be rinsed well
- They prevent fabrics from absorbing moisture, which is a must for towels and sportswear, for example
- They can impair flame-retardant properties
Bad for the Environment
- They contain synthetic and petroleum-based products, which are then released into water bodies
- They damage the washing machine, which will need to be repaired and changed more often
- They are potentially irritating to the skin, especially for babies
What Are the Alternatives to Commercial Fabric Softeners?
Don’t worry, there are many ways to avoid these products. If you are looking for a way to soften your clothes without using fabric softener, you can try one of these options:
- Use white vinegar instead of water in your rinse cycle. This will help you get rid of any detergent residue left over from the wash cycle as well as soften the fabric.
- Add laundry balls to your load of laundry instead of using detergent or fabric softener. These little textile balls mechanically remove dirt from clothes without the need for a cleaning product, while naturally softening clothes. They are also environmentally friendly!
- You could also opt for a natural fabric softener, made from ingredients like essential oils and plant-based surfactants. Although these products are more expensive than traditional fabric softeners, they are better for your health and the environment.
- Finally, proper care of your clothes will extend their life, preserve their softness and limit the need for fabric softeners.
How to Properly Care for Your Clothes
Taking good care of your clothes will allow them to stay soft longer, thus avoiding the need for fabric softeners. To take care of your clothing, make sure to:
- Not dry clothes in the sun
- Not wash them too often
- Lower the washing temperature
- Air drawers regularly
- Choose natural and quality materials
Choosing clothes made of eco-friendly and durable materials will ensure their longevity and reduce the need for fabric softeners in the first place. By selecting quality products, you can ensure that they remain as soft as possible without having to resort to fabric softeners.