Fabric Softener May Harm Your Health – Research Suggests

Fabric Softener May Harm Your Health – Research Suggests

Soft and clean dry sheets are a normal part of laundry. It is a routine thing for millions of people around the world.

It is a normal thing to toss the cleaned laundry into the dryer after getting it washed. Taking out the warm, clean and scented sheets with the tinge of fabric softening liquid makes it a happy experience.

What if you come to know that your practice of drying sheets through an electric dryer is a completely wrong thing and this “electric dryer” is your enemy?

The dryer sheet boxes with those beautiful flowers and scent are nothing but a trap. It’s a completely toxic experience for you which can actually make you sick.

What is the reason?

What you won’t see and probably won’t notice is that it has a huge number of chemicals which are cooked into these laundry sheets while they are in the dryer.

Unites States Consumer Product Safety Commission has not ordered the dry sheets manufacturers to tell a complete ingredient list. It is essentially required to know what are you bring home.

A recent research by a fragrance researcher, Dr. Anne Steinmann who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering studied the chemicals oozing out of dryer vents.

These laundry emissions after scented fabric softeners and conditioners for dry sheets are the main agent of bringing the chemicals into your room.

RELATED: Research Reveals Dryer Sheets Can Harm the Health. 

A total number of seven extreme health-hazardous air pollutants and twenty-five volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These included acetaldehyde and benzene based chemicals which are extremely harmful to humans.

Acetaldehyde is a common ingredient which is carcinogenic. It means it can initiate cancer under certain conditions. The health effects are spread to the kidney, central nervous system, lungs and circulatory system.

Fabric Softener May Harm Your Health - Research Suggests

What are the common health issues?

Dr. Steinmann concluded that only 12.5% people are aware that scented laundry products such as fabric softeners are the reason for health issues. These health issues include the following.

  • A runny nose
  • Asthma
  • Skin allergy
  • A migraine
  • GIT infections

Patients with such problems are suggested to use fragrance-free products for drying clothes.

What Are Fabric Softeners Composed Of? 

Some of the most common hazardous chemicals which you may find in fabric softeners are;

  • Alpha-Terpineol: The side effects of this chemical are linked to the brain. It also weakens the muscle and can initiate depression.
  • Benzyl acetate: It is the most common agent to initiate pancreatic cancer.
  • Benzyl alcohol: The common side effects of it are nausea, headache, dizziness, stress and psychological disorders.
  • Bottom of Form
  • Chloroform: It is extremely carcinogenic.
  • Ethanol: It can also cause brain-related disorders from minor to a major level of severity.
  • Ethyl Acetate: It is the prime reason that we have headaches so commonly.
  • Linalool: It weakens the muscles and causes the central nervous system to slow down. This reduced activity can lead to some very damaging health effects.
  • Pentane: The most common reason to have a headache, dizziness, lethargy, drowsiness, and stress. A long-term of use of pentane can also lead to some serious health damages.

Extra preservatives

The preservatives in fabric softeners add additional chemicals to the list. The most common of which include methylisothiazolinone, which causes the skin allergy, which causes respiratory allergies and asthma. It is so toxic than a prolonged use can even induce cancer.

Fabric Softener May Harm Your Health - Research Suggests

All forms of fabric softeners and conditioners are high in such things. Whichever form you use, all these chemicals will be repeated.

What Can You Do?

 Instead of the chemical rich fabric softeners, you can use the following methods to make your sheets last long.

  • Add half cup distilled white vinegar to the washing machine while you add dirty laundry to wash. The smell would not last, the fragrance of detergent will cover it and all the fabrics will become soft without any extra chemicals.
  • If you still prefer the dried clothes via electric dryers, don’t use these commercially available fabric softeners.
  • Try 100% wool dryer balls. These solid balls are made of wool which is circulated around a fiber core. It will reduce the static condition of the clothes. It is also skin friendly which doesn’t initiate any type of allergic reaction at all. You can make one at home or get one from the nearest store.



With an academic background in Food Sciences, Klaire is interested to read about the latest news on nutrition, therapeutic benefits of foods and health. She is a practicing dietician with a focus on improving women’s health. Before joining the team, she has worked as a researcher and freelance writer.

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