Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
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What's in your fabric softener and dryer sheets?

I received an email from a great friend and wanted to pass the info onto you. It is an excerpt from a very helpful book and may surprise you when you read on  . . .

Here are some words taken from Sloan Barnett's book, 'Green Goes with Everything' regarding fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

"...Here's what's in many everyday fabric softeners:  toluene, trimethylbenzene, styrene-which are neurotoxins according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health-as well as phenols and xylene.  Still sound soothing?
     If you use conventional fabric softeners in your wash, this alphabet soup of toxicity is all over your body.  There's a party going on in your pants.  And your shirt.  And your nightgown.  And your baby's pajamas.
     Here's a quick list of other chemicals typically found in fabric softeners:  a-terpineol (irritates mucous membranes and causes central nervous system damage);  benzyl acetate (eye and respiratory irritant);  benzyl alcohol (can cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, respiratory irritation, and a drop in blood pressure);  camphor (on the EPA's hazardous waste list);  ethyl acetate (eye and lung irritant and a narcotic); limonene (irritant, sensitizer);  linalool (central nervous system effects);  and pentane (eye and skin irritant and may cause headache, vomiting, dizziness or loss of consciousness).  So it's not the spin cycle that's making your head spin.
     If all this weren't troubling enough, there's another problem:  the whole point of fabric softeners is that they stay on the fabric...which means they are being released into the air you breathe and onto your skin as you wear your own clothes....
.....And speaking of static cling, let's talk dryer sheets.  They're made from synthetic fabric and/or polyurethane foam, which means they're not biodegradable, so they fill up the landfills.  More important, they include many of the same harmful toxins as fabric softener.  And because you use them in the dryer, there's no rinse cycle to dilute or dispurse them, and the heat of the dryer vaporizes some of the chemicals, sending them out into your home through the dryer vent.  This is yet another reason why indoor air is now far more loaded with pollutants than outdoor air.....
.....You can also make your own fabric softener by adding 1/4 cup baking soda to the wash cycle.  Adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar will also soften clothes as well as eliminate static cling.  You can eliminate static cling in the dryer by drying natural-fiber clothes and synthetic material clothing separately.  Better still, use an indoor or outdoor clothesline."
By the way, the Material Safety Data Sheet on Bounce Sheets suggests that we should 'wear gloves to minimize exposure and a mask so as to minimize the particles we inhale.'
There are many natural fabric softeners, dryers sheets and laundry soaps available. I like Seventh Generation products - they have a great website, are very informative and have lots of household products to choose from.
Peaceful Blessings!
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Right on! Would you want more information for your CSA members on some of the herbal detoxification medicines required to get the nasties out of your blood, bones, organs and other tissues from these fabric treatments? We'd be glad to share - there's also a lot of great books on the subject.

Posted by TwoInTents on July 16, 2009 at 11:30 PM EDT #

Sorry - your comment box cut us off at 1000 words.

There's also plenty of nice herbs to throw into the dryer to make your clothes smell nice: a sprig of lavender, juniper or sage goes a long ways and makes everything wonderful on laundry day. Hang-drying folks (like us - the sunlight destroys a lot of the chemicals that land on the clothes and do not come off in the wash, and also saves the environment from more electricity use) can beat the clothes with an "herbal broom" for that wonderful clean smell. Putting some dry herbs in the cabinet, closet or drawer is also great.

Posted by TwoInTents on July 16, 2009 at 11:31 PM EDT #

Thanks for bringing to attention some of these dangerous household chemicals. The more people aware of them, the fewer people harmed. But, the more people are aware of how to detoxify from them, the more people are healthy...

your fellow herbalists and farmers
Aaron and Mary

Posted by TwoInTents on July 16, 2009 at 11:32 PM EDT #

Hi Aaron & Mary -

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog - I have a few other blogs which you may find interesting as well. I offer quite a few different herbal blends to help rid the system of the nasties, the main thing is to get folks to realize what they are putting on and in their bodies first :) Herbal healing and natural living have been in my family for many, many generations and I just cannot believe all the junk out there today for convienence and ease of life! I am quite sure my ancestors are very unhappy with all the changes "we" have made to make our lives easy!!!

Thanks again and I enjoy reading your blogs as well.

Peaceful Blessings -
Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

Posted by Sharon - Amazing Grace Herbals on July 16, 2009 at 11:40 PM EDT #

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