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"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Monday, February 25, 2008

Healthy Hygiene for Your Home 3

Making Laundry Cents
It's just no fun when you pull a pair of pants out of the dryer and they say, "Snap, Crackle, Pop" and then stick to you with a vengeance. Static cling is the reason fabric softeners were developed. The first fabric softeners on the market were liquids that you added to the rinse cycle, if you could remember. Then washing machine manufacturers put that little plastic cup thingy on the top of the agitator so you could add the liquid fabric softener when you loaded the washer with clothes and detergent.

Then things got even easier - fabric softener sheets that you put in the dryer with the clothes. Great product, right? We all thought so. The trouble is that those innocent looking dryer sheets contain a number of toxins. But how can we live without them? We will get to that, but first consider why you should put those fabric softener sheets in the round file rather than in the dryer.

In May of 2000 Anderson Laboratory's research was published in The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. What this lab's chemical analysis revealed was that six different respiratory toxins are emitted into the air you breathe from dryer sheets: toluene, styrene, phenol, thymol, xylene, and trimethylbenzene. These six are known to cause acute respiratory tract inflammation and irritation.

But there's more. The fragrances are chemicals also, and not good to breathe, but you do every time you dry the clothes and again when you wear them. Two of the toxins mentioned above, toluene and styrene, are also suspected cancer-causing neuro-toxins (they poison the brain). Then there is undenatured ethyl alcohol which is a suspected liver toxicant and endocrine disruptor.

So what's a girl to do? There are actually a variety of solutions. Wearing natural fabrics is one possibility since they do not develop static cling in the dryer. Another solution is to add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. If you want to fragrance your clothing, dab a few drops of essential oil (lavender is great) on a small, clean rag and toss into the dryer with the clothes.

Another idea is to dab a teaspoon of natural hair conditioner on a small, clean rag and toss into the dryer with the clothing. You could put a few drops of essential oil on the rag for fragrance also. These solutions are not only simple, they are also, better, cheaper and safer. It makes "cents" to use them!

But, if you would rather buy a product, either Seventh Generation or Ecover fabric softeners are good safe choices. Happy agitating!



Bern said...

hi Sharon!

I was wondering if you have the recipe for the stain remover on the site? I was looking for it in the archives and truthfully - couldn't scroll through to find it. Could you direct me?

Thanks so much! It's sooo - cool that you have this site.
love you, Bernie

Shannon said...

Baking soda also works as a fabric softner. I add a cup of baking soda to the washer when I add the detergent (Ecos from Costco) and I no longer need dryer sheets. I buy the big bag of Arm and Hammer from Costco and keep it by the washer.

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