Fabric softeners may seem like a tempting addition to your laundry machine – they act to smooth your clothes, eliminate static and wrinkles, and on top of all that, they add a pleasant scent to your wardrobe. Yet, all of these apparent benefits come at a cost – for your clothes, your health, and the planet; not to mention your wallet.
As ethical fashion blogger Verena Erin explains in her writeup, adding softeners to our laundry routine introduces a host of harmful chemicals to our bodies. Among such chemicals are Quaternary ammonium compounds, or simply ‘quats’, which are linked to respiratory and skin irritations and harmful to marine environments. Other things that softeners contain are fragrances and phthalates – known endocrine disruptors – as well as preservatives and colors that are linked to skin irritations and even cancer.
What’s more, softeners are not even good for clothing. The layer of lubricating chemicals that they add to your laundry builds up over time, causing yellowing in clothes and reducing the absorbency of fabrics, which may be why your old towels don’t soak up water like they used to.
Fortunately, giving up fabric softener is not that difficult today, with plenty of healthier, natural, and safer alternatives available out there. The source article from Treehugger has some suggestions.