Dryer sheets might be the last thing that come to mind when you think of toxins that may be in your house. Hiding in plain sight, this common household item could be the source of chemicals and toxic fumes that are dangerous to your health and the health of your family.
Do you prefer mountain air or sea breeze? Your fresh-smelling dryer sheets contain artificial fragrances and chemicals that are more dangerous than you might think. When you throw dryer sheets in with your clothes, you are coating your clothes with chemicals that are extremely toxic. Exposure to these chemicals can effect everything from your eyes and skin to your nervous system. If you’re buying and using common dryer sheets, here are seven pretty convincing reasons to ditch them!
Toxic Chemicals In Dryer Sheets
- Aplha Terpineol – Contact with this chemical can cause headaches, loss of muscular control, central nervous damage and respiratory problems.
- Benzyl Acetate – Use for fragrance, this chemical has been linked to pancreatic cancer. Exposure to it can cause dizziness, drowsiness and confusion, red eyes and dry skin. Inhaling vapors can lead to a burning sensation in the throat and labored breathing.
- Benzyl Alcohol – This chemical is known to be a respiratory tract irritant and a central nervous system system depressant.
- Camphor – Derived from pine oil, camphor is known to increase heart rate, suppress breathing and lower appetite. Exposure to large doses can affect the central nervous system, causing lethargy, disorientation, stomach cramps and vomiting.
- Chloroform – Chloroform is often used in dryer sheets for hydrogen bonding. It can be absorbed quickly through the skin, mouth and airways. Exposure can cause central nervous system and respiratory depression, skin sores and eye irritation.
- Ethyl Acetate – This chemical is used to soften clothing. It’s on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Exposure can irritate the throat, nasal passages and eyes.
- Dichlorobenzene – This chemical is commonly used in pesticides and dryer sheets as an anti-static agent. Exposure can irritate the skin, eyes and throat. Long-term exposure can affect the central nervous system, the liver and the kidneys. The EPA considers it to be a possible human carcinogen.
Safer Alternatives To Dryer Sheets
The good news is, dryer sheets can be replaced with safer, more natural alternatives. You can still keep your clothes soft, static-free and smelling fresh! Ditch your chemical-filled dryer sheets and try one of these alternatives:
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar can help take the stiffness out of clothing and remove residue from detergent. It’s also safe to use and can even help remove mildew. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. It can leave your clothes smelling fresh without the threat of harsh chemicals. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda into your washing machine during the wash cycle to freshen and soften clothes.
3. Dryer Balls
Dryer balls are not only chemical-free, they’re also reusable! Dryer balls keep clothes soft and free of static. They’ll also help pull the moisture out of your clothing to help clothes dry faster. Check out the video below to learn how to make your own!