AIRING SOME DIRTY LAUNDRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT DRYER SHEETS
Ahhhh, the fresh scent of laundry wafting from the outdoor vent. What a simple and pure moment. Or is it? Do you know what’s in your dryer sheets? I first became suspicious of these seemingly innocuous household products when a friend of mine excitedly informed me of how she used Bounce sheets to get rid of ants in her house and on her front walk. The idea that Bounce sheets could be used as a pesticide similar to Raid inspired me to investigate further. I discovered that our dryer sheets are impregnated with many harmful chemicals including benzyl acetate, chloroform and alpha-terpineol. These chemicals are designed to coat the fabric and prevent static cling. The unintentional consequence of this is that these chemicals end up rubbing against our skin and getting absorbed into our bodies while we wear our clothes, sleep under our sheets, and dry off with our towels. Now, if these chemicals made us healthier and happier there wouldn’t be a problem. However, many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, skin irritants and respiratory tract irritants known to exacerbate asthma. Makes you think twice before deeply inhaling the wafting scent of laundry, doesn’t it?
Furthermore, the synthetic fragrance found in dryer sheets also contain chemicals such as phthalates that cause reproductive system problems, including infertility, decreased sperm count, and reduced testosterone.
So, what can one do? Hanging your laundry to dry is a great way to dry clothes and avoid static. Plus, if you hang your clothes outside you get the added benefit of UV light’s amazing disinfecting power. It will also save you money on your electricity bill. If you still want to use a dryer to soften your towels, or because you don’t have space or time to hang everything to dry, dryer balls are a great alternative. You can even get essential oil sticks to place in those balls if you still want that fresh smelling laundry scent!
So feel free to air your laundry!