I’ve written about changes I’ve made around the house after Isabella experienced her first eczema outbreak. Two household items that needed immediate action were my laundry detergent and dryer sheets. These are the top recommendations when talking to a doctor about what can trigger an atopic eczema outbreak. It was initially hard for me to part with my Bounce dryer sheets because of years enjoying that smell, but after researching just how harmful dryer sheets are, I’m happy to have eliminated them from my house. Not only are they a skin irritant…they are actually toxic! Parents need to think of these sheets as rubbing chemicals on their family’s clothes.
I never stopped to think what, other than the scent from the Bounce sheets, was being left as residue on our clothes. I shudder to think that I used dryer sheets on my newborn baby’s clothes. Here are some hidden ingredients: alpha-terpineol, benzyl acetate, camphor, benzyl alcohol, limonene, ethyl acetate, pentane, and chloroform. Those words sound like Greek? . . . well here are these ingredients potential side-effects:
cause central nervous system disorders, headaches, and loss of muscle coordination;
irritate mucous membranes and impair respiratory function;
cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness;
cause liver or kidney damage;
cause skin disorders and allergic reactions;
The chemicals from dryer sheets are air-born and then the double whammy of having direct contact with our skin. A natural fabric softener to eliminate static is vinegar. See my previous post on handmade household cleaners. I’ve also talked about my Eco laundry detergent that I love…it has a built-in Soy fabric softener. Finding a detergent with soy is such an easy alternative to using these sheets because it’s built into the detergent. I was surprised that after discontinuing the use of the dryer sheets, my clothes really didn’t have much static. With our climate and soft water quality, it really isn’t an issue. But if your clothes do have static, here are a few things to try:
♦ Remove clothes when slightly damp and hang dry to complete the drying process. This small amount of moisture will keep static cling from becoming a problem in the first place.
♦ Only use the dryer for cotton fabrics. Dry all other types of fabric by air drying – other fabrics are ideal candidates for these alternative drying techniques.
♦ Vinegar to replace fabric softener and laundry detergent with soy fabric softener as previously mentioned.
Just like understanding that an adult tolerating BPA from a plastic drinking cup is different that a small baby ingesting BPA from a bottle, we need to protect our babies and children from chemicals. Eliminate a toxin in your home today and say goodbye to dryer sheets and fabric softener. You’ll soon discover that you’ll save money and won’t miss the smell. Actually, now when I’m out walking in neighborhoods, I can walk by a house and smell which dryer vents are propelling the smell from dryer sheets into the air. The fact the odor is still so strong outside of the house makes you wonder how many chemicals need to be added to retain the fragrance. Think about eliminating a step in washing/drying clothes that is doing more harm than good.