I stopped using fabric softener a couple of months ago. I had been experiencing real bad skins irritations, yet my doctors could not determine the cause. After much research, I began to suspect that fabric softener use could have been a possible cause. Then, after even more research on fabric softener, I found that its use brought about a much bigger problem.
Fabric softener main use of course, is to soften clothing, along with the removal of static caused by the drying process, plus the addition of providing a pleasant smell. If it does all that, one can understand why most can’t live without it.
The chemical compounds in fabric softener causes the fabric threads to stand up, thus making the fabric feel softer. But, it is those chemical compounds which are the problem.
The wash cycle removes dirt and chemicals, but using fabric softener reverses the process because you are adding chemicals back in your clothing.
The problem with the chemicals in fabric softeners is that over time, a build-up happens in your washing machine that leaves a gunky residue that is called “scrud.”
For clothing, it gets worse. It’s the softening process that does more harm than good. The softening process can make clothing less capable of absorbing water. So, more chemicals are usually added to the softener to reduce the effects. In tests conducted on fabric softeners for softness and absorbency, the softer your clothes, the less water they could absorb.
Because of the lasting effects of fabric softeners, there are certain types of clothing or fabrics that fabric softeners should not be applied at all. These include microfibers, sportswear, towels, flame-resistant clothing, and water-repellent fabric. Plus, most fabric softeners have a warning label that instructs the user to not use them on children’s sleepwear, which is usually made of flame-resistant fabrics.
As far as possible allergies are concerned, fabric softener could be a cause of body acne. It is the softening agent that will clog the pores of your skin. Most laundry detergents manufactured currently already contain fabric softener, so adding additional amounts could irritate the skin.
When it comes to that sweet-smelling fragrance, fabric softeners may contain phthalates, which gives off the fragrance scent. There are also synthetic musks. One such musk is galaxolide, which can accumulate in the body. These fragrance compounds may cause allergies and skin irritations such as dermatitis. Their use has also been linked to breathing difficulties, and potential reproductive harm.
Check the label of your fabric softener for these compounds, which are to be avoided: methylisothiazolinone, glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), quaternary ammonium compounds, distearyldimonium chloride, diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride, variants of hydroxyethyl methyl ammonium methyl sulfate, and any “biodegradable softening agents” or “cationic surfactant”.
Since I have stopped using fabric softener, my skin is much better. And, to be honest, I don’t notice any difference in the softness of my clothes.