A Guide to Fabric Softener Alternatives

Many of us use fabric softeners in washing to ensure that our clothing remains soft, lasts long, and smells great. Though, while on the front, you will consider fabric softener an excellent aspect for your washing, do you know, in reality, the truth is entirely different? Traditional store-bought fabric softeners used in our laundry for decades are hurting our health and the planet.

Here are some simple natural fabric softener alternatives that will help soften your clothes and remove static.

fabric softener alternatives

Why Should You Use a Natural Fabric Softener Alternative?

Those using a synthetic fabric softener for so long probably would question why you should ditch it out of nowhere. Well, chemicals in your fabric softener are one of the most toxic out of all those present in your house right now.

They are terrible for the environment and can impact the quality of your clothing.

Toxic Chemicals in Fabric Softener

The test conducted by the Environmental Working Group found that over 70% of the fabric softeners in the market have a D or F rating. This meant that all softeners tested had chemicals that were concerning to use in them. Some of these chemicals include:

  • Quaternary Ammonium Compound (Quacs) – is known to trigger asthma and increase the risk of antibiotic resistance. Moreover, it is found to be extremely toxic to aquatic life and other organisms.
  • Fragrances – fragrances are allergens and contain hundreds of chemicals like phthalates, which cause a lot of chronic conditions, and synthetic musks, which are highly toxic to life.
  • Preservatives and Colors—Many preservatives and colors are potent skin allergens, causing asthma and many skin allergies. They are also harmful to marine life.
clothing in dryer

Traditional Softeners Weaken Clothing Over Time

While we believe fabric softeners will keep our laundry soft for a long time, this is not the case. Similar to many chemical-based products, fabric softeners only provide a short-term gain. Various fabric softeners can build up in clothing fibers over time, reducing the clothes’ absorbency, air permeability, and moisture-wicking ability.

Environmental Impact in Our Laundry

Synthetic Fabric Softeners are also harmful to the environment. They contain harmful chemicals that pose risks to human health and the environment. Hence, switching to an eco-friendlier fabric softener (read: natural alternatives) is a smart decision.

epsom salt for laundry

What Can You Use to Replace Fabric Softener?

Now that you understand why using a synthetic fabric softener is not recommended, here are some amazing fabric softener alternatives.

White Vinegar – White vinegar is one of the best things for your laundry. The acetic acid in the vinegar helps remove the detergent residues, making the cloth feel much softer. If you have sensitive skin, this particular natural fabric softener alternative is one of the best options for you. It’s quick, easy, and safe.

Epsom Salt – We all have heard that Epsom salt is incredible for loosening up stiff muscles, but do you know it works wonders on loosening stiff clothes, too? Yes! Epsom Salt tends to soften the machine’s water, which ultimately helps soften your clothes. Not only is it gentle for clothes, but it is also highly color safe as well.

Wool Balls – Wool balls help the clothes dry better as they give it room to tumble around in the machine. When you add a few wool dryer balls to your dryer, they help keep the clothes separate when they twirl around. This not only softens the clothes but also reduces the drying time, which is good for the environment and your energy bill.

baking soda

Baking Soda – Many use baking soda as an add-on to their detergents because of its fantastic cleaning powers. However, do you know it works as great as a fabric softener? Adding baking soda before your rinse cycle is another simple hack to soften clothes.

Ice Cubes – While this may sound absurd to some, ice cubes also work as a fabric softener! Putting a few ice cubes into your dryer is a straightforward approach to softening your clothes. The ice provides enough moisture to help remove the wrinkles and ease clothes during the dryer stage.

Is it Necessary to Use Fabric Softener?

While not necessary and a completely optional approach, we still cannot deny that fabric softeners help with laundry smells and keep your clothing clean and soft for a long time.

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