Fabric Softener Alternatives
When you mention Fabric Softener, people either love or hate it. And even though you may not want to hear it...unfortunately, traditional Fabric Softeners are full of scary toxic noxious chemicals combined with a massive amount of fragrance that masks the toxic odours. Those chemicals are released into the air we breathe and cling to the clothes we wear that sit on our skin. But...You can make a simple switch from your Supermarket brand to an eco friendly alternative.
What is Fabric Softener?
Fabric softeners are chemical concoctions that, when added to your laundry, coat your fabrics with a lubricating film, which causes the fabric fibres to stand more upright, making your clothes feel softer and fluffier, and reducing static cling.
Do I need a Fabric Softener?
Fabric softeners are unnecessary, but lots of people love the way it makes fabric feel...and that's ok. No judgement here!
What are the downsides of Fabric Softener?
- Fabric softeners reduce the fire retardancy of clothing (look at the label and you'll see a warning not to use them on children's sleepwear for this reason, despite smiling babies featuring prominently on packaging).
- As fabric softeners leave a film on your clothes… that film, ends up in the lint filter as an invisible film, increasing the chance of your dryer catching fire.
- They reduce moisture absorbency (bad news for your towels and microfibre cloths).
- Because they're not detergents, fabric softeners don't make your clothes cleaner – and in a literal sense, they actually make them dirty again since they leave them coated in chemicals.
- Cause residue build-up: Fabric softeners aren't great for your washing machine and are big contributors to a gunky build-up known as 'scrud', which can can also be redeposited onto your clothes. If you wash in cold water you'll need to run occasional hot cycles to keep scrud at bay. This is good practice anyway, but if you're a fabric softener devotee you'll need to do it more often than if you use detergent alone.
What eco friendly Fabric Softeners are available?
Neatspiration sells a range of eco friendly Fabric Softeners and they are all either made in Australian or New Zealand! The main difference between them, and supermarket brands is that they are:
- Plant based
- Natural Fragrance
- No Nasty Chemicals
- Vegan Friendly
- Sulphate Free
- Phosphate Free
- Greywater Safe
Can you soften your fabrics without any Fabric Softener?
Yes! Here is a list of natural alternatives:
- Lower the spin speed of your washing machine – very high spin speeds (up to 1600 rpm in some machines) can flatten the pile of your towels – selecting a lower spin speed helps reduce or avoid this effect.
- Snap your towels back to fluffiness: once your towels come out of the wash, try giving them a flick to get them straightened out before hanging them to dry.
- Put them in the clothes dryer for 10 minutes. Warm air (or even cool air) will get them soft again.
- Use wool dryer balls: Not only does it help clothes dry faster and keep them soft, but using wool dryer balls also SAVES you money on your electrical bill, SAVES the landfill from plastic packaging, and SAVES your skin from absorbing chemicals from conventional laundry product.
- Just add ½ cup of white vinegar to your fabric softener dispenser. While it may not give you the level of softness you'd expect from its commercial counterpart, vinegar is significantly cheaper and has other advantages – unlike commercial softeners, no trace of vinegar remains on your clothes at the end of the wash, so it won't cause skin irritation (your clothes won't smell of vinegar either), and it won't affect the moisture absorbency of your towels. Plus, vinegar helps clean away scrud and other deposits inside your washing machine, unlike commercial softeners which will make the problem worse.