• “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the house of the wise.” – Proverbs 21:20

Is Your Laundry Routine Hazardous to YOUR Health

When you think of pollution, you probably think of outdoor pollution, right? You know, the kind that is a by-product of vehicle emissions or industrial manufacturing. The kind that produces a heavy layer of smog in cities that fills the air with toxic fumes and chemicals.

When I think of pollution one particular day comes to mind. Back in the 1970’s I went to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and remember a smog alert being in effect that day. There was a dirty layer of smog hanging in the air. It hung there all day and into the night which turned the brightly lit nighttime sky orange. I kept thinking to myself how much smog there must be in the air for it to do that. It was not a pretty sight. Fortunately, since then the Federal government, along with state and local communities have put laws and policies in place to greatly reduce the amount of smog producing chemicals being released into the air.

You may be surprised to learn that many experts agree that indoor pollution is a much greater hazard than outdoor pollution. Hard to believe at first glance until you start looking at the facts. Most people spend between 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors in tightly sealed houses or buildings. where access to fresh air is greatly diminished. After all we eat, drink, sleep, work, and study indoors! Unfortunately our indoor spaces are filled with products and materials that are releasing volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)— from common everyday products and materials. Potential sources of off-gassing range from construction materials to carpeting, cabinetry, furniture, paint, cleaning products, any number of household goods, and some of the worst offenders- scented candles and air fresheners (both plug-in and spray cans)… all of which can be harmful to our health.

Did you know that laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products in your home. They are loaded with synthetic fragrances and emit toxic chemicals into the air. Fabric softeners were originally designed to help reduce static cling in synthetic fabrics but are not necessary with natural fabrics. Store bought laundry detergents and dryer sheets contain alpha-terpineol, benzyl alcohol, and camphor, which are all toxic ingredients that cause central nervous system disorders, loss of muscular coordination, central nervous system depression, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Manufacturers are not required by law to reveal what chemicals they use to produce their “fragrance”… they are considered “trade secrets”, so you have no way of knowing for sure what they contain thus keeping you in the dark about te true level of toxicity of their product.

I have to admit, before learning about the dangers of synthetic chemicals, there were few things I found as irresistible than pulling a load of warm laundry from the dryer and smothering my face in it. Admit it, you’ve probably done the same thing, right? That practice came to an abrupt halt once I realized the scent, that I once thought was so amazing, was actually a toxic soup of chemicals and that I was exposing myself to some serious health risks by doing that.

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners can cause hormone imbalance, neurotoxicity, respiratory problems, and contain known carcinogens that can cause liver damage and cancer in mammals. Most fabric softeners have fragrance added to them in order to cover up the chemical odor. Dryer sheets, when heated, emit toxic chemical vapors that are released into the air and coat your clothing. And, thanks to our olfactory system, when you inhale these toxic chemicals they get transported to your brains most sensitive neurological centers where they can wreck havoc. These toxic fragrances can remain on fabrics for extended periods of time and leave a chemical residue which never completely washes out. They permeate your bedding and clothing which can then be transferred and absorbed by your skin, over and over again.

One study, INDOOR AIR QUALITY: Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOCs, published by Environmental Health Perspectives states…

“A survey of selected scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. 1 Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.

Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues used gas chromatography–mass spectrometry to analyze VOCs given off by the products. They tested 25 air fresheners, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, disinfectants, dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorants, and shampoos. Many of the products tested are top sellers in their category.”

The following is a list of some of the chemicals found in fabric softener products taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the 1990s, many of which in untested combinations. Liquid fabric softeners additionally may contain formaldehyde.

  • Benzyl acetate: Has been linked to pancreatic cancer. Its vapors can be irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, resulting in coughing. It can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: An upper respiratory tract irritant that can cause central nervous system (CNS) disorders, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and dramatic drops in blood pressure.
  • Ethanol: Ethanol is actually on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and has been linked to central nervous system disorders.
  • Alpha-Terpineoll: This chemical can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and has been linked to central nervous system damage resulting in disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression, and headaches.
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list that causes headaches. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract, it may cause headache and narcosis, anemia with leukocytosis and damage to the liver and kidneys.
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders and is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Easily absorbed through body tissues, causing irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Can also cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions.
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic. Very toxic to your brain. Inhaling its vapors may cause loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, vomiting, and/or dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness. Aggravates disorders of the kidney, liver, heart and skin disorders. Especially a problem when subjected to heat.
  • Linalool: In studies, Linalool has been shown to causes central nervous system (CNS) disorders and respiratory disturbances, which, in animal testing, have led to death. Can cause loss of muscle coordination, nervous system and brain disorders, and depression.
  • Pentane: A chemical, when inhaled, is known to be harmful and can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and depression
  • Phthalates: Commonly used in scented products to help the scent last longer. Have been linked to breast cancer, allergies, and reproductive system problems

More Reasons to Avoid Them

I’m sure you’ll agree that you really don’t need any more reasons than the ones listed above but there are actually even more reasons to avoid them. I was surprised by a couple of these and had never heard of them before, like…

  • The chemical residue left behind from dryer sheets can clog the dryer vent. Some manufacturers have place a warning in their USER MANUAL to avoid using them and state that use of chemical-based dryer sheets will void the warranty.
  • The residue that’s left behind from dryer sheets on your bath towels makes them less absorbent
  • The elderly, young children and babies and those who are already ill are at increased risk from these chemicals. Damage can be permanent, causing lifelong illness.
  • Its not uncommon for babies to react with rashes, frequent crying and/or diarrhea when exposed to these products. Some researchers have proposed a possible link between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and baby clothes and bedding washed with these products, calling for the need for research into a possible connection. Some have stated that in some cases of SIDS, an anaphylactic reaction is responsible, and therefore fabric softeners, with their many chemical components, should be looked at as a possible cause.

Pretty scary stuff, right? As you can see from the information provided above, for many reasons, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are one type of product to avoid. Over time, these toxic chemicals build up in our bodies, and can cause a whole host of health problems. You have to ask yourself, are the health risks from being exposed to the chemicals in manufactured dryer sheets and fabric softeners really worth the risk? I don’t think so, and I don’t believe that you will either. Fortunately there are easy, safe alternatives available. It’s time to take control of your household environment and be the gatekeeper of what passes over the threshold of your home.


There are a couple of safe, alternatives to toxic dryer sheets and fabric softeners that I’ve tried and come to love, and will save you $$$ while also ridding your home of some of THE most toxic chemicals found there. They are effective at reducing static cling and wrinkles, and also help soften the water and your clothes.

Rock Salts Fabric Softener

This batch of Rock Salts Fabric Softener, made with one bag of Ice Cream Rock Salts that cost approximately $2.50, will leave your clothes soft and clean and will last a long time, through many loads of laundry.

•1 small bag (appx. 6-7 cups) of Ice Cream Rock Salts, or Kosher salt (I prefer rock salts though)
•30 drops YLEO Purification essential oil blend (helps to remove stinky odors)
•20 drops YLEO Lemongrass essential oil (helps to remove fabric stains)

Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight glass container. Add 1-2 tsp to wash cycle depending on size of load. Adding to the wash cycle, instead of the rinse cycle, gives the rock salt more time to dissolve and soften the water. DO NOT use Epsom salts. They are not the same and Epsom salts will actually harden your water, not soften it.

DIY Liquid Fabric Softener

Additionally, I also like to place a small amount of this premixed liquid fabric softener into a Downy Ball -Fabric Softener Dispenser.

•32 oz glass bottle of white vinegar
•1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
•20-40 drops Essential Oils

WARNING- Be sure not to mix vinegar (or baking soda) with bleach, mixing either with bleach could result in a chemical reaction causing noxious fumes.

1. Add vegetable glycerin and your choice of essential oils to bottle of vinegar.
2. Shake well to combine.
3. Add 1/4 cup to your washer’s fabric softener dispenser, or to Downy Ball- Fabric Softener Dispenser

Just toss the ball into the washer along with the clothes and turn on the machine. The vinegar mixture is automatically released during the final rinse cycle and gives a little more softening boost during the wash cycle and helps reduce static cling. I love adding Young Living’s Purification blend as it helps get rid of stinky smells. Lemongrass essential oil is another favorite, as it helps get rid of stains. Don’t worry, this small amount of vinegar will not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar and will get washed away… providing of course you don’t fill the ball with vinegar. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.

Scent Your Laundry With Essential Oils and Wool Dryer Balls

If you want to scent your laundry place a few drops of your favorite Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oil onto wool dryer balls or onto a small piece of 100% cotton or flannel fabric, before tossing into the dryer during the last 15 minutes of cycle. Some of my favorites essential oils to use are Lemon, Lavender and a favorite blend called “Joy”. Have fun and experiment with some of your favorite smelling essential oils and blends. Your laundry will smell amazing and allow you to once again pull a load of warm laundry from the dryer and smother your face in it… but this time with the confidence and knowledge that it’s not going to harm you to do so.

Become the Gatekeeper of Your Home

Our nation and the entire western world has never been sicker than we are now. I’ll bet you know multiple people who are chronically sick. The toxic world we are surrounded by is poisoning us and we need to break free of the chemically-laden world we live in. We can’t control everything but we certainly can take steps to protect our families and our health by becoming the guardians of our homes and begin by kicking the toxic chemicals out of them. We need to be the Gatekeeper of our home. We need to decide that our lifestyle choices DO matter and that we are responsible for what crosses over the threshold of our homes. Chances are you are being slowly poisoned by your everyday use of laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, shampoo, deodorant, bath gels and soaps, household cleaners, hand sanitizers, supplements, makeup, toothpaste, and the list goes on, and on. Fortunately there are healthier options available and Young Living has an entire product line- the THIEVES product line, infused with our genuine, pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils to help make the process easier.

I would encourage you to start paying attention to labels and you’ll soon discover that many, if not most, of the household products — from your shampoo, lipstick and deodorant to paint to laundry detergent– contain potentially toxic chemicals. If you own a smartphone, that process can be made easier by simply downloading this Think Dirty app to your smartphone. Start using it to learn more about the products you already have in your home, and then begin to start making healthy choices. Use the app when shopping at the grocery store to help you make smarter, healthier choices. Begin to kick the toxic chemicals to the curb and out of your life. And remember, Young Living is about living a healthy lifestyle and carries all kinds of products for your home, health and lifestyle. Come… join us in the journey and embrace the lifestyle!


dangers of dryer sheets fabric softeners, synthetic fragrances, synthetic chemicals, chemical soup, toxins in the home, toxic chemicals,
non-toxic fabric softener recipe, Gatekeeper of Your Home

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