Years ago, I realized I was allergic to fabric softeners. All of them. The chemicals in the softener that do what they are supposed to react badly to my skin. In reaction to this, I started making my own DIY Homemade Fabric Softener.
Little is really known about what chemicals in fabric softener cause skin allergies. Most of the labels just say “Softening Agents” and leave it pretty vague.
How I Know I’m Allergic
All I know is that I tend to develop a rash, ranging from small, heat bumps to larger reactions that look a lot like poison ivy. They all are irritating, but the last horrible reaction looked like poison ivy mutated. I thought I was going to literally rip my skin off from scratching constantly. Not to be disturbing, but fabric softener is used on even your unmentionables, so I had this horrible rash in places we don’t even want to think about!
This last horrible reaction was the result of that lovely bar that you stick in your dryer and just, “Forget About” according to the ads.
With a rash like that, there was no chance I was forgetting where it was!
What Is In Fabric Softener? Really?
According to the health and wellness website Sixwise.com, some of the most harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener alike include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others.
I honestly have no idea what any of the above means, but I don’t like to use it if I can’t pronounce it. Especially on something that touches every inch of my skin every day.
The Environmental Working Group has a guide for more information on all of the cleaning products in your home. Just in case you would like to do your own research. I check this site a lot of times when new, supposedly hypo-allergenic products are released. So far, I have yet to find one that I deem safe enough to risk another allergic reaction.
I’ll Stick With My DIY Homemade Fabric Softener
2 Tbsp. baking soda
1 cup hot water
3 cups apple cider vinegar
20 drops of your favorite essential oil (or a mixture equaling 20 drops)
In a large plastic container, place the hot water. Add the apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Wait for the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar to subside. Transfer the mixture to an empty spray bottle or another glass container. (I use a mason jar.) Store in a cool, dark place.
Add the fabric softener to your washing machine as you would store-bought fabric softener.
Chemical Free Softness and Scent
I personally love the scent of lavender and lemon but feel free to use whatever you love. I know I’ve made some for friends who love the Pottery Barn scent using vanilla, lemon, and rosemary.
Also, make sure you are using real essential oils, not the ones they sell to scent the air. Those lovely things (typically at the big blue box store) may smell lovely, but they are created using chemicals also. Be aware of the products you bring into your home. Not only can they aggravate your skin, but they can be super dangerous in you have anyone with asthma or other breating issues nearby.
Try It? Like It?
Make sure you stop back and let me know what you think of your laundry after using this. I’d love to hear how it works out for you and your family. I’d also love to hear what scent combinations you find that you and your family love!