Real Talk on Dryer Sheets

By Amy Ford

Let's talk dryer sheets. Those lovely little bits of cloth that eliminate static cling and make your clothes smell like a field of flowers or a mountain breeze; they may look perfectly harmless but, did you know companies making commercial cleaning products only have to list active ingredients. Active ingredients are ingredients that make up the bulk of the formula or ones that “fix” the problem. Companies are not required to list inactive ingredients; the rest of the ingredients that make up the smell, the color, the thickness, the bubbles, the shelf life, etc. It’s crazy, but it’s true.  Go look at your box of dryer sheets. There may not be a single listed ingredient. If there are any listed, you may find it is only one or two. That’s how “they” get you! One or two plays on our subconscious making us believe, how bad can it be!?

 Here’s the scoop on what’s really in those sheets:

Let's start with the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List: Chloroform and Ethyl Acetate. Both can be found in commercial dryer sheets, but may not be listed as ingredients. When something is listed as Hazardous Waste and there are extreme precautions in how to dispose of them; that should be an immediate red flag that should make you question everything that is clinging to that little white sheet before throwing it in your dryer.

Let's continue: Alpha-Terpineol, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Linalool, and Pentane are known to cause severe damage to the central nervous system. They can also cause a loss of muscle coordination, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, as well as, trigger chronic headaches, migraines, confusion and disorientation and wreac havoc on our respiratory system. Have you noticed the rise in allergies and asthma in our youth?

 Then there are the ingredients such as: Benzyl Acetate, which is linked to pancreatic cancer, Dichlorobenzene, which is an extreme carcinogenic solvent used to make paint thinners, and Limonene, a known carcinogen to irritate eyes and skin.

 The combination of chemicals above, doesn’t even include the list of fragrance chemicals that make up the overpowering smell of dryer sheets. The fragrance chemicals are designed to cling to clothes and have a lasting effect until the next wash. The fragrance dulls the sense of smell which begins the cycle of adding more sheets because you become addicted to wanting to smell the fragrance on your clothes and linens.

 It is easy to forget that we don’t have to orally ingest something in order for it to affect our health. Everything we smell, we breathe in. Everything we wear, clings to our skin.  And those soft, static free clothes, well, they cover 90% or more of our bodies. Our skin being our biggest organ, means that you are absorbing those toxic chemicals right into your bloodstream every day when you get dressed or lay your head to rest on your bed sheets.

Also, important to note is the fact that dryer sheets do not do any service to our environment and can greatly affect efficiency of your dryer. The residue from the dryer sheets mixes with the lint and clogs the lint trap. Even when you clean the lint trap out after every cycle, the residue is left behind. Overtime, heat can’t properly circulate, you find your dry cycle is lasting longer while your clothes are still damp, and eventually your dryer burns out. It’s true! If you are an avid dryer sheet user and find your dryer isn’t working as well, pull your lint trap out and run it under the faucet. Chances are, the water won’t properly flow through it.

So, what are the alternatives? At Rae Marie, we don’t hide our ingredients. We believe in quality, we believe in safety, we believe in our environment, and we believe in health. Remember, we use these products too! Our nontoxic dryer sheet alternative are our handmade, 100% natural wool, dryer balls. They are reusable, help to reduce static cling, and will gently scent your laundry if you add one to two drops of your favorite essential oils. When used with our Rae Marie Laundry Soap, you can trust your laundry will be fresh & clean, and your family's health, protected!

 We do what we do because we care!