Dryer sheets are one product I am so happy to have replaced in my household. I used to use them because I hated pulling static filled clothes out of the dryer, but as I read more about the dangers of dryer sheets, I began to realize it just wasn’t worth the risk.
Sure, dryer sheets & liquid fabric softeners eliminate static & make our clothes smell like “spring breezes” and “ocean winds” – and as I’ve said before, we looooove the smells often associated with clean, don’t we? The bad news is that dryer sheets are loaded with synthetic chemicals that are absorbed by our clothing as they tumble around the hot dryer, which means next time you put on your favorite sweater, those chemicals are making their way into your skin as you sweat and move around throughout the day.
Look at this list of dryer sheets on the Environmental Working Group website. The majority of products are rated “D” and “F” – that’s a pretty extreme universal rating for one type of product – and the fabric softening and fragrance ingredients are known to cause asthma/respiratory systems and skin allergies. I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing I want coating my bedsheets and children’s clothing! And if you don’t want to click the above link, here a few of the chemicals found in many commercial dryer sheets, and side effects they are linked to:
- Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
- Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
- Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
- Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant,
Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
- A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
- Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
- Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
- Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
- Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
- Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
A conversation with my sister completely clinched my decision NEVER to use dryer sheets again. The area she lives in was beginning a recycling program, and she wanted to know if her used dryer sheets could go in the paper recycling, or if they had to go in the garbage. The answer she received was disturbing:
If the dryer sheet has been used, you can put it in with the paper recycling, or throw it in the garbage. However, if you haven’t used the dryer sheet, and you want to get rid of it, you’ll need to take it to the toxic round-up station.
Let’s break down what she was told:
The dryer sheets are pieces of paper, coated with toxins that are harmful enough that they are classified with the likes of paints, cleaners, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, stains and varnishes, which should NOT be thrown into the garbage because, ‘once exposed to the environment, these substances may threaten living organisms‘. BUT… once you use the dryer sheet – after you’ve put it in a warm dryer, with your families clothes – and the toxic chemicals have transferred from the dryer sheet to your clothes, then it’s fine for you to throw it in the garbage or recycle it.
I know I’m not the only one who sees a HUGE problem with this scenario.
Was I really so bothered by a little static that I would intentionally coat my families clothes with toxic chemicals that would be absorbed into our skin?
Not only are dryer sheets one of the most toxic products in the home, but they are also expensive. You can spend $7-10 for a box of 100 sheets that will last a couple months, or spend under $20 on a set of 2 Norwex dryer balls that will last as long as 5 years.
Norwex dryer balls, thrown in to your dryer with your clothes prevent static cling and wrinkles while your clothes are drying, and can be reused hundreds, if not thousands of times before they need to be replaced. Even better? There are no toxic fragrances or additives to coat your clothing, towels, and bed sheets.
Have you tried Norwex dryer balls yet? What did you think?