Top Ten Tips Why You Should Ditch Those Dryer Sheetstweet
We are all learning to pay more attention about what certain actions (we take) might be doing to our health and to our environment. One such action is the use of dryers for our laundry and I would be the first to admit that they are so useful to ensure sweet smelling dry laundry during rainy cold weather.
But they come at a price – in terms of their cost, how they affect our health and their effect on the environment.
And one of the worst “side effects” of dryers are those dryer sheets
Dryer sheets are designed to stay on clothing for a long period of time and slowly release their chemicals throughout the day and night, which leads to prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals.
Today, many people think that hanging clothes out to dry in the sun is old-fashioned and inconvenient but feeling your clothes are cleaner when using chemically-fragranced dryer sheets is an advertiser’s myth. The sun’s rays act as totally natural and efficient disinfectants – killing germs, bacteria and dust mites that might have survived the washing process.
Using a dryer may be faster and more convenient, but if you’re using toxic dryer sheets, you are going to pay with your health.
Here are 10 reasons why they are really not a good idea
1. Dryer sheets are toxic for many people with most commercial brands being impregnated with harmful chemicals including benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, chloroform and linalool. These are bad for you, your family and the environment. Apart from some of these compounds being known carcinogens, they can also trigger asthma attacks. If you’re breathing in chemicals AND having them rub against your skin all day and every day, as well as all night from your bed linen, think about how much your skin and your system is absorbing. In fact at night, these toxins go straight to the brain’s most sensitive neurological centers and wreck havoc.
2. As well as the dryer sheets themselves being toxic, so are the synthetic fragrances in them. To hide the chemical smell in the dryer sheets, manufacturers load them full of chemical fragrances, which are also potentially carcinogenic.
3. Dryer sheets also make fabrics less absorbent and should not be used with towels and sheets as they coat the fabric. If you think your towels are not drying very well, wash them a few times in hot water (and no dryer sheets) and you will see the difference.
4. Dryer sheets are bad news for your dryer too. The waxy component in the dryer sheets is there to make the laundry soft and static free but it builds up on your clothes and on the lint screen of the dryer, preventing the dryer from functioning effectively and even burning out the heating unit in time or causing the dryer unit to catch fire – putting your home at risk from fire as well. You cannot SEE the film, but it’s there.
So what can you do?
5. To prevent waxy build up and the risk of fire, the filter and door screen should be taken out of the dryer regularly and washed with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush before checking that these are free of any build up. You can test them by running water on them and if the water mostly collects in the mesh screen, you know you have a problem. It should run right through the filter/screen.
6. At the same time, pull the dryer out away from the wall and clean out the vent tube while being careful not to kink the tube when you push the dryer back again. Any lint build up in the vent tube can also be a fire hazard.
7. The oils used in dryer sheets can also lead to build up in other parts of the dryer. One example is the motor fan where any such coating will need to be scraped off. You may need to unscrew the front panel of your dryer to check this.
8. Instead of dryer sheets, you can use inexpensive white vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washer to prevent static cling or add a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle as a natural fabric softener.
9. Invest in a good pair of dryer balls to reduce your static electricity and decrease your drying time. One suggestion is those made by Norwex or you can buy less expensive versions at Target. Just be careful not to over dry your clothes. Besides being wasteful of energy, this can lead to static. Even tennis balls can stand in for dryer balls or you can make 3 to 4 foil balls which should be about the size of a baseball and compacted as densely as possible.
9. A final tip for the laundry is to soak an old hand towel in a natural fabric softener before wringing it out and let it dry completely. Add to your next load and it will be good for at least 40 loads of laundry. A very economical way to go.
Dryer sheets could be causing these unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms
Apart from the possibility of cancer, some of the symptoms experienced from prolonged exposure to the chemicals in dryer sheets include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system disorders, blood pressure reduction, fatigue, difficulty in breathing, skin irritation, difficulty concentrating and remembering, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract, and liver damage.
And the use of dryer sheets can even destroy your natural sense of smell. Do you want to get to the stage where you can no longer enjoy the scent of all those fresh, natural and good things in life?