Fabric softener is the leading cause of indoor air pollution. Make your own with this DIY recipe

Fabric softener is the leading cause of indoor air pollution. Make your own with this DIY recipe

Fabric softener, which is inevitable part of every household, is typically associated with sweetness, freshness, and comfort.  However, most fabric softeners have darker side, containing a list of toxins which can enter the body through inhalation or topically. When they do so, they cause a wide plethora of health problems, especially for young children.

Here are some of the detrimental ingredients commonly found in sheet and liquid fabric softeners:

1. Chloroform

Chloroform has been widely used in the early 1800s as an anesthesia. However, in the 1900s the researchers discovered that it is capable of causing fatal cardiac arrhythmia. Being a well-known carcinogenic neurotoxin, chloroform is on the EPA`s Hazardous Waste list. Inhaling it might lead to nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, or loss of consciousness. Even worse, it is likely to worsen disorders of the heart, liver, or kidneys.

2. A-Terpineol

This substance causes central nervous system disorders, which means that it leads to problem associated the brain and spine, including dementia, ADD, Alzheimer`s, Parkinson`s ,  multiple sclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome, strokes, and seizures. Early symptoms of central nervous system disorders include hunger, blurred vision, memory loss, numbness in the face, pain in neck and spine, aphasia, headaches, and disorientation.  If it reaches the lungs, it might cause pneumonia, fatal edema, or respiratory depression.

3. Benzyl Alcohol

As a well-known upper respiratory tract irritant, it causes central nervous system disorders, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and even dramatic drops in blood pressure levels.

4. Benzyl Acetate

This substance has been associated with pancreatic cancer. Inhaling its vapors can be irritating to both the respiratory passages and the eyes. In addition, it can be absorbed through the skin as well, causing even greater damage.

5. Ethanol

Ethanol is also on the EPA`s Hazardous Waste list and is associated with central nervous system disorders.

6. Pentane

A chemical known to be extremely detrimental if inhaled.

7. Ethyl Acetate

Yet another substance that is one the EPA`s Hazardous Waste list. It can be irritating to both the respiratory tract and the eyes, and is associated with loss of consciousness, severe headaches, and damage to the kidneys and liver.

8. Camphor

Another substance on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. It is extremely easily absorbed topically, casing irritation to the throat, nose, and the eyes. It may also cause twitching muscles, dizziness, confusion, convulsions, and nausea.

9. Linalool

Linalool is a well-known narcotic associated with CNS disorders and respiratory problems. Animal testing has shown that exposure to linalool can end up fatally.

10. Phthalates

Used in scented problems to extend the duration of their scent, phthalates have been associated with reproductive system problems and breast cancer.

11. Limonene

This well-known carcinogen can cause irritation to both eyes and skin.

The good news is that making your own fabric softener is a good way to avoid these chemicals and protect yourself.  It is super-easy and cost effective as well! For instance, vinegar is both nontoxic and cheap. It works great when it comes to removing soap residue and helping with static reduction during drying. It contains potassium and sodium, which are effective in softening hard water. When combined with a few other beneficial ingredients, it works as ideal substitute for store-bought and chemical-dense fabric softeners.

Natural  Homemade Fabric Softener


  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 30 drops of essential oil of choice


Mix the two ingredients together and pour into a storage container. Simple as that!


Dilute the solution with water prior using it in your laundry. For regular sizes loads, mix ¼ cup with ¾ cups of water. Pour your all-natural fabric softener into the washer as you would normally do with a store-bought one.

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