Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dryer Sheets

I know I've blogged about this before, but until there are no more of these evil things in use, I will just keep harping on it. Dryer sheets (you all know what I'm talking about) may contain any or all of the following: alpha-terpineol, linalol benzyl acetate, camphor, benzyl alcohol, limonene, ethyl acetate, pentane and chloroform. These chemicals are approved for this use by the FDA because you wear but don't eat them. However, you do absorb them through your skin and breathe them into your respiratory tract. If you go looking, you will find ample warnings about human exposure to these chemicals. Yet, these seemingly innocent little dryer sheets are used by even the most intelligent of people, because they either don't understand or don't believe the dangers, and they don't know that there are some very good alternatives for preventing wrinkles and static cling in your laundry.

Personally, I use the dryer balls which you can now buy at almost any grocery store or at Bed, Bath and Beyond. But if they just don't work for you, or your dog thinks they're chew toys, here are some other alternatives:

Wash and dry synthetic clothes separately from your other laundry, and/or remove them from the dryer before they are completely dry and hang them up.

If you forget to take your clothes out out before they are really dry, try running the garment over the edge of a metal hanger. (I haven't actually tried this one, but I'm told it works.)

Add half a cup of clear vinegar to your wash water.

If it's the smell you can't live without, go for the real thing. Put a little essential oil on a rag or put herbs or flowers into a drawstring tea bag and throw into the drier with your clothes.

There is a new product, which I haven't tried, that is a piece of fabric which naturally prevents static in your dryer--available at natural food stores.

If protecting yourself and your own family aren't good enough reasons to stop using dryer sheets, do it for me, and people like me, who can't walk outside in our own neighborhoods because we become deathly ill from our neighbor's dryer exhaust. We're the canaries in the coal mine in which we all live.

[Much of the information for this post came from Jeanne McCartin's article, "The Dangers of Dryer Sheets" at, April 30, 2009.]

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I had completely forgotten these things exist. But, then we know how much I worry about wrinkles!