Posts tagged ‘fabric softener’

March 11, 2014

Renegotiating Environmindful Monday and Tip #14: Why You Don’t Want To Use Fabric Softener

You may have wondered what happened to Environmindful Mondays.  Well, quite honestly, I did too. After doing a little reflecting I realized that the reason I haven’t been posting isn’t because I ran out of environmental posts but instead because I realized that with some of the posts and things I’ve been doing in my home, I realized I was missing pieces of the puzzle to be able to fully explain why some of these topics are important, which I think is crucial to making change.

If we make a change in our lives just because someone told us we should but we don’t understand why we are doing it, chances are it won’t last.  On the other hand, if we understand a situation/problem and understand how we fit into or contribute to that situation/problem, then it makes it easier to understand why we should change and what the impact is if we choose not to.

For example, let’s say a friend says, “You should really stop using fabric softener.”  You ask why and the response is, “Because I heard it’s bad.”  At first you think, “Oh, geeze. Okay, my friend says fabric softener is bad. I’d better stop using it.”  So you do.  Time goes by and you forget the conversation with your friend.  You forget the details (because there weren’t any).  Over time you start to miss the scent of freshly washed clothes and start getting annoyed with static.  Or, maybe your spouse asks, “What’s so bad about it?”  You can’t remember.  You can’t justify your decision, so chances are you’re going to buy fabric softener and start using it again.

Environmindful Monday Tip #14: Why You Don’t Want to Use Fabric Softener

On the other hand if your friend says, “You might want to reconsider using fabric softener.”  You ask why and the response is, “There are a lot of dangerous, and even, toxic chemicals in them.  Some cause asthma, some are hormone disruptors (meaning they can cause birth defects) to both people and wildlife, and the scents you smell are typically carcinogens, which are toxic chemicals linked to cancer.  This stuff isn’t just bad for the people who use it either.  All of these toxins are in our air from our dryer vents and they are even finding it in our ground water and drinking water from using liquid fabric softeners in our washers.”  You try to justify your fabric softener addiction for a minute and say, “But I hate static.”  Your friend says, “Oh, then you’re just over-drying your clothes.  Don’t dry them so long.  You won’t have static.”  If you’re like me, when I first heard all the information on fabric softener I had to hold onto my stomach.  At the time, my son was about 3 years old.  When I realized I was putting all of these chemicals directly on his skin via his clothes, into the air and into our water I felt sick.  But you know what?  It made an impact.  I stopped using fabric softener immediately.  I also haven’t forgotten the dangers these chemicals pose to myself, my family, our air, our water and the rest of the environment.  And I definitely have not had any sort of urge to use fabric softener, in any form, in my home since.

I still want to honor the commitment I made to Norwex and the Norwex R.A.C.E., myself and you, as my readers to continue to share environmental posts, but I am renegotiating with myself (and you), to make sure I honor that commitment in the best way possible, therefore, you will continue to see Environmindful Monday posts, maybe not every Monday, but on Mondays that I believe I have content that is worth sharing and that I am clear on why these topics are important and why we should all be committed to making a change.

Oh, and yes. I’m aware that this Environmindful Monday post is coming to you on Tuesday.  I’m working on that too. 😉

May you have a clean and healthy day filled with fresh scents of a real spring breeze.


October 10, 2012

Are your cleaning products killing you? Keep it clean… safely.

We’ve chatted about choosing the safest food in Are you having pesticide for dinner?.  We’ve chatted about choosing the safest health and beauty products in Would You Put That Toothpaste On Your Lungs?.  And now the time has come to have a little chat about our household cleaning products.

Many of us grew up cleaning with products like bleach and ammonia, and we thought toxic fumes were just a part of cleaning.  You could tell if a house was clean because it had that “fresh, clean scent”.  Now we know better, that “fresh, clean scent” spells toxic.  We don’t need toxic cleaners to keep our homes clean and germ-free, but these days there are so many products, with so many different messages on the labels that it can have our heads spinning.

What works?  What doesn’t? What’s toxic?  What’s not?  What’s good?  What’s bad?  What should we be looking for?  Can we trust the labels?

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created another database, called the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to make all of this a little easier for us.  Now we can check our household cleaning supplies against the list and see how safe (or dangerous) they really are.  And if we’re using something that isn’t rated very well we can quickly find a safe alternative.

But sometimes there are no alternatives.  Sometimes we have to choose between “clean” and our health.  A couple of years ago I learned that toilet cleaner and fabric softener are two of the most toxic products we use in our homes.  I know, toilet cleaner doesn’t seem all that surprising, but fabric softener?  Fabric softener is worse.  Fabric softener is one of the most toxic items we use in our homes, it’s loaded with chemicals and carcinogens.  And what’s worse, is we put it on our skin, our most vulnerable and most exposed organ in our body.  We use it on our sheets, our towels and our poor bodies just can’t escape it. And that “sweet, fresh smell”?  It’s not so sweet.  If you change nothing else in your home, please stop using fabric softener!  If you don’t believe me or want more specific info, please read this answer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the EWG site.

So please, for your health and the health of those in your life, especially children, go over to the Healthy Cleaning Guide and check out the products you are using.  You just might be surprised what you find.  I was.