Fabric softener is a great thing because it provides a fresh scent and makes our laundry nice and soft. When we wear a lot of clothes washed with fabric softener, we immediately feel good in our skin. But there are also critical voices about the use of fabric softener. Read more about this in the TUBIE Ironing Doll blog.
What are the advantages of fabric softeners?
Probably the most important advantage of fabric softeners is the result of fragrant, soft laundry that is also easier to iron. Especially if you have sensitive skin, fabric softener is a blessing because the clothes are then less rough and the skin is therefore less chafed and irritated.
Fabric softener should predominantly be used for cotton garments. It is better to avoid fabric softener for synthetic fabrics.
What are the disadvantages of fabric softeners?
Fabric softeners contain surfactants or chemicals and are pure poison for the environment. They pollute the water and although EU regulations state that at least 80% of surfactants should be biodegradable, some of them end up in the environment. With synthetic garments, you should avoid fabric softener because it can damage or wear out the fabric. Stretch jeans in particular can lose shape or bulge more quickly. The clothes also become less absorbent and breathable, which has a negative effect on sportswear. In addition, fabric softener can seriously damage your dryer because clothes treated with fabric softener contain silicones. During the drying process, it can get very hot in the machine and silicones combined with laundry can cause the dryer's sensors to clog. The dryer may then no longer be able to detect when the laundry is ready and end the drying process too early. The laundry could then still be soggy and must be dried again.
Is fabric softener bad for your health?
Highly concentrated fabric softener affects health because it can dry out the skin, irritate mucous membranes and cause allergies.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, you should use fabric softeners as sparingly as possible, if at all. (Source: Federal Environment Agency).
Alternatives for fabric softener
Instead of fabric softener, you can simply use vinegar essence. This prevents limescale build-up in the laundry. Simply add 20-40 ml to the laundry and wash. Don't worry, the acrid smell will disappear in the washing machine.
Citric acid is also an environmentally friendly option and also decalcifies the washing machine. Simply mix 2-5 tablespoons of citric acid with a litre of water, shake the mixture and you have homemade fabric softener. If you want to add a little fragrance, mix in essential oils. You need approx. 60 ml per wash cycle.
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