Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning! Get your Green on!

Well, this first week of March kicks off a lot of green-spring-cleaning carnivals around the blogosphere! I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun, giveaways, tips and general motivation to get your home clean for spring, so here are my favorites:

Green Clean Week


Also, it just so happens that today I was going to post about the safety (or lack there of) of chemicals we use in cleaning and drying our clothes, and Katydid and Kid wrote her first post all about homemade laundry detergent! So, definitely check that out!

Alright, now on to my real post for today- laundry chemicals! I was recently asked why we don't use dryer sheets and my answer is simple- chemicals! Dryer sheets leave a waxy film on your clothes- that is what makes the fabrics slide across each other easily and thus reduce static. Also, this waxy film is filled with the fragrance that is left on your clothes, and we all know what fragrances contain (phthalates anyone?). Basically, this film is a sticky enough substance that it can actually pose a fire risk to your dryer if you don't regularly scrub it off your lint screen with soap, water and a stiff brush (such as a toothbrush).

So, let's think about this for a minute- these chemicals rub off the dryer sheets onto our clothes. It then only stands to reason that they then rub from our clothes onto our skin. Since our skin is our largest organ, and we know it readily absorbs what is placed on it, the only logical conclusion is that we are constantly absorbing the chemicals on and in our clothes (the same principle applies to fabric softener and the detergents we use). In fact, there are many medications these days being prescribed in cream and patch form because our skin is such a good absorber of chemicals! Moreover, for people prone to bladder infections and skin irritations, doctors specifically recommend to first change your laundry chemicals and ditch the dryer sheets before more medical steps are taken!

Personally, especially with all the recent publicity on the dangers of phthalates (which are in most every product that lists "fragrance" as an ingredient), using conventional laundry chemicals and dryer sheets just isn't worth it to me! I would much rather make my own detergent or buy a product I know I can trust (such as Counrty Save or Charlie's Soap), use vinegar in place of softener, and throw some dryer balls in to keep things soft, rather than put the health of myself and my family at risk. If nothing else, it is something for your brain to chew on for a while! Happy Green Spring Cleaning!


Anonymous said...

We can't use fabric softener (not even in the in-the-wash type) because it irritates my husband's skin horribly. Even the hypoallergenic and "natural" stuff (including Country Save's fabric softener) are a no-go.

Definitely nasty stuff.

I prefer to make my own cleaning and beauty products just for this reason. Then I not only know what's in them, I can control it as well.

We currently use a pre-made detergent for our diapers, but I'm thinking about switching to home-made after this container runs out.

As to fabric softener... we use vinegar in the wash, and then felted wool balls in the dryer. (The only concern with the Dryer Balls brand balls is that they are plastic and can still leach pthalates.)

Heather B said...

Thanks for the great post! Is there a place out there to buy dryer balls that are safe? I am not crafty enough to try and make my own.