Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big No-Nos with Fabric Softeners

Today is "What DOESN'T Work for Me" over at Rocks in My Dryer and I wanted to share a bit of information with you that I was privy to at a young age, but you may not have been.

I learned a laundry tip while I was in college because of my major (although it is called Polymer and Fiber Engineering now, it was called Textile Engineering when I was there). Here's the tip:

Never EVER use fabric softener (liquid or sheet) on towels of any kind or on infants' sleepwear.

Here is why:

* The same chemical reactions that occur to make your clothes soft and cozy also leave a coating of the softener on the towels and reduce their absorbency. Your towels, dish-drying cloths, bath cloths, etc lose that wonderful ability to absorb water and you really would just do better rolling around on the carpet in your bedroom to dry off. So anything that you own that you want to be absorbent, do not use fabric softeners on it.

*Most infant sleepwear is made to be flame-retardant. The chemicals in softeners kill this ability, making your child's sleepwear as flame-happy as all of the other consumables in your house. The same goes for infant bedding (sheets, comforters, etc), which also is made to resist (NOT PREVENT) burning. This is a good reason not to buy infant sleepwear second-hand if this is a concern to you. Also...older children's pjs are not required to be flame-retardant, so you're safe there.

So, although I do not do this, I know that it DOESN'T work for me. Since I know that it doesn't work for you either, I thought I would tell you. ;)
Update: By the way...obviously great minds think alike, because Heather had this post for her What Doesn't Work for Me post as well!


  1. I remember learning about fabric softener and towels a few years back. At first I was reluctant because I didn't want my towels to be scratchy. But, ya know what? They WEREN'T! They are just as soft as always.

    I do use those dryer balls now. I'm pretty happy with those.

  2. Wow! Great minds really do think alike! I'm glad that someone else knows this - I'm going to put a link to you on my post so that other people will see that I'm not just passing on an old wives' tale.

  3. I did NOT know this, very interesting.

  4. Now THIS is good information! I don't tend to use softeners, just because I'm cheap and they smell too strong ~ but now I'm really glad I haven't. I'll pass this along.