See the effects that fabric softener has on your clothes and the environment

In this article we will show you the effects that fabric softener has on your clothes and the environment so that you can reconsider its use at home. Is it necessary to always use it?

Fabric softener is a product that is used to wash clothes to make them feel more pleasant to the touch, have a pleasant aroma and are more flexible and smooth. This product has become popular in the world, so much so that custom indicates that soap should be accompanied by fabric softener.

They were created around 1930 in the textile industry in order to make garments more comfortable for users and synthetic fabrics to resemble natural ones. In this way, its use in hotels, hospitals and homes was spread.

However, in order to modify the properties of the tissues, it was necessary to use a series of chemicals that today are studied and questioned.

How does fabric softener work?

According to an article by the Institute for Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation, there are 6 different types of softeners that are classified according to the nature of the component that interacts to modify properties. There are non-ionic, cationic, pseudo-cationic, anionic, amphoteric and reactive softeners.

The most popular act with a surfactant cationic principle, that is, it adheres to the fibers of the fabric to make them softer. In addition, they have another series of components that make them soluble in water, allow wetting and give them perfume and color.

The household use of this product became so popular that it surpassed employment in the textile industry.

Keep reading: Homemade and natural tricks to wash clothes

Effects that fabric softener has on clothes

In addition to improving the texture of garments, softeners produce a series of modifications in the properties of garments, such as resistance to abrasion and tear, protection against wrinkling and antistatic capacity. Although the above effects are positive, There are other reactions that can affect your clothes in a negative way.

The softeners generate a propensity to soiling, as they retain impurities more easily. They can also cause fabric color uniformity to change, dull white tones, or create stains.

However, this depends on the type of fabric and the characteristics of the garment on which it is used. Therefore it is very important read the label that indicates the washing instructions in the clothes.

They tend to work very well on cotton garments, but create adverse effects on synthetics:

  • You should never wear it in sportswear, as it will cover the pores that allow proper breathing and prevent excessive perspiration and bad odors.
  • On fabrics like polyester it has no major effects, so it is a waste of money to use fabric softener on them.
  • In traditional or microfiber towels it generates less absorption, so it makes them less and less functional, even though they feel and smell better.

Effects of fabric softener on the environment

One of the most questioned effects of fabric softeners is their negative impact on the environment. First, they usually come packaged in plastic containers.

They also have a series of components, such as ammonium chloride or quaternary ammonium, which have adverse effects on the environment and take a long time to degrade. A report from Greenpeace called "The treatment of textiles and its environmental repercussions" points out that ammonia is toxic to aquatic organisms.

Effects that the fabric softener has on the body

The effects that the fabric softener has on health are varied and depend on the type of components with which the product is made. An investigation by the University of Washington found that fragranced laundry products can contain more than 25 volatile compounds that pollute the air.

Among them, acetaldehyde and benzene have been associated with the development of specific pathologies in humans, some of a respiratory nature. Also, certain fragrances can cause allergies.

Artificial laundry products have effects on the environment that are associated with some volatile compounds.

Read on: What's behind fabric softener?

Alternatives to commercial fabric softener

If you have already decided to change your traditional fabric softener for a more natural option, you can use the following options to leave your clothes soft and smelling good:

  • Use a glass of vinegar to eliminate bad odors and reduce static energy. However, be careful to use it with chlorine, as it generates dangerous reactions.
  • Add baking soda to the washing machine or vinegar to enhance the softening effect. In addition, it helps eliminate bad odors.
  • Make a dried flower potpourri and keep it in your closet to keep your clothes smelling good.
  • Put your clothes away when they are dry and do not leave it exposed to the sun for long periods, as this will increase the static.
  • Use balls of the wool for washing machines that will help you soften your clothes, reduce static and decrease drying times.
  • Put 2-3 balls of aluminum foil in the washing machine. This will help reduce static energy in garments..

Organic stores that offer chemical-free and low-polluting alternatives to traditional products are becoming more popular every day. In them it is possible to find organic detergents, softeners and fragrances that will offer you results similar to commercial ones without generating adverse effects.