Guest Post-DIY Fabric Softener

Many of you may or may not know the risks involved in thesimple act of adding a cup of fabric softener in your kids’ load oflaundry.  How can something as fuzzy andadorable as a teddy bear named Snuggle be bad for your kids?
Pretty easily, as it turns out.  The main ingredients of most fabric softenersare as follows:
·        Surfactants
·        Fragrance
·        Undenatured ethyl alcohol
Surfactants are in everything and can be harmless if madefrom safe sources like vegetables instead of sodium lauryl sulfates.  Fragrances, however, are tricky; companiesaren’t required to release the ingredients of fragrances to protect their tradesecrets.  This means they could be usingbleach for fragrance, if bleach would sell. Meanwhile, ethyl alcohol has been suspected of causing liver damage andbeing an endocrine disruptor.  Thesetoxins don’t just harm you and your kids—they go down the drain and into ourwater system to pollute the earth, too.
The biggest and most widely relevant problem with fabricsofteners is their aggravation of allergies. Most varieties leave a thin film on clothes that make them smell goodbut feel greasy.  You’re basicallyrubbing your face on chemicals when this happens, and it may explain why inmany cases asthmatics and those with eczema and unknown sources of allergiesfind their complaints alleviated once they stop using conventional fabricsoftener and switch to “green” varieties or use none at all.
Clothes made out of synthetic fibers tend to fall victim tostatic cling without those fabric softener sheets, though.  So, instead of spending more money ongreenwashed products, here are 3 cheap DIY fabric softener recipes you can makeat home.
Basic Fabric Softener
·        Add ½ cupof white vinegar at the start of your washing machine’s rinse cycle.  Add nothing to the dryer.  Preferably, you’ll be able to line-dry yourclothes to further prevent static cling, but don’t worry, they won’t smell likevinegar.
·        Add a couple of drops of your favorite essentialoil—lavender is a popular choice—to make your clothes smell like they’ve beentreated with conventional softeners.
·        You can also add a ½ cup of white vinegar toyour dishwasher rinse compartment instead of the conventional stuff if you findstains on your “clean” dishes.
Basic Anti-Cling
·        Add ¼ cup of baking soda in the wash cycle toreduce static cling.
DIY Deluxe FabricSoftener (by Karyn Siegel-Maier, author of The Naturally Clean Home)
Ingredients
·        6 cups of white vinegar (only white, as otherswill dye your clothes!)
·        1 cup baking soda
·        1 cup water
·        15 drops lemongrass essential oil (optional)
·        Old bottle or container with screw top
Pour the vinegar and water into a large pot or mixing bowland then slowly (very slowly) add the baking soda.  When the mixture has stopped bubbling and issettled, stir so the soda dissolves. Pour into the bottle and then add the optional essential oil.  Shake each time before using, and do so bypouring ½ cup at the start of the rinse cycle in the washing machine.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie.She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writesabout education, online colleges,and the future of online degrees.In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding herlaptop.

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