View Full Version : Change to a safer way to dry your laundry

Jane Chitty
10-04-11, 01:33 AM
Many of us have changed to natural products for doing our laundry because of the harmful effects to ourselves and our children from the many and toxic chemicals used in commercial laundry detergents with their skin irritants and environmental pollutants.

But now it has come to light that those fragrances in laundry detergents and even dryer sheets are actually putting dangerous emissions – namely VOCs – into the air around us when we do our laundry. VOCs are volatile organic compounds (but read chemical rather than organic into this) which have significant vapor pressures and which can affect the environment and human health.

VOCs are numerous, varied and ubiquitous.

In a recent study by the University of Washington, researchers found a total of 25 VOCs (including seven hazardous air pollutants and two carcinogens) emitting from the dryer vents of tumble dryers.

They concentrated on 3 different areas of research:

1. dryer-vent fumes from a load of pre-rinsed organic-cotton towels washed with no products.

Result – the dryer gave off a minimum level of VOCs

2. dryer-vent fumes from a similar load washed with a leading brand of scented liquid laundry detergent.

Result – 10 new VOCs were identified

3. dryer-vent fumes from the final load washed with the detergent and later dried with a leading brand of scented dryer sheets.

Result – 7 additional VOCs were identified

In total, the combination of scented detergent and dryer sheets yielded 25 different VOCs, two of which were classified as carcinogens with no safe exposure level so just an occasional sniff could cause permanent damage.

Add to this the fact that companies are not required to list all the ingredients in their “added fragrance” which means that there can be as many as 20 ingredients included – but not named and listed.

It therefore becomes more important than ever to move away from all commercial and chemical products when doing your laundry and, of course, any other household chores.

Skip the dryer sheets completely and rise to the challenge of static cling and clothes softening by adding a dash of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

When using your dryer, and you want some extra fragrance, you can achieve this by a drop or two of essential oil on a cloth (such as mint or lavender) and adding to the drum.

Alternatively, you could pop in a sachet of fresh herbs.

For the most natural laundry result of all, use soapnuts and line dry in the fresh air!

Jane Chitty


10-04-11, 01:08 PM
Another great article -- thank you, Jane!

Jane Chitty
10-23-11, 12:00 PM
I have today read about a good tip if you do happen to use a dryer and another reason why you should not be using those dryer sheets. Apparently, dryer sheets cause a waxy film to cover the mesh material of the lint filter so that it no longer works. The film will not wash off the filter even if you use hot water to clean it. Over time, this can cause the heating unit in the dryer to burn out and even cause a fire.

To clean the filter effectively, you need to wash with hot soapy water and a brush regularly to get rid of the waxy build up and to protect the dryer. Better still, don't use dryer sheets!

10-23-11, 12:04 PM
Hmm. I don't use dryer sheets but I have a secondhand dryer that I use in winter, and sometimes in summer to fluff up line-dried towels. Doubtless the previous owner used those sheets — most people do. Still, though, the lint filter is working.

10-23-11, 04:43 PM
Still, though, the lint filter is working.

It will still collect lint, if it has the waxy build up of which Jane speaks. But it won't allow for efficient air flow so that the unit overheats.

I believe we have NEVER had a dryer sheet in our dryer, but i know my MIL uses them.