Is Fabric Softener Toxic To You?

The majority of homeowners often prefer using fabric softeners after washing their clothes.

Doing this makes their clothes feel clean, softer and reduces the static cling usually present in the fabric.

Fabric softeners are easy to use. All they require you to do is pour the correct size into the rinsing water.

However, at times, fabric softeners can be toxic to the skin. They tend to be highly concentrated on chemicals.

Thus, they can cause skin and eye irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. Luckily, there are natural fabric softeners that are gentler and safer.

What makes a fabric softener toxic?

Although fabric softeners offer a wide array of benefits, they contain unsafe chemical ingredients.

These chemicals are the ones responsible for skin and respiratory allergies and irritations.

Some of these chemicals include:


Phthalate is the chemical responsible for fragrance in fabric softeners.

Health experts report that this chemical tampers with the respiratory and reproductive system when absorbed into the bloodstream.

Thus, avoid purchasing fabric softeners containing g phthalates. Besides, this chemical is a possible cause of cancer.

Benzyl Acetate

When this chemical comes in contact with the skin or eyes, it is likely to irritate.

Also, wearing clothes with particles of Benzyl acetate causes the chemical to get passed onto the bloodstream.

In turn, the chemical reaches the lungs, causing respiratory issues that could deteriorate your overall health.

The vapor produced by Benzyl acetate is also dangerous to your respiratory system.

Besides, some studies prove that this chemical is a cause of pancreatic cancer.

Ethyl Acetate

Ethyl acetate is a dangerous chemical found in most fabric softeners. It leads to irritation in the respiratory system.

Moreover, this chemical can lead to serious health issues like anemia and leukocytosis.

Ethyl acetate is also responsible for causing damages to your kidneys and liver.

Benzyl Alcohol

Another dangerous chemical found in fabric softeners is Benzyl alcohol.

Its vapor can lead to infections in the respiratory system. Additionally, it can get absorbed into the skin and cause problems with your central nervous system.

Some of the symptoms you are likely to experience when your body reacts with this chemical adversely include nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, headache, and low blood pressure.


One chemical in fabric softeners that easily passes through the bloodstream is camphor.

Camphor causes irritation, lightheadedness, and convulsions. Thus, it is unsafe to use fabric softeners with this ingredient.


Limonene is mostly known for causing cancer.

Thus, fabric softeners that contain this chemical increase your chances of getting cancer.

Limonene is also associated with eye and skin allergies.


Another toxic chemical found in fabric softeners is A-terpineol.

This chemical is hazardous to the respiratory system. Besides, this chemical can lead to fatalities caused by pneumonia.


Linalool is a substance that has been chemically tested in animals.

From the study results, health experts rendered Linalool unsafe for human consumption. It is well known to lead to respiratory problems and death.


Using fabric softeners that contain chloroform poses a danger to human health.

This chemical is well known for causing lightheadedness, dizziness, and irritation to the skin.

When absorbed into the bloodstream, chloroform leads to issues with the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Liquid fabric softeners or drying sheets?

Contrary to popular belief, liquid fabric softeners are better than drying sheets when it comes to your health.

Although manufactured with the same ingredients, drying sheets are more dangerous than liquid softeners.

The chemical ingredients are more aggressive when being used in drying sheets.

Avoid using fabric softeners for people with underlying health conditions

As seen earlier, fabric softeners are toxic to human health, especially when manufactured with chemicals.

So, the worst thing you can do is wash a sickly person’s clothes with a chemical fabric softener. People with underlying health conditions get affected more than others.

Likewise, do not rinse an older person’s clothes using fabric softeners. They are more prone to getting diseases. Moreover, avoid using chemical fabric softeners to wash baby clothes.

They may affect your child’s health. Even worse, they can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in your child.

So, what should you use for softening your clothes?

Here is the thing. You need not use a fabric softener. You can always skip the part about softening your clothes and bedding. I mean, this won’t make your clothes less clean.

Nonetheless, if you really wish to soften your clothes, you can try natural DIY methods as indicated below.

  • Use vinegar to soften your clothes. All you have to do is add the correct portion of vinegar-based on your laundry size during the rinsing process. The best thing about this method is that it does not leave your clothes and bed sheets smelling like vinegar. Plus, it is super easy and affordable.
  • Do not leave your clothes to dry out for a long time. Remove them from the dryer or drying line immediately they become dry. Doing this prevents any static cling.
  • Incorporate wool dryer balls. Consider using wool dryer balls to dirty out your clothes. They are 100% effective and keep your clothes from getting static cling. Besides, they are amazing for sensitive skin. They contain minimal chemicals, thus do not cause any severe health issues. Additionally, they make you dry put your clothes much faster. Even so, always purchase wool dryer balls that are fragrance-free and plant-based. This way, you rest assured of safety.


Today, most fabric softeners are toxic to human health.

This is because they contain chemicals linked to severe health problems. Fabric softeners can lead to issues with your respiratory and heart system.

Besides, some fabric softeners contain chemicals that health experts consider carcinogens. So, why use these products?

Although fabric softeners go a long way in making your clothes and bedding feel softer and preventing a static clean, they are dangerous.

So, you really don’t have to use them. But if you really need to use a fabric softener, it would be best to go for a natural option. Additionally, you can use natural DIY methods to make your clothes softer.

One popular way to do this is by adding vinegar. All in all, always go for a plant-based fabric softener.

Consequently, you protect your health and the environment.