Well, that is what I thought, anyway. I obviously wasn't paying very close attention. I took out my almost empty box of "Bounce Free" and casually glanced at it. I saw such green announcements as "Box made from 100% recycled paper" and "No dyes and perfumes." When I looked at the ingredients list, however, all it said was, "Bounce contains biodegradable cationic softeners." That doesn't sound so bad, right?
Wrong. They just aren't required to list all the awful chemicals that make up these biodegradable elements. What's worse, these chemicals infiltrate your clothing and are slowly released into your system every time you wear this clothing. There is detailed information about this from SixWise, so I won't go into details here. Suffice to say you would NOT want this stuff entering your bloodstream if you could help it. I know some of you are thinking you are safe because you use liquid fabric softener, but, trust me, it's is just as bad.
So, what are the alternatives? How can you soften, scent and de-static cling your clothing without chemicals? The good news is that the options are all much less expensive than buying dryer sheets and fabric softener.
- Air Dry: I know the best thing you can do for your clothes, yourself and the environment is to not use a dryer at all. It saves energy and makes your clothes last longer, which you can read about in more detail courtesy of this article from The Golden Spiral. It also eliminates static cling.
- Vinegar: Add 1/2 cup of plain old white vinegar where you would normally put liquid fabric softener in your washing machine. It will soften your clothes, cut soap residue than can dull colored items and naturally remove static. Do NOT use it in conjunction with bleach.
- Fabric Type: Synthetic fabrics are the major culprits for static cling, so try to wash them separately from cottons and take them out when they are still slightly damp.
I also tried using aluminum foil in the place of dryer sheets, as I'd read that eliminated static cling, but it didn't work for me. Some manufactured products, such as dryerballs and the static eliminator, claim to be better than dryer sheets, but both are made of synthetic ingredients and the dryerballs are plastic. The best actual dryer sheets I've found are the Method Dryer Cloths, but they still waste precious resources and energy, all to solve the horrid first world problem of static cling and fabric softness!