by Kathleen Meil
You – and the EPA – probably know more about what’s coming out of your car’s tailpipe than out of your dryer vent. Since manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the ingredients used in fragrances or laundry products, the pollutants released every time the dryer runs are largely unmonitored.
But what you don’t know canhurt you. Scientists at the University of Washington measured the emissions from dryer vents and found that leading scented laundry detergents and scented dryer sheets released more than 25 different volatile organic compounds. From optical brighteners that make your clothes look brighter but trigger allergic reactions to surfactants that clean our clothes but pollute our environment, these chemicals are bad news.
Luckily, there’s plenty of good news. Plant-based detergents are free of chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, dyes, and optical brighteners, and they’re often specially formulated to work well in cold water. When you throw that full load of naturally clean laundry into the dryer, add LooHoos instead of a chemical-laden fabric softener sheet. Not only do the handmade, baseball-sized wool balls lift and separate clothes to decrease drying time, the friction of the balls against the fabric helps to soften the clothes.
We'd love to hear from you. To keep your household laundry safe, what laundry ingredients do you avoid?