What's in your dryer?

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 can hurt 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?


5 Comments

Cyndi
Cyndi

September 26, 2014

Hi Sarah & Cyndi (too), Thanks for catching that mistake. We’ve corrected it! Best, Cyndi

Monika
Monika

September 26, 2014

Anything artificial! I buy Whole Foods brand detergent.

Sarah Griffin
Sarah Griffin

September 25, 2014

Cyndi, I think it was supposed to say add LooHoos INSTEAD of a chemical-laden fabric softener sheet

Cyndi too
Cyndi too

September 25, 2014

Your blog post of 09/25 by Kathleen Meil says… and I quote:…..“When you throw that full load of naturally clean laundry into the dryer, add LooHoos of a chemical-laden fabric softener sheet”…. what?????

Cyndi
Cyndi

September 25, 2014

I try and avoid synthetic fragrances in all of our laundry and cleaning products.

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