5 Best Eco-Friendly Fabric Softeners That Actually Work
There are plenty of ways to naturally soften laundry so you never have to use fabric softener (such as eco-friendly wool dryer balls). However, if you decide you want to use something, make sure you’re choosing a product that’s safe for you, your family, and the environment by checking out these best eco-friendly fabric softeners.
Learn more about the dangers hiding in traditional fabric softeners and what you should look for in an eco-friendly fabric softener so you can enjoy a healthier and more sustainable laundry routine.
Is Fabric Softener Harmful to the Environment?
Fabric softeners smell nice and have pretty pictures on their bottles, but they’re hiding a dirty and toxic secret. In-wash fabric softeners and heat-activated dryer sheets both contain a powerful combination of chemicals that can harm your health, hurt the environment, and pollute the air inside and outside your home.
Here are some of the most concerning ingredients found in traditional fabric softeners:
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds– Also known as “quats.” They’re known to trigger asthma and may be toxic to our reproductive systems.
- Fragrance– A catch-all term that can hide countless other chemicals, including phthalates.
- Preservatives and Colors– Another catch-all term that may refer to any number of chemicals. The most worrisome preservatives in fabric softeners include methylisothiazolinone, a severe skin allergen, and glutaral, which is known to trigger asthma and skin allergies and is toxic to marine life.
In fact, dryer sheets are so toxic, doctors are now beginning to warn pregnant women to avoid contact with them altogether since studies have shown they can lower a child’s IQ by up to 7.6 points.
Related: Must-Have Eco-Friendly Baby Products All Parents Need
How Does Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener Work?
When you run your clothes through the washing machine, they alternate between being stretched and squashed. These actions are tough on fabrics and can harden them.
Fabric softeners smooth out distressed fibers. They can also help to decrease the static charge that builds up when clothes rub up against each other as they’re tumbled dry.
While traditional fabric softeners use harmful chemicals like the ones discussed above to make clothes feel softer, the best eco-friendly fabric softeners use natural ingredients to achieve the same results.
When you’re shopping for an eco-friendly fabric softener, look for one that uses natural, plant- or mineral-based ingredients to soften clothes. Additionally, artificial dyes, fragrances, and colors should never be included.
Related: The Most Affordable Sustainable and Ethical Clothing Brands
The Best Eco-Friendly Fabric Softeners
Now that you know why you should make the switch to the best eco-friendly fabric softeners, here are several top options that do a great job naturally softening your clothes and leaving them smelling fresh and clean.
You might be familiar with Dropps because of their fantastic eco-friendly laundry detergent. But did you know they also make fabric softener?
Just like their laundry detergent, the fabric softener comes in convenient water soluble pods that you simply toss in your washing machine for gentle softening. The fabric softener uses mineral-based ingredients to add softness without any residue.
This means your towels will be fluffy, your clothes will be soft, and your athleticwear will maintain its moisture-wicking abilities.
In addition to being dye-free, quat-free, glutaral-free, and phthalate-free, these pods are also vegan, cruelty-free, and never tested on animals. Plus, they come in compostable cardboard packaging, so you can have clean laundry that’s low waste.
Along with unscented fabric softener, you can also get scented varieties, including Lavender Eucalyptus, Clean & Crisp, and Orange Blossom. Every variety is compatible in both HE and regular washing machines.
Interested in trying Dropps? If you’re a new customer, be sure to use the code EarthTips25 for 25% off. Already a Dropps customer? Not a problem! You can enjoy 15% off when you use the code EarthTips15.
Related: The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Stain Removers
2. Wool Dryer Balls
Are you interested in a completely natural way to soften your clothes? Then you’ll love wool dryer balls! Simply toss these wool dryer balls into your dryer with your clothes and dry as usual.
As the wool dryer balls gently bounce around the dryer, they help dry your clothes more efficiently. In fact, they can reduce drying time by up to 25%!
Since they’re made from 100% natural wool, they don’t contain any chemicals or additives. They’re also completely biodegradable when they reach the end of their useful life.
If you’re looking to add a little fun to your laundry routine, check out these Friendsheep Eco Dryer Balls. They’re handmade using 100% cruelty-free organic New Zealand wool, and they feature all kinds of adorable designs, such as penguins, pandas, and stars.
Related: Why You’ll Love Using Soap Nuts to Clean Your Laundry
3. Molly’s Suds
If you prefer using dryer sheets instead of liquid fabric softener, make the switch to Molly’s Suds All-Natural Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets. These compostable dryer sheets use a plant-based fabric softener to leave your clothes feeling cozy, comfy, and fresh.
These vegan dryer sheets are free of waxes, dyes, harsh fragrances, and animal derivatives, which makes them safe for sensitive skin, the environment, and your dryer.
In addition to the lavender scent, you can also get unscented dryer sheets.
Love the convenience of sheets? Don’t forget you can also pick up eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets to make your entire washing routine easy and mess free!
Related: How to Prevent Microfiber Pollution From Your Laundry
Ecover fabric softener is made with plant-based ingredients that quickly and completely biodegrade. The softener helps reduce static cling, makes ironing easier, softens your laundry, and leaves behind a fresh scent that’s gentle on your skin.
In addition to being compatible with HE and regular washing machines, the cruelty-free fabric softener is safe for septic tanks.
You can find Ecover fabric softener at Thrive Market, which is one of the best online shops for organic groceries and eco-friendly products. Best of all, if you sign up now, you can enjoy 40% off your first order and a FREE gift worth up to $50!
Related: The Best Online Zero Waste Shops for Plastic-Free Essentials
Method makes a plant-based fabric softener that works in both HE and standard washers. In addition to reducing static cling and making ironing easier, this cruelty-free softener will also leave your laundry soft, fluffy, and freshly scented.
It’s available in several clean and invigorating scents, including Beach Sage, Ginger Mango, and Fresh Air.
Related: How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent for Amazingly Clean Clothes
6. Mrs. Meyer’s
Mrs. Meyer’s makes a variety of plant-based cleaning products, including their liquid fabric softener. This fabric softener is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny Certified. It’s made without parabens, phthalates, or animal-derived ingredients.
The biodegradable formula is safe to use in HE and conventional washing machines, and it will add freshness while reducing static. You can choose between the Lavender or Honeysuckle scent.
Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener for Amazingly Soft Clothes
Liquid fabric softeners and heat-activated dryer sheets can contain dangerous ingredients that are terrible for you and the environment. Fortunately, there’s a better option. Rather than using traditional products, make the switch to one of these best eco-friendly fabric softeners.
More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best eco-friendly fabric softeners? Are you interested in discovering even more helpful tips about eco-friendly living? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
- How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products
- The Best Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Candles
- How to Reduce Food Waste at Home
- Where to Find the Best Sustainable Clothing Brands