About Fabric Softener

We all like to have nice, soft clothes (and sheets and towels) but if you have “problem” skin of any type, you might want to reconsider using fabric softeners…

Hard to Tell:  Manufacturers of cleaning products aren’t required to list all ingredients on product packaging, so it might be hard for you to find out what’s in your fabric softener.  If you always use the same brand, try doing a web search for that product.

But, So You Know:  Many fabric softeners contain “fatty acids”, which are generally made from rendered animal fat.  Yeah, eww.  But ick-factor aside, let’s think about it:  Would you put rendered animal fat on your skin if you have acne?  Probably not.  I stopped using fabric softener (dryer sheets) on the towels I use to wash my face and noticed a significant improvement in the breakouts I’ve been fighting for the last year or so.  It’s not the only thing I’ve been doing to help my skin, but I think it’s made a difference. (I seem to get more breakouts when I run out of “un-softened” towels.)

Not Just Your Skin:  That “rendered animal fat” ingredient can also lead to increased microbial growth in your washing machine  – if you’re using liquid fabric softener.  Growing-out-of-control microbes can lead to bad smells in your washing machine.  And if it smells bad, it probably is bad.  Consult your washing machine’s user manual or manufacturer website to find out how to do a thorough cleaning.

The Alternative:  Using “green” fabric softeners (which use plant-derived vegetable/soybean oils instead of animal fat) may make a real difference in your washing machine’s cleanliness as well as your skin’s overall health.  If you can stand to go without “softened” towels and pillowcase – even better.

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