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Cleaning expert demonstrates why you should avoid using popular laundry product: 'It warns us right on the label…'

"Maybe we should talk about all the children's pajamas with the tags that say keep away from open flame."

"Maybe we should talk about all the children’s pajamas with the tags that say keep away from open flame."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Fabric softeners can increase the flammability of clothing, and one TikToker demonstrated just how dangerous the popular products can be.

The scoop

TikTok cleaning expert clean freakz (@jeeves_ny) shared a 29-second video a year ago in which he held a match to pieces of microfiber, one untreated and the other treated with fabric softener. The latter went up in flames, while the former was merely scorched.

"The fire on the right grows and grows at an alarming pace. Oh, my God, I should put this out before I burn my office down," they said. "That's because fabric softener contains molecules that increase the surface area, which makes it feel softer but also more flammable."

@jeeves_ny Fabric softener can be flammable #fabricsoftener #stopusingfabricsoftener #laundry #cleaning #detergent #clean ♬ original sound - clean freakz

"Surprise surprise," one commenter said, "adding fuel to something makes it burn better!"

How it's helping

The uploader said they tried the experiment multiple times "to make sure it wasn't a fluke," and studies prove it wasn't.

"This is just one of the many reasons to stop using fabric softener," they said.

Fabric softeners are often made from petroleum, a dirty energy source that contributes to rising global temperatures. The chemicals therein don't break down and can enter our waterways, inhibiting the treatment of wastewater and harming marine life.

Certain components of fabric softeners may also trigger skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Additionally, the products can prevent your clothes from being cleaned and your towels from absorbing water.

Consumer Reports even endorsed the idea that fabric softeners are a waste of money and do more harm than good. Your washing machine, dryer, and pipes may be at risk, too.

What everyone's saying

Many TikTokers pointed out they use vinegar instead, and other eco-friendly products — including plain old detergent — do the job just fine. Wool dryer balls and baking soda are two more natural alternatives to fabric softeners that can also save you money.

"It warns us right on the label," one user said. "Maybe we should talk about all the children's pajamas with the tags that say keep away from open flame."

Another added: "Same with dryer sheets! It literally says on the box not to use on babies clothes that are flame resistant because it'll make them flammable."

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