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Expert warns about dangers of common laundry product most Americans have on the shelf: 'I recently stopped'

"It'll stay inside your clothes …"

"...it’ll stay inside your clothes..."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Fabric softeners are typically considered a necessity while doing laundry, but a TikToker warned that the popular products are actually more harmful than beneficial.

The scoop

TikTok cleaning expert Renae (@renduh) explained in a 51-second video that fabric softeners are flammable and, thereby, can increase the flammability of clothing. She displayed a warning included on a bottle of fabric softener that is frequently ignored but explicitly states the potential danger of the product.

"Liquid fabric softeners contain various emulsifiers made from silicones, oils and alcohols, all of which are flammable," Renae says. "Most of these ingredients can get washed away in the rinse cycle, but if you're in the habit of using too much fabric softener, it'll stay inside your clothes, which you then put inside a machine that creates heat."

@renduh #TikTokTaughtMe #TikTokPartner #LearnOnTikTok #TodayILearned #Laundry #LaundryTok #CleanTok #clean #FabricSoftener #Flammable #FYI #PSA #Safety #WomenInTrades #Tradeswoman ♬ Funk Hip Hop Music(814197) - Pavel

She even reveals that fabric softeners don't even really serve their intended purpose.

"Even aside from its flammability, fabric softener isn't all it's cracked up to be, anyway," she says. "It doesn't actually soften the fibers of your clothes, it just coats them in a fabric softener buildup. That softness you're feeling, that's not actually softer fabric, that's just the fabric softener buildup you're feeling in your clothes."

Renae ended the video by warning against online trends that promote the use of fabric softener over other conventional cleaning products.

"If you've seen the viral hack that tells you that you can replace your dryer sheets with fabric softener-soaked sponges, yeah, maybe don't do that," she said.

How it's helping

The warnings against fabric softeners can help shine a light on cheaper and more natural cleaning alternatives. Multiple experts have taken to social media to point out that there are more effective options to achieve the same goal as fabric softeners.

The primary alternative is plain white vinegar, a natural fabric softener that is kinder to the environment and typically more affordable than other cleaning products. White vinegar can brighten clothes and remove nasty odors, and it won't leave behind the pungent vinegar smell after washing.

This guide can help you find natural cleaning alternatives such as baking soda, wool dryer balls, and plain detergent, which are all safer than fabric softener products.

What everyone's saying

Many TikTokers said they have already begun reducing their use of fabric softeners after discovering the harmful side effects.

"I recently stopped using softener, scent beads and dryer sheets because of one of your videos," one user commented. "Vinegar in the rinse made a huge difference!"

Another user said: "I think you recommended white vinegar and OMG I could feel the difference! So freaking soft."

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