Millennials ruin everything, right? Or, maybe not. According to the WSJ, Proctor & Gamble is blaming 20-somethings for spurring a massive decline in fabric softener sales. Not everyone is bemoaning the fact, however. This is because dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener are toxic to humans and the environment.
Fabric softener tends to contain harmful ingredients, including benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others. Because millennials care about the environment and are more health-conscious than previous generations, many have ditched synthetic fabric softener for natural alternatives (see below).
There are other reasons millennials are foregoing fabric softener. For one, detergents have improved significantly in recent years, as have washing machines. As a result, machine-washed clothes no longer feel so stiff, rough, or scratchy.
Fabrics have also improved and become more durable. They are able to withstand multiple washings without the need for additives. Finally, many young people wear athletic clothes. Because fabric softener can impede the fabric’s ability to absorb and wick away moisture, millennials are choosing to omit the synthetic softener.
Proctor & Gamble is hopeful it can still convince millennials to purchase fabric softener, mainly because they are the ones “just beginning to form their laundry habits, either because they are living on their own for the first time, buying a first washing machine or having children.”
With cheap, natural alternatives, why would people bother, however? As EcoWatch reports, there are simple ways you can soften clothes for pennies. For instance: Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a load of laundry during the rinse cycle. Or, add 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash cycle.
“Perhaps if P&G rebranded its fabric softener as an all-natural, plastic-free, reusable, line-friendly, fair-trade, dolphin-safe, organic, microbead-free, sunshine-activated, essential oil-infused mood enhancing liquid, then maybe there’d be an uptick in business. But otherwise, it looks like P&G will be hung out to dry by disinterested Millennials who have much better things to spend their money on.”
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Image Credit: Flickr. Daniel Oines