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Laundry Essentials

9 Eco Friendly Fabric Softeners that Won’t Harm the Planet or Your Clothes

If you’re like most people, you love the feeling of soft, fresh-smelling clothes straight out of the dryer (I mean, who wouldn’t?!). And for many of us, fabric softeners have become a staple in our laundry routine. But have you ever stopped to think about the impact that these products may have on the planet?

It turns out that fabric softeners can be pretty harmful to the environment. Many conventional fabric softeners contain synthetic chemicals that are toxic to aquatic life, and that can also contribute to air pollution. Many fabric softeners also come in plastic packaging, which adds to the already massive problem of plastic waste.

But before you start fretting about the fate of the planet every time you do laundry, there is some good news. There are plenty of eco friendly fabric softeners on the market that are kinder to the environment. These products use natural ingredients like plant-based oils, to soften fabrics without the use of harsh chemicals.

And of course, in true eco-friendly fashion, these products are often packaged in recycled materials or refillable containers which helps reduce waste.

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No time to read the full article? Here’s our list of the best eco-friendly fabric softeners:

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener
  2. Ecover Fabric Softener
  3. Method Fabric Softener
  4. Attitude Fabric Softener
  5. Laundress Fabric Conditioner
  6. Grab Green Stoneworks Dryer Sheets
  7. Nellie’s All-Natural Dryer Balls
  8. Kintor Wool Dryer Balls
  9. Dropps Fabric Softener Pods

Why are traditional fabric softeners bad for the planet

While they may make our clothes feel oh-so-soft and cuddly, they’re not exactly eco-friendly. Here’s why:

Harmful chemicals: traditional fabric softeners are typically made from toxic chemicals that aren’t biodegradable. That means they don’t break down naturally in the environment and can accumulate over time, causing harm to plants and wildlife. Not only that, but many of these chemicals are also known to be toxic to aquatic life, so using fabric softener can indirectly harm our oceans and waterways.

Packaging: fabric softeners are often packaged in plastic containers that end up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. And even if they are recycled, the recycling process still uses energy and resources, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Health: fabric softeners are not just bad for the environment, but they can also be harmful to our health. Many of the chemicals found in traditional fabric softeners are known to cause respiratory issues and skin irritations, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Animal testing: unfortunately, many fabric softeners are still tested on animals.

Harsh fragrances: many fabric conditioners contain synthetic fragrances which can be irritating to our skin and eyes, as well as having a negative environmental impact.

Why choose eco-friendly fabric softeners

First of all, let’s talk about the environment. Eco-friendly fabric softeners are made with natural ingredients, which means they’re free of harsh chemicals that can harm our planet. By using these softeners, you’re not only making a smart choice for your clothes, but you’re also doing your part to protect the environment.

Speaking of your clothes, eco-friendly fabric softeners are gentler on fabrics than traditional softeners. That means your clothes will last longer and stay in better condition, which is great news for your wallet, as well as the planet. Plus, natural fabric softeners won’t leave a residue on your clothes, which means you’ll have fewer issues with stains and discoloration.

Another perk of eco-friendly fabric softeners is that they’re often hypoallergenic, which is fantastic news for anyone with sensitive skin. Traditional fabric softeners can cause skin irritation and even allergic reactions in some people, but natural softeners are much gentler on the skin.

Last up, let’s talk about smell. Eco-friendly fabric softeners often come in a variety of fresh scents, from lavender scent to citrus to mint. These scents are made with natural ingredients and won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed or lightheaded like some synthetic fragrances can.

9 Best Eco Friendly Fabric Softeners

There are several types of eco-friendly fabric softeners available, including liquids, dryer balls, sheets, and pods.

  • Liquid fabric softeners are a concentrated solution that is added to the wash cycle.
  • Dryer balls are reusable balls that are added to the dryer to help soften clothes and reduce wrinkles.
  • Fabric softener sheets are similar to dryer balls but are disposable and come in a sheet form that is added to the dryer.
  • Fabric softener pods are pre-measured pods that are added to the wash cycle.

Each type of eco-friendly fabric softener has its own benefits, but they all work to soften clothes and reduce static cling without harming the environment. It’s important to choose the one that works best for your needs and preferences.

Laundry hamper full of clothes

Liquid fabric softeners

1. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener is a popular and eco-friendly choice for those who want to soften their clothes without the use of harsh chemicals. Made with plant-derived ingredients, this fabric softener is free of animal-derived ingredients and is never tested on animals.

It comes in a variety of refreshing scents, including lavender, basil, and lemon verbena, and can leave your clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener is also free of phthalates, parabens, and artificial colors, making it a safer and more sustainable option for your laundry routine.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Fabric Softener is also compatible with both high efficiency and classic washing machines. It is very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

Plus, the company is committed to reducing their environmental impact by using recycled materials in their packaging and supporting renewable energy initiatives.

2. Ecover Fabric Softener


Ecover Fabric Softener is another popular eco-friendly fabric softener that is made entirely from plant-based ingredients. The product contains a mild, fresh plant-based scent that leaves clothes soft and static-free. It’s one of the most affordable options on this list and is readily available in the UK and the US.

One of the key features of Ecover Fabric Softener is that it’s free from harmful ingredients that are commonly found in traditional fabric softeners. The product is biodegradable and doesn’t contribute to water pollution or release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. This makes it a much safer and healthier option for both the environment and your family.

Ecover has been awarded the Safer Choice label by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which means it meets the EPA’s standards for human and environmental safety.

Ecover Fabric Softener is also a great choice for those with sensitive skin. The plant-based ingredients are gentle on the skin and don’t cause irritation or allergic reactions. This makes it a great option for those who are prone to skin irritation or have allergies.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly fabric softener that is affordable, effective, and safe for the environment and your family, Ecover Fabric Softener is a great choice.

3. Method Fabric Softener

Method has an eco-friendly, plant-based fabric softener that’s free of harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. It’s formulated with biodegradable ingredients that are gentle on fabrics and kind to the environment and is not tested on animals, making it a perfect choice for people who are environmentally conscious.

This fabric softener comes in a recyclable bottle that’s easy to use and store. It leaves clothes feeling soft, fresh, and static-free, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

The formula of Method Fabric Softener is designed to soften clothes without leaving any residue or build-up. It’s gentle on fabrics and can be used in both high-efficiency and standard washing machines. It’s also safe for septic tanks.

4. Attitude Fabric Softener


Attitude is a well-known brand that offers a range of eco-friendly household cleaning products.

Their fabric softener is plant and mineral-based, making it a safe and effective option for those who want to avoid harsh chemicals. It is also vegan and cruelty-free, making it a great choice for those who want to support ethical and sustainable brands.

One of the best things about Attitude fabric softener is that it is free from toxic ingredients such as phthalates, formaldehyde, and synthetic fragrances. This makes it a safer option for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It’s also a biodegradable fabric softener, meaning that it breaks down quickly in the environment and does not contribute to pollution.

In terms of performance, Attitude fabric softener is effective at reducing static and leaving clothes feeling soft and fresh. It comes in a range of scents, including wildflowers, lavender, and pear nectar, so you can choose the one that suits your preferences.

5. The Laundress Fabric Conditioner

The Laundress Fabric Conditioner is a high-quality fabric softener that’s perfect for those who are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fabric softeners. It’s made with natural ingredients, such as soybean oil and cotton extract, and is free from harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances.

The Laundress Fabric Conditioner is gentle on fabrics, leaving them feeling soft and fresh without compromising their quality or lifespan. Additionally, the product comes in recyclable packaging and is cruelty-free, making it a sustainable and ethical choice for anyone who cares about the environment and animal welfare.

Overall, The Laundress Fabric Conditioner is a great option for those who want to soften their clothes while minimizing their impact on the planet.

Fabric softener sheets

6. Grab Green Stoneworks Dryer Sheets

Grab Green Stoneworks Dryer Sheets are a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional dryer sheets. Made with plant and natural mineral-based ingredients, they’re free from harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances.

They come in a recyclable paper box and are biodegradable, making them a great choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.

The sheets themselves are infused with essential oils, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean. Plus, they’re designed to reduce static and wrinkles, leaving your clothes feeling soft and smooth.

Wool dryer balls

7. Nellie’s All-Natural Dryer Balls

Nellie’s dryer balls are a popular eco-friendly alternative to liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Made from 100% New Zealand wool, these dryer balls are free of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, making them a great option for those with sensitive skin.

Not only do they help reduce wrinkles and static cling, but they also help shorten drying time, which can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, they’re reusable and can last for up to 1000 loads, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Nellie’s All-Natural Dryer Balls are also cruelty-free and come packaged in a super cute tin, which can be reused as a ‘piggy bank’ – perfect for saving up for your next round of dryer balls!

8. Kintor Wool Dryer Balls

Another eco-friendly fabric softening option are Kintor Wool Dryer Balls. These wool dryer balls are made from 100% organic New Zealand wool and are non-toxic, hypoallergenic and cruelty-free. They’re especially noted to be safe for babies and those with sensitive skin.

Kintor Wool Dryer Balls are reusable and can last for up to 1000 loads, making them super cost effective. Plus, they come packaged in a reusable bag which can help cut down on plastic waste.

Fabric softener pods

9. Dropps Fabric Softener Pods


Dropps fabric softener pods are an eco-friendly and convenient way to soften your clothes without harming the environment. These pods are made with natural and biodegradable ingredients, such as plant-based oils and softening agents.

They’re free of harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, making them gentle on your skin and clothing. The packaging is also eco-friendly, made with recyclable cardboard material.

Dropps is a company that’s committed to sustainability and reducing waste, and their fabric softener pods are a great example of that. Simply toss a pod in with your load of laundry and enjoy soft, fresh-smelling clothes without any guilt.

How to make environmentally friendly fabric softener

Bottle of homemade fabric softener

Making your own homemade fabric softener is super easy and only requires a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

That’s it! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Pour the distilled white vinegar into a large bowl.
  2. Add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (if desired). Lavender, peppermint, and citrus oils all work great and can help freshen up your laundry.
  3. Add the baking soda to the mixture.
  4. Once the fizz has settled down, pour the mixture in a container with a lid (an old laundry detergent bottle works great).
  5. To use, simply add 1/4-1/2 cup of your homemade fabric softener to your washing machine during the rinse cycle.

See, I told you it was easy! Not only is this fabric softener environmentally friendly, but it’s also much cheaper than buying store-bought fabric softener. Plus, you can customize the scent to your liking.

FAQs: Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener

What is a natural alternative to fabric softener?

A natural alternative to fabric softener is wool dryer balls, which are made from wool and are non-toxic and free from synthetic materials. They reduce drying time, soften clothes naturally without the use of harsh chemicals, and can last for up to 1000 loads.

What can I use instead of softener?

You can try using white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils as a natural alternative to fabric softener. Simply mix the ingredients together in an old laundry detergent bottle and use 1/4-1/2 cup during the rinse cycle of your washing machine. This is a much more cost-effective and eco-friendly option than store-bought fabric softeners.

Are fabric softeners bad for the planet?

Traditional fabric softeners contain harsh chemicals that can be bad for the environment, such as parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. It’s important to look for eco-friendly alternatives that are free from these chemicals and use natural ingredients instead.

Does eco friendly fabric softener work?

Yes, eco-friendly fabric softener is just as effective as traditional fabric softeners. They work by absorbing moisture and reducing drying time while still providing a soft texture to your clothes. Plus, they’re better for the environment due to their natural ingredients and biodegradable packaging.

Will eco friendly fabric softener damage my clothes?

No, eco-friendly fabric softeners will not damage your clothes. In fact, they can even help preserve the color and texture of your clothing by preventing fading and shrinking. It’s always important to check the instructions on the label to make sure you’re using the correct amount for each load.


When it comes to fabric softeners, there are many options available, but choosing an eco-friendly option can make a big difference for the environment.

Making the switch to eco-friendly fabric softeners is easy and budget-friendly, plus you can customize the scent to your liking. In this article, we have listed the top 9 best eco-friendly fabric softeners available in 2023, all of which are made from natural ingredients and are free from harmful chemicals.

With so many options available, it’s never been easier to make the switch and keep your clothes looking great without harming the planet.


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