Many of us add fabric softener to the clothes wash without a second thought – but a laundry expert has issued a warning for parents not to use it on baby clothes.
We all know the product leaves our washing soft and smelling fresh, but Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, has said that it can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin, as well as drastically reducing the flame resistance of the clothing.
Deyan explained baby clothes are usually treated with flame-resistant chemicals for safety reasons, but fabric softener reduces its effectiveness and make the material more susceptible to catching fire in the case of an accident or emergency.
He advised: “For this reason, avoid using fabric softener on your baby and children’s clothing and sleepwear, or fabrics such as velour, chenille, terry cloth, fleece, or any garments that are labelled as flame resistant.
“If in doubt, check the clothing label.”
If you want to keep your children’s clothing soft but avoid compromising its flame resistance, he recommends using a more gentle setting on the washing machine, such as delicate or wool, to make it less vigorous.
Wash it a lower temperature with a mild non-bio detergent, and avoid using a tumble dryer and allow the clothing to dry naturally.
You can look at the care label on garments to see if they have been treated with flame-resistant chemicals, and if they have been Deyan advises not to wash them at high temperatures as “50 degrees or more is too hot”.
Avoid soaking the clothing for long periods of time as it can cause the flame-resistant chemicals to break down, and you should also never bleach them for the same reasons.
Laundryheap said the Flammable Fabrics Act introduced in the US in 1953 states that it found fabric softener can reduce the flame resistance of textiles due to the build-up of chemicals, and that the products themselves contain emulsifiers and alcohol ethoxylates – both of which are flammable.