Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Fabric conditioner

Acting on a tip from a friend recently I've just checked on the web about the use of vinegar in place of fabric conditioner. It seems to be a widely recognised truth that you can put distilled white vinegar in the fabric conditioner drawer and it will make your towels, nappies etc soft, and without damaging their absorbency (which is what happens with commercial fabric conditioners).
I would try it now but I only have the brown sort of vinegar. I suspect it wouldn't matter if I used the brown sort.
Mind you, I've never been able to work out why anyone thinks it's necessary to have fabric conditioner at all. I think one reason is if you wear artificial fibres, which collect dirt and static electricity (or rather collect static electricity and dirt, the latter being partly due to the former). Certainly supposedly woolly sweaters that have a proportion of acrylic or nylon get dirty very much more quickly than real wool ones. But generally we don't use man made fibres, at least not if we can help it.
Another reason is perhaps that cotton towels come out a bit hard if they aren't hung in the garden to dry. But we generally do hang them out in the wind. And anyway a vigorous scrub with a rasping bath towel never did anyone any harm.
So we've never used fabric conditioner and don't intend to start now. And to judge by this site fabric conditioners are extremely poisonous and may be responsible for a lot of allergy and illness, indeed probably cancer too. So vinegar or nothing seems to be the wisest choice.

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