9 Best Plastic Free Fabric Softeners for a Non-Toxic Laundry

Fabric softeners are used as a part of the laundry routine to keep clothes soft, wrinkle-free, and smelling fresh after the wash. A fabric softener may be quite useful in households but is not always good for the environment or for your health. Here below we explain why.


Is Fabric Softener Bad?

Traditional fabric softeners release chemicals that pollute the environment and endanger our health. Furthermore, the softeners come in plastic bottles that again add to the ever-growing problem of plastic waste generation and pollution of landfills and water bodies, unless they are recycled. 

The cleaning agents mostly contain harsh chemicals and strong scents, the production process of softeners will form methanol and other toxic by-products and the fabric with added softener will release several irritants over time (such as isobenzene, styrene, trimethylbenzene and phenol, etc.), which will pose certain risks to human health.  Sensory irritation (SI), and pulmonary irritation (PI) is what has been found in a 2000 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.

An eco-friendly fabric softener uses natural ingredients that can keep you safe from any toxic effects of chemicals and also keep the environment clean and pollution free. It’s time to switch to eco-friendly fabric softeners that are zero-waste and proven to be effective and reliable alternatives to conventional fabric softeners. 


9 Best Plastic Free & Non-Toxic Fabric Softeners 

There are many fabric softener brands available in the market but only a few of them are plastic-free in their packaging. We are providing a detailed list of the nine best plastic-free fabric softeners that are committed to contributing towards reducing plastic pollution and providing products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This helps us continue the hard work we put into researching products and solutions.

Please Note: We debated in length about PVA / PVOH in the article whose link is listed here below. Some of these products are not “technically” plastic-free fabric softeners because they are made of dissolvable polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH/PVA). For full transparency, we declare under each product description where this ingredient is used or not.


Related: Plastic Free Laundry Detergent: 15 Eco-Friendly Options


1. Clean People All Natural Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets

Clean People Plastic-free Fabric Softeners

Clean People is an all natural fabric softener that is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. This biodegradable, plastic free fabric softener is free of animal products and contains only natural, plant-based ingredients. This means no phosphates, parabens, phthalates, chlorine bleach, artificial dyes, petroleum, ammonia. This company was founded in California and all of their products are made in America and Canada.

Size: 160 sheets

Scent: Fragrance Free, Sweet Petals & Vanilla, Spring Scent, Lavender, Fresh Clean.


Packaging: Recyclable cardboard box

Country of Origin: Made in USA



Related: 9 Plastic Free Soap Dispensers for Eco-Conscious Individuals


2. Molly’s Suds Plant-Based Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets for Sensitive Skin

Molly's Suds Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets

Molly’s Suds have spent years developing these fabric softener dryer sheets made in the USA with 97% plant-based ingredients. Unlike conventional dryer sheets, which are made with animal fats, waxes, dyes, synthetic fragrances and ‘forever plastics’, these sheets are gentle for sensitive skin, elimininate the static and leave your clothes very soft. The products is vegan and certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

TIP: to save money, you can also switch to the Molly’s Suds wool dryer balls sourced from New Zealand completely cruelty-free, as these will last you for 1,000 washes!!!

Size: 120 sheets

Scent: Naturally scented with essential oils: Peppermint or Lavender, or No scent.

PVA/ PVOH: no.

Packaging: recyclable and 100% biodegradable cardboard packaging

Country of Origin: Made in the USA.



Related: Plastic Free Dish Soap: The 7 Best Eco-Friendly Brands


3. SuperBee Wool Dryer Balls (Natural Plastic-Free Alternative to Fabric Softener)

SuperBee Wool Dryer Balls

These fragrance free, eco-friendly dryer balls help soften your clothes without the need for dryer sheets or fabric softener. Just throw the three balls into your dryer with every load to reduce drying time by 30% and will last up to 1,000 loads. Therfore, it’s a very economical way to soften your clothes.

If you prefer your clean clothes to have some fragrance, you can simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil directly to the wool balls and set them aside for a couple of hours. In your next wash, they will infuse your clothes with a subtle, chemical-free fragrance. Please note that essential oils may discolor the surface of the balls but this will not impact their performance.

TIP: We use this product with the HexaWash – a plastic-free laundry detergent made only of magnesium pellets and we love this all natural combination!

Size: 3 balls made from 100% unbleached New Zealand sheep’s wool

Scent: no fragrance.


Packaging: plastic-free packaging (recyclable cardboard box)

Country of Origin: From New Zealand. Warehouses in USA, Europe, and Thailand.



Related: Using Home Waste for Safe and Sustainable DIY Dog Grooming Products


4. Jialing Natural Non-Toxic Fabric Softener

Jialiving All-Natural Non-Toxic Fabric Softener

This product is great because is simply based on natural ingredients like baking soda, citric acid, and essential oils. All products are handmade with all-natural and eco-friendly ingredients by Millie Liu, the owner of Jialiving in Los Angeles, California.

Size: 3 LB

Scent: This product is available in only one version and includes all these essential oils: Lavandin Grosso Essential Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Rosemary Extract, Organic Lavender Flowers, Cedarwood Essential Oil, and Organic Lavandin Grosso Essential Oil.

PVA/ PVOH: no.

Packaging: The product is packaged plastic-free in a jute pouch for the first purchase, but then refills can be bought packaging simply in a paper bag.

Country of Origin: Handmade in Los Angeles, USA



5. Tru Earth Fabric Softener Eco Strips 

TruEarth plastic-free fabric softener

Tru Earth designed an industry’s first ultra-concentrated laundry softener sheet speciafically for your washing machine, not your dryer. This liquid alternative is therefore to be used with your plastic free laundry detergent inside any standard or HE washing machines in both hot and cold water settings. The formula they use is gentle, paraben-free, phosphate-free, cruelty-free, septic and gray water safe.

Size: 32 or 64 strips

Scent: Fragrance Free, Fresh Linen.

PVA/ PVOH: yes.

Packaging: Recyclable cardboard box

Country of Origin: made in Canada



Related: Plastic Free Toilet Paper: 13 Best Eco-Friendly Options


6. FREY Fabric Conditioner Dryer Sheets

Frey Plastic-Free Dryer Sheets

The FREY brand offers liquid fabric conditioner (in lastic though!) and plastic-free dryer sheets. These products are made with natural ingredients. 

They contains essential oil for effective cleaning and fresh fragrance. 

It does not contain sulfates, synthetic dyes, or parabens. It is one of the most suitable choices considering your health, skin, and clean environment.

Size: 30 sheets per pack

Scent: Version 1: Sandalwood, Bergamot, and Clove. Version 2: Cedarwood, Oakmoss, and Amber. Version 3: Jasmin, Rose, White Cedar. Version 4: Fragrance free. 

PVA/ PVOH: yes.

Packaging: Recyclable cardboard box

Country of Origin: n.a. (we couldn’t find this info!)



Related: The 10 Best Zero-Waste Cleaning Products


7. Public Goods Fabric Softener Sheets

Fabric Softener-Sheets

Public Goods fabric softener sheets are made from plant extracts and do not have any toxic ingredients. The sheets are free from phosphate, gluten, phthalates, and parabens.

They won’t release any harsh chemicals into the clothes or the environment. The dryer sheets have no fragrance but provide a clean and fresh feel. The product is tested on humans and found to be safe.

Size: 80 rayon sheets (plant-based)

Scent: no fragrance.


Packaging: Recyclable cardboard box

Country of Origin: Made in Wisconsin, USA



Related: Homemade Plastic-Free Cleaning Spray


8. Ecozone Hypoallergenic & Organic Soap Nuts

Ecozone Hypoallergenic Organic Soap Nuts

Ecozone organic soap nuts, also called soap berries, are derived from the dried shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree fruit and contain a natural soap called saponin to effectively lift dirt and grime from your clothes, but they also work as a fabric softener so that basically you don’t need to buy one extra!

They are obviously 100% plant-based and all-natural, since they are harvested directly from a tree. They are also allergy-friendly, economical and an effective sustainable alternative to a standard fabric softener. Out tip: Each dose of nuts can be reused up to four times, making this product very affordable. At the end of life, simply place the berries in your home compost.

Size: 10.58 ouce / 300 grams which lasts 100 washes (for your first product trial!) or 35.2 ounce / 1kg, which lasts for 330 washes

Scent: no scent.

PVA/ PVOH: no.

Packaging: Cotton string pouch.

Country of Origin: from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, which gros in Asia.



Related: 12 Plastic Free Shampoo Brands You Can Feel Good About Using


9. Lucent Globe Zero-Waste Fabric Softener Sheets

Lucent Globe has developed these zero-waste fabric softener sheets that are plant-based and cruelty free. Their formula is gentle on fabrics yet tough on stains, and ensures a soft and fresh feel without the use of harsh chemicals.

Size: 60 or 80 washes

Scent: Ocean Breeze, or Unscented.

PVA/ PVOH: yes.

Packaging: Recyclable cardboard box

Country of Origin: China



Personal Tip: Buy Only Fragrance-free Cleaning Products (& Fragrance-free Cosmetics)

If you truly want to avoid further industrial chemicals in your life, avoid products that mention “fragrance” of their ingredients list. Why? Because by law businesses and large corporations are not required to list the constituent ingredients in the fragrances they use. The reason is that the fragrance and the cosmetics industry lobby hard not to disclose fragrance ingredients, arguing that these are trade secrets and needed to be protected as confidential business information. We’ve unpacked this topic in a separate article about plastic-free perfumes.


Plastic Free Laundry Detergents


 All Natural Fabric Softeners? Yes, There are Fabric Softener Alternatives

If you are happy with having no scent in your clothes at all, then these completely natural fabric softener alternatives will do the job on a very affordable price. Here is the list of our favorites:

  • White vinegar (with or without essential oils)
  • Baking soda (with or without essential oils)
  • Epsom salt (with or without essential oils)
  • Wool dryer balls (with or without essential oils)
  • Soap nuts

We’ll place it on our list to write an article that explains in full how to use these alternatives. It’s pretty simple thogh, and that saves you money as most of these items are already in your house.


Related: 7 Plastic-Free Essential Oils for Your Home


Conclusion: Look at the Ingredients and Packaging of Your Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener 

Conventional fabric softener contains chemicals that might generate skin problems and other health issues. Plastic containers also add more waste after disposal, severely affecting the environment. 

So it is necessary to choose an eco-friendly alternative for sustainable living. Eco-friendly laundry fabric softeners can keep you protected from adverse environmental impacts. There has been a conscious shift observed in customer preferences toward zero-waste and plastic-free products that help maintain a cleaner and safer environment. 

Companies are now providing several options to switch to zero-waste and sustainable alternatives to conventional fabric softeners to meet the increased demand for eco-friendly softeners. These products help you to keep your cleaning plastic-free are formulated with plant-based natural ingredients to eliminate the effect of chemicals and synthetic plastic components. 

The packaging is also made recyclable or reusable with refill options. We all need to include such products in our daily use to eliminate the harmful effect of plastic waste and make our environment safer and healthier. 

Browse the I’m Plastic Free directory to discover plastic pollution solutions.


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