Wow, GAIN fabric softener scent lasts a Long!! time

larsi_gwApril 26, 2010

I have used April Fresh Downy for decades and decades. Well, actually my Mom & my Grandma have used it for decades , and that is what I grew up with. I love the soft, and comforting scent. Since I'v been doing my own laundry for almost 20 years....I too have always used April Fresh Downy. It never overpowers me, I never itch, it has never "gunked" up any machine I have ever owned (from a cheapie Frigidaire, to top of the line European models) and it really makes clothes super soft, reduces wrinkles and it has never made my bath towels non-absorbent!

I had a substantial coupon for GAIN fabric softener, so I thought I'd give it a try. It makes my clothes soft, helps with wrinkles, does not make me itch at all....BUT, the scent never goes away. My lounge pants/sweat pants I wear around the house were washed about 4 days ago...and the smell of GAIN just keeps wafting to my my nose. When I walk in our closet (quite large, walk in closet), the entire closet smells like GAIN (and I only did 2 loads with GAIN, so maybe there are 12 t shirts in the closet that were laundered with GAIN). I washed 2 bath towels last Thursday, and when you open the linen closet...Bam!! GAIN smell right away. Is this normal? While it is actually a very "fresh" smell, and does not give me a headache or anything, it seems odd and very unnatural that the smell can last and be so persistent. Downy never did this, ever (even if I doubled the used amount). I wear a little fragrance every day, and the GAIN smell has taken over my cologne (granted I wear a very small amount)...but I feel now that I am wearing Eau de GAIN!!! :-o

Anyone else experience this with GAIN fabric softener? Thanks!

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Fabric softeners are a nasty soup of chemicals and grease. Heaven knows what they have added to make the smell last a long time. The manufacturers have convinced most consumers that their laundry (and sofa, and dog) must smell "good". Personally, I wouldn't use the toxic stuff. I like my clothes to smell like clean clothes and my cat to smell like a cat. LFS can also gum up your machine.

If you like smelly clothes you might search this site for recipes for essential oil mixtures for the washer. They are less toxic and probably won't last as long, but they do smell good right out of the washer and dryer.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:27PM
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I wasn't going to post a "green" message here but since oregpsnow opened the door, I guess I'll walk through it ... I posted this information on another thread but I'll post it here as well.

I'm not quite as harsh ... we all make our own decisions. I think if you have the information you can make decisions that are best for you and your family.

A couple of years ago I decided to really look at the products I was using in my home (the smell of chlorine on my kids' sippy cups coming out of the dishwasher is what started my search).

Its quite eye opening. We assume if they sell it it must be safe. Not always true. I only wish I had done more reading before they were born  oh well  doing the best we can :)

There is a great website, Healthy Child Healthy World, which contains some great information.

I pulled this from their site re: fabric softeners:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the 1990s, the following is a list of chemicals in fabric softener products, most in untested combinations. Liquid fabric softeners additionally may contain formaldehyde.

* Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
* Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
* Ethanol: On the EPAÂs Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
* Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant.
* A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
* Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPAÂs Hazardous Waste list.
* Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
* Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
* Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
* Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.

To hide the chemical smell, companies load dryer sheets full of chemical fragrances, which are potentially carcinogenic.

Not to mention most mainstream brands are made from animal fat (tallow). This is from an article in "Wired".

Dihydrogenated tallow dimenthyl ammonium chloride: A derivative of rendered fat from cattle, sheep, and horses. Just boil it down and mix with ammonium. After a series of chemical pit stops, out comes a quaternary ammonium compound, or quat a positive ion in which the hydrogen is replaced by long-chain organic molecules. Quats effectively coat your clothing with lipids, making fibers soft to the touch. These fats also make fabric a bit less absorbent donÂt use on towels or cloth diapers and the positive charge neutralizes static electricity. There are a few other quats in Downy, with easily pronouncable names like 1-methyl-1-tallowamidazolinium methylsulfate.

There are a slew of other chemicals needed in order to tame the animal fat. Calcium chloride keeps it from clumping, PEG 8000 keeps it from separating, kathon CG keeps it from getting rancid, perfume masks the animal smell, Ethanol and isopropanol keep it from freezing and solidifying into lard, and deionized water keeps it from yellowing.

Whatever you choose ... best wishes!

PS. I think a lot of "moms" and "grandmas" did things we wouldn't do today. We have more information so I think we make better choices :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Thanks for the responses. While I will not rabidly defend the use of fabric softeners and chemicals...I will offer my 2 cents!

I like to consider myself "green". We have an amazing solar array we installed at our home, that will power 3 large A/C units, the pool motor, 2 refrigerators, the washing machine, TVs and almost every other small househole appliance! Many, many months we have a negative Power bill (we are putting power back on the grid). We recycle everything, we installed an amazing sprinker system that waters according to weather needs...not just a timer. I have not used plastic grocery bags in years, all 3 of our cars meet CA ULEV III status, etc, etc.

I have tried & tried doing laundry with no softener and with vinegar. No matter what detergent I try, without softener the clothes are more prone to wrinkles and they are not as soft.

I have taken this list of chemicals in fabric softeners to both my general M.D, and my holistic acupunctutist & herbalist (about 2 years ago). Yes, in a perfect world we would use none of these horrible chemicals. But, the small amount of fabric softener we use, diluted with gallons of water in a washing machine is so harmless. The cancer risks of these chemicals is real and important...but the levels we are using during a rinse cycle, is pefectly safe. Honestly, just breathing our air, eating most produce sold in the USA, using toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray, colouring our hair to hide the grays, etc, etc....Is much more of a concern that a small capful of fabric softener :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:59AM
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I have noticed that Gain fabric softener smell does last a long time and it is strong. I normally don't use fabric softener unless I am washing a load of delicates made of a lot of synthetic fibers to control the dreaded static cling build up that happens when I wear certain clothing. A bottle of fabric softener will last me about 2 years. I have a top loading washer and I only use about 1/2 the recommended amount and my clothing still smells of Gain. (The same thing happens with Suavatil as well).

I notice that the apple mango tango isn't as strong as the original Gain scent, but it is still kind of strong. Right now I am wearing a shirt that I washed about a week ago, and it smells fruity like my shampoo.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 10:20AM
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I like Gain FS, but it doesnt seem to do much for static cling in the winter time, Downy was better at controling that, but cost a lot more. Personally, I have no issues whats in it, it has never hurts me to date, or my parents who are in there 70's and 80's. I worry more about processed food than FS these days.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 4:49AM
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I agree with you 100%. I too found that Gain FS did not do as much for static cling, and even in loads with items that are not static prone, the Gain FS did not soften my clothes as well as Original April Fresh Downy (yet perfumed it to a gross amount).

I too firmly believe the small amount of Fabric Softener used, diluted with gallons and gallons of water in a rinse harmless and totally safe. I am not disputing that FS has "bad" chemicals in it, in fact I agree the chemicals are most likely toxic & dangerous in large levels, but the amount used in a washing machine are trivial. My Mom, Grandma, and everyone in my family has used Downy FS since it's debut in the 1960's...and knock on wood: No health issues at all.

I too think processed food, hormones and antibiotics in food are the greatest threat to our health. I think many of the Western nations are poisoning ourselves, with the crap we eat!!

Over the years I keep trying Snuggle, Suavitel (OMG, now that smell will not go away ever, ick), German Vernel, Ecover, Method, Target brand, etc... and I always miss my April Fresh Downy. Just like I will never try Tide he Powder again, I will always just use my April Fresh Downy FS. It works, I love the smell, it does not bother my skin at all and I use very little (I dilute it with water before adding to my FS dispenser). I actually love my Downy FS!! :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:56AM
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For those who are looking for a "green" liquid fabric softener that works well should seriously consider Seventh Generation. I bought their FS and am using light amounts in my clothing in recent weeks. It adds just a touch of lavender smell, which I've augmented with additional lavender essential oil, and just makes clothes feel soft. No obnoxious, long-lasting odors. Just soft, fresh smelling clothes.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 3:48PM
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I'll join in the fabric softener commentary. I tried a sample of Bounce one time and could not stand the fakey chemical smell, plus the towels wouldn't get me dry after I used Bounce.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why people want their clean laundry to have an artificial smell. The comments above about what's actually in fabric softeners give me the willies. I want my laundry to be CLEAN and smell like NOTHING. I don't want oily, gunky chemicals deposited on my fabrics - touching my skin. I do laundry to get everything (bacteria, dirt, stains, chemicals) OUT of the fabrics. That's why I use the no-smell detergents and, when I need a rinsing agent, I use vinegar. And I always use a second rinse.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:52AM
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livebetter, please post the link to the MSDS sheets you said you are quoting from in your post. This looks more like the unsubstantiated info posted on most 3rd-party sites that claim "toxicity" to almost every household cleaning product. I suppose if I sat in a corner and drank a few gallons of the stuff I might not feel well, but that's true of anything, including water, lettuce, etc.

Actual MSDS sheets (P&G's site provided below, easy to find any others on your own) list ethanol as the only chemical of concern, and after being diluted in water and run through your dryer this presents far less danger to you than drinking a single beer.

I am not preaching pros or cons of FS use, liquid or sheets, but do have a personal peeve against the persistent continuation of misinformation on the web.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 12:57PM
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dianne47 -- Using any fabric softener on towels will decrease their drying ability. It coats them with an oily substance, so it can't absorb the water as well. I haven't used it on my towels in about 10 years. When I go to my mom's house and wash my hands I can't believe (a) how soft her towels are (LOL) and (b) how crappy they dry my hands!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 1:40PM
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dudleyfuddpucker, I think I was clear in my post when I referenced the "Healthy Child Healthy World" site as my source for that information. I also included a link to their website.

Healthy Child Healthy World is a nonprofit organization that includes: scientists, physicians, activists and parents implementing change to protect children's health.

Some of the people involved in this organization are; Roger Barnett of Shaklee, Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation, Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Dr. Alan Greene and many more.

I also said that we all make our own decisions. I think if clean laundry is possible without the junk than thats good for me and my family.

The MSDS you referenced did not provide a full list of ingredients.

There are also thousands of chemicals used in products that arent tested for safety (especially in combination with all the other chemicals they get mixed with).

And yes everything is a "chemical" (I know even water) but we are talking about "synthetic" chemicals.

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) conducted a study of newborn blood. They found babies are born with over 200 synthetic chemicals running though their veins. Most of these chemicals created since the 1950s.

Of the 287 chemicals they detected in umbilical cord blood, they know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.

They had this to say about childrens exposure to such chemicals:
Chemical exposures in the womb or during infancy can be dramatically more harmful than exposures later in life. Substantial scientific evidence demonstrates that children face amplified risks from their body burden of pollution; the findings are particularly strong for many of the chemicals found in this study, including mercury, PCBs and dioxins. Children's vulnerability derives from both rapid development and incomplete defense systems.

I think to stick your head in the sand and declare that "Grandma never got sick so it cant be bad" is silly. If youve done do diligence and done the reading and still think it's not harmful then thats your choice. But do some reading first there are legitimate sources of information available.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:28PM
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livebetter said: I think I was clear in my post when I referenced the "Healthy Child Healthy World" site as my source for that information.

No, actually you said (wrote) this: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)...

That was copied directly from your post above, and it is clear that you indicate you listed those ingredients off the MSDS.

You also said: The MSDS you referenced did not provide a full list of ingredients.

That is not the purpose of MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). They are not general ingredients, but are required (by law) to list any and all chemicals with any hazardous and potentially hazardous effects, or possibility of health effects of any kind. Also other indicators such as boiling point, flash point, etc. but that is not relevant to this conversation (I worked for years as an engineer in an industry that dealt with truly hazardous chemicals, the kind that kill you in seconds, so I am intimately familiar with this topic).

As far as the "Healthy Child World" web site: like any 3rd-party site, unless they reference reports, describe testing methods, etc. etc. it carries about as much weight as your typical Craig's List posting. People put way too much weight into statements because they "saw it on the web" without truly realizing anyone can post anything on any web site and claim knowledge.

As far as your last post on "sticking my head in the sand" you couldn't possibly be more wrong. As noted, I'm a technical person (two advanced engineering degrees) with 25+ years of experience in electrical and chemical industries, and am more than familiar with this topic (not FS in particular, but chemicals, MSDS, toxicity, etc. in general). From my very experienced perspective, taking quotes form 3rd-party web sites that cannot or do not back their claims with lab evidence is "not doing your due diligence."

To any others reading this, by all means don't take anyone's word here, not even mine. Research and learn for yourself. Just always keep it in your mind that reading a statement that says "what you are eating/using right now is killing you" that has nothing to back it up has about as much value as the 10 seconds it took the author to type it. Insist on factual evidence, backed by reports and using established testing methods. Anything else is [by definition] just somebody's opinion, and we all know how are that'll get you.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:38PM
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Ooops. That last sentence should read: "Anything else is [by definition] just somebody's opinion, and we all know how far that'll get you."

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:21PM
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livebetter, I also read up on common household cleaners and promptly stopped using them. I also wish I had done it years ago. That said, my sister uses Downey and it just doesn't go away. I've washed her clothes in my washer and the only detergent that goes in my washer is all natural. Well, after washing her clothes with mine, my clothes came out smelling like hers! It took a few washes to get the smell out of my clothes and I don't even use her fabric softener!
For anyone who is interested, now that the "natural" kick has taken off you can find quite a few different companies that make natural softener sheets. The smell doesn't last as long as conventional FS but the sheets help reduce static and soften the clothes.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 11:43AM
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dudleyfuddpucker, Im not here to argue any facts with you but I must respond to your comments.

I'm not sure you read my ENTIRE post ... what I wrote was:

There is a great website, Healthy Child Healthy World, which contains some great information.

I pulled this from their site re: fabric softeners:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the 1990s

Is it only clear to me that Im referencing the HCHW site?? (I said I pulled this from THEIR site)

The fact that you would compare Healthy Child Healthy World or the Environmental Working Group to a "Craigslist posting" shows you have no knowledge whatsoever of them or their work. They are legitimate organizations staffed with scientists, doctors, engineers, CEOs, etc and they do reference specific studies (but youd actually have to go to the site and read it).

I pulled this from the EWG site:

EWG's ground-breaking January 2010 report, Off the Books, documented that a loophole in the toxics control law has permitted industry to keep secret more than 17,000 chemicals. The report prompted a front-page story in the Washington Post and spurred the Environmental Protection Agency to begin denying some confidentiality claims. Regulators in 13 states asked Congress to crack down on excessive secrecy. EWG senior scientist David Andrews briefed Congressional and EPA officials.

And for the record, no where did I write that YOU stuck your head in the sand.

I think I was also pretty clear that it is up to individuals to make up their own minds (I assume the readers of this forum are intelligent enough to read and make their own decisions). This is why I posted links to the sites for them to read if they choose.

I believe I said do your "do diligence" and read. Too many people sit back and say, "they sell it so it must be safe" or "the MSDS says its safe". I think history has shown that "they" dont always know if something is safe.

Take flame retardants as just ONE example. Different chemicals were approved for use and then years later were deemed unsafe and taken off the market (after they doused children's sleepwear and clothes with them).

The US is now taking action to remove Deca-BDE from the market as it can potentially cause cancer and may impact brain function (please see my link if youre interested in reading FACT not fiction).

You are fooled if you think every one of the chemicals in use today has been tested for safety. Even if it has been tested, they do not test the safety of the chemicals in combination with each other.

Nuf said, make up your own mind.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:12PM
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livebetter, my last response to this nonsense.

You said: The fact that you would compare Healthy Child Healthy World or the Environmental Working Group to a "Craigslist posting" shows you have no knowledge whatsoever of them or their work.

Actually I am very familiar with HCHW, and while they have a noble mission and some valid contributors, I can also easily find over 2,000 submissions by authors titled "Guest Blogger," as well as countless others by people listing no known training, education or experience in the subjects they are discussing. The chemical list you entered in your first post was pulled from a submission by Berthold Bond, who claims no credentials other than her "masters in One Light Healing Touch, hands-on energy healing," and sells 'green living' books and products for a living. Now I'm sure that's an absolutely reliable source, AND that there's positively no conflict of interest involved whatsoever in dissing the 'other guys' (sarcasm strongly intended in that last sentence).

That is what I mean when likening it to a Craig's List posting, and I make no apologies for the association. Most of these organizations are public forums, and even though there may be big (or sometimes legitimate) names associated with them, only a fool's fool would believe that legitimacy trickles down to everything contained, posted or listed therein.

And this is the crux of my argument from the start. I don't care what anyone thinks of FS, or any other household substance, or whether or not they want to use it. My beef is with the continued and repeated dissemination of invalid or unsubstantiated info just because someone "saw it on the web." You reposted it because Berthold did, and she got it from another web site who reposted it from one before that, and so on. Repeating a rumor over and over does not make it fact. Only actual evidence backed by solid science does this.

I do actually agree 100% with your last statement on "make up your own mind," but would add "do so only with valid scientific data backed by sound evidence and/or testing, provided by people trained and knowledgeable in the subject of discussion."

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:46PM
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Larsi, my apologies that your post became a "forum" for discussion not related to your original question.

Kudos to you for your great strides in keeping it "green"! We make efforts here as well but my main concern is the indoor air quality in my home and how what I do/use could affect my kids. As posted above, their systems just cant handle the chemical load that our adult systems can.

dudleyfuddpucker, I didnt realize that two people voicing their opinions is considered "nonsense". We can agree to disagree.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 5:13PM
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