The Laundress Just Recalled Its Fabric Conditioners Because It May Contain Carcinogens

Read this before you start your next load of laundry.

There’s nothing like the scent and feel of fresh laundry. A wide range of detergents, softeners and dryer sheets can offer you a small taste of luxury every time you finish a load.

However, in light of a recent product recall from the detergent company The Laundress, it’s worth thinking twice about which products you’re using. Here’s everything you need to know about the recall, including which products were affected, why and how you can get a refund.

What products did The Laundress recall?

The Laundress recalled 800,000 units of fabric conditioners, also known as fabric softeners. These units were sold between 2011 and November 2022; more than 700,000 of these units have already been recalled due to a bacterial contamination in December 2022.

Why did The Laundress recall its fabric conditioners?

Eco Friendly Organic Laundry Detergent And Soap Gel Bottle With Branch Of Green Leaves, Towel And Yellow Duck On Table In BathroomPhotoguns/Getty Images

In a statement to Consumer Reports, the Laundress states, “[We], in collaboration with the Consumer Product Safety Commissions and Health Canada, voluntarily recalled fabric conditioners that might contain an impurity, ethylene oxide, which, in the event of significant and direct long-term exposure, can cause adverse health effects.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ethylene oxide can damage the DNA, increasing the risk for certain cancers, including non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, myeloma, lymphocytic leukemia and breast cancer.

In the case of the fabric conditioners, “[t]he most likely exposure pathway […] is inhalation—you’re opening it up and smelling its scent and you do it over and over again,” according to James Dickerson, PhD, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. Ethylene oxide can also be absorbed in the body through ingestion, but likely not through skin contact.

How do I know if I have a recalled product?

You will know if you have a recalled product if its name matches one of the fabric conditioner names below. Additionally, check to see if it has been manufactured during the past decade. If so, you will definitely need to take immediate action.

The specific products affected are:

  • Fabric Conditioner Classic (sold in 16 ounces, 1-gallon, and a 5-gallon pail)
  • Fabric Conditioner Lady (16-ounce)
  • Fabric Conditioner Celebration (16-ounce)
  • Fabric Conditioner Number 10 (16-ounce)
  • Fabric Conditioner Fresh Wash (16-ounce)
  • 723 Fabric Conditioner (16-ounce)
  • Fabric Baby Conditioner (16-ounce)
  • Bulk Fabric Conditioner (1-pound)
  • Bulk Fabric Conditioner Baby (1-pound)
  • Fabric Conditioner Baby Classic (2-ounce)
  • Fabric Conditioner Packette Classic (15-milliliter)
  • Fabric Conditioner Packette Baby (15-milliliter)
  • Fabric Conditioner Aidan and Anais (16-ounce)
  • Fabric Conditioner Crate & Barrel (33-ounce)

What should I do if I have a recalled product?

First things first, The Laundress says that “[c]onsumers should discontinue the use of any fabric conditioners.” Then, you can file for a refund by doing the following:

  1. Locate the lot code on your unit of fabric conditioner, then write your initials and the date next to it in marker.
  2. Take a photo of this and the receipt, if you still have it.
  3. Email the photos to [email protected]

Alternatively, submit a refund request on The Laundress’ website here, or, if you bought the product directly from The Laundress, simply give customer service your email to look up the purchase.

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Van Van Cleave
Van Van Cleave (they/them) is a writer and artist working out of Oakland, CA. The youngest in a long line of DIYers and creatives, Van fancies themself an encyclopedia of practicable knowledge for better living. They are passionate about all things food, home, garden, and lifestyle. If you've ever dreamed of befriending the Fab Five, Van gets you, and may just be the next best thing.