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What’s in Wrinkle Release Spray, and How Does It Work?

All eight ingredients in this shirt smoother, explained (yep, even butyl acrylate methacrylic acid copolymer)

We’re often told that you should never eat anything (or put anything on your body) if you don’t recognize everything on the ingredients list. But since most of us have no idea what xanthan gum or potassium benzoate are — or more importantly, what they’re doing to our bodies — we’re decoding the ingredients in the many things Americans put in (and on, or near) themselves.

This edition: Downy Wrinkle Releaser Spray, which is made from eight separate ingredients that we’ve broken down in the exact order they appear on their website.

The Ingredients

1) Water: This acts primarily as a carrier for the other ingredients, helping deliver an even, well-dispersed mist when you pull the spray trigger.

2) Alcohol: In the case of this specific Wrinkle Releaser spray, the addition of alcohol helps the other ingredients meld together, again contributing to the delivery of an even, well-dispersed mist onto that shirt you had in your suitcase for three weeks.

3) PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone: This is a type of silicone, which acts mainly as a lubricant and conditioning agent, and it can be found in many skin care products, too. It relaxes wrinkles by lubricating rigid fabric fibers, which then fall flat thanks to the power of gravity.

4) Butyl Acrylate Methacrylic Acid Copolymer: Similar to PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, this ingredient (which has a very, very long-ass name) works as a softening agent — it lubricates the fabric fibers, making them lay flatter and feel softer to the touch.

5) Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin: This is an odor-removing agent, and it works by trapping volatile, odor-causing molecules, preventing those molecules from binding to the odor receptors in your nose. Basically, it forms odor-blocking bubbles around odor-causing molecules, preventing them from stinking up the place.

6) Fragrance: Like many companies, Downy doesn’t release the individual ingredients that make up their fragrance, only noting on the bottle that their Wrinkle Releaser Spray smells “fresh,” whatever that means. (Because fragrance recipes are considered to be proprietary information, the FDA doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients that make up a fragrance.)

7) Benzisothiazolinone: Benzisothiazolinone is found in many cleaning products (laundry detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers) due to its antimicrobial and preservative properties. It can, however, irritate the skin and eyes, so obviously avoid spraying your face with this product (and if you have seriously sensitive skin, maybe test this product on a small area of your clothes to see how your body reacts before going full ham).

8) Nitrogen: This is a propellant: It helps propel the product out of the bottle.

The Takeaway

This Wrinkle Release Spray is basically just lube for your clothes, helping them lay flat and relaxed, as opposed to crinkled and stiff. It may not be as effective as ironing, but it should work in a pinch.