I stopped using fabric softener and dryer sheets in my laundry a long time ago. Did you know that the products commonly used to prevent static cling and leave our clothes and towels smelling nice in most households today are actually toxic? It’s true.
I remember, when Ben was born and I discovered there were “special” dryer sheets to use with baby clothes, wondering why I needed to use a different dryer sheet with his clothes vs. my own. If the dryer sheets I was using already were bad for babies, why weren’t they bad for mommies and daddies, too? Here’s why . . .
Fabric softeners and dryers contain chemicals that when used on laundry day permeate the clothes we wear and the towels we use. These chemicals get on our skin and then are absorbed into our bodies where they can begin damaging internal organs, including our immune and neurological systems, maybe even cause cancer. Here are a couple of articles you can read about this:
Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emmissions
Environmental Working Group ratings for fabric softeners (>80% receieved a D or F rating)
With chemicals such as alpha terpineol, benzyl acetate, benyl alcohol, chloroform, dichlorobenzene, and ethyl acetate, every family is better off eliminating these products.
How to Decrease the Chemicals in Your Laundry Room
So what do you do instead? Well . . . just stop using fabric softener and dryer sheets. When we first stopped, I wasn’t aware of the alternatives. So for a few years, we just had clothes that weren’t quite as soft, sometimes had a little static cling, and didn’t smell as sweet as in the past. But then one day someone mentioned wool dryer balls on Facebook. I was so excited to learn about them and went looking for where I could buy them. I discovered that I could easily make wool dryer balls myself. But even better, I also discovered that they could be purchased at a reasonable price. I found it to actually be a little more economical to buy them. I use these wool dryer balls that I purchased from Amazon, and add a few drops of essential oils to add a wonderful clean scent to all of my laundry.
Benefits of Wool Dryer Balls
- reduce wrinkles
- reduce drying time by 25% (saving electricity and wear and tear on your dryer)
How to Use Wool Dryer Balls
Add 3-6 drops of essential oils to each wool dryer ball. Toss 3-6 of the wool dryer balls into the dryer with wet clothes, depending on the size of your load. Re-use you wool dryer balls, adding more essential oils as the scent wears off (usually after about 3 uses.
As an alternative to the wool dryer balls, you can also make your own DIY Dryer Sheets by mixing 1 cup of white vinegar with 20+ drops of essential oils. Pour the mixture over cloth squares (such as fabric scraps, cloth baby wipes or old tee shirt). Allow fabric to soak in the mixture then wring out the excess liquid. Store in a sealable container. Toss one into the dryer with each load of clothes! White vinegar helps reduce static cling and the scent will evaporate, leaving behind the bright clean scent of essential oils.
You can use any essential oils you wish to. Rocky Mountain oils makes a blend specifically for laundry called Loads of Fun that has a sweet citrus-sy scent with just a hint of wintergreen. Other essential oils you may want to try include lavender, tea tree, lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, pine, rosemary, and eucalyptus. The possibilities are endless!