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Dryer sheets are something I never thought to question for a long time. I grew up watching my family stick in a new one every cycle, and continued the habit when I reached adulthood and managed my own household. It wasn’t until I ran out of dryer sheets one day and did a load of laundry (I didn’t notice a difference) that I really thought about them.
Dryer sheets are designed to scent laundry and decrease static cling. So how do they do that? Generally, dryer sheets are squares of polyester fabrics with synthetic fragrances and a laundry list of unpronounceable chemicals some of which are known to cause adverse reactions in humans. Take a look at EWG’s Cleaning Database to see how your dryer sheets rate.
So what’s a girl who wants fresh smelling laundry to do?
1. Go bare – Try going a load or two without anything and see if you notice a difference. There are a few materials I have that are prone to static cling, but for the most part our laundry is no different either way. If static cling does arrise, try crumpling up a piece of tin foil and see if that does the trick.
2. Greener Brand – Another easy option is to simply choose a brand that doesn’t use as harmful chemicals or test on animals. Some brands to try include:
- Seventh Generation – Rated at a B by EWG, Seventh Generation is a great alternative to the synthetic ones on the market. Free of animal ingredients and testing, it’s a good option for animal lovers. Seventh Generation can be purchased on Amazon (affiliate link) or Grove Collaborative (referral link).
- Ms. Meyers – Another great choice, Mrs. Meyers products are earth-friendly and made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils. They can also be found on Amazon (affiliate link) or Grove Collaborative (referral link).
- H2O at Home – H2O at Home makes some awesome products that allow you to harness the power of water to clean your home. If that’s not enough, they also make ecofriendly cleaners as well. You can read about my experience with H2O at Home products here: Nontoxic Cleaning with H20 at Home. H2O at Home is available through direct sales; to find your closest adviser, visit H2O’s website.
3. Herb Satchels – An herb satchel is a great way to infuse your laundry with scents without resorting to synthetic chemicals and fragrances. Fill up a small mesh satchel with dried herbs such as lavender, basil or rose and tie securely. This should last quite a few loads, and as a bonus you can also sprinkle the herbs onto your carpet before vacuuming to scent your home. Alternatively, Trader Joe’s also sells a lavender dryer bag.
4. Make Your Own – It’s super easy to make your own dryer sheets. Have a raggedy old towel around the house? Cut it into strips and place into a glass jar. Fill the jar with vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and voila! Wring out the excess mixture before placing in with your laundry. Try Lavender, Ylang ylang, wild orange, peppermint or an immunity blend. (For more information on essential oils and my favorite, please visit New To Essential Oils).
5. Laundry Balls – Dryer balls have long intrigued me as a great ecofriendly alternative, however wool is a cruel industry so I don’t partake in wool products. Luckily, there’s a bamboo version by Shelly Rose Designs available at Guinea Pig Markets. Adding dryer balls can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your laundry and help to prevent static cling.
How do you make your laundry more eco-friendly?