The commercial dryer sheet. Many people use them to keep their laundry fresh, fluffy, and static-free. But what if I told you those conventional dryer sheets are costing you your health and the environment a lot of trouble?
Here are two reasons why you should never buy them again and one simple way to make your own sustainable alternative!
Designed for the landfill.
Conventional dryer sheets are a single-use disposable product. Which, like all single-use disposables, are a nightmare for the environment. Conventional dryer sheets are made up of polyester - basically plastic fabric. There are different kinds of polyesters, but the most common is made from polyethylene terephthalate or PET (think plastic water & drink bottles). In general, the whole life cycle of plastic is toxic, from production to disposal.
Plastics are never truly recycled. They are only down-cycled, which means if the material is recovered (and that’s a big if) they are turned into a more inferior plastic, which after that lifecycle, is most likely destined for the landfill or ocean.
Plastic is also persistent; it never goes away. It photo-degrades, which means it breaks down into tinier and tinier pieces, making it not a sustainable choice.
2. Coated in Chemical Yuck.
So what goes on those conventional dryer sheets anyway?
Many conventional brands are coated in fragrance chemicals. All fragrance ingredients are kept behind closed doors from consumers, and can be made of hundreds of chemicals and allergens. You’ll also you’ll find a host of other irritants and volatile organic compounds as well.
Here a few of the common chemicals found in dryer sheets:
Many of these ingredients are known to cause disorders within the central nervous system, and can also cause loss of muscular coordination, headache, nausea, skin irritation, and dizziness.
So what's the alternative?
There are a few easy solutions. For one, hang-drying clothes is an easy, simple, and sustainable way to dry garments. I have been doing this for months and the result is truly money-saving!
Another DIY alternative, is to make your own lasting & natural dryer assistants from wool!
The Wool Dryer Ball
Wool is a natural fabric material and when heated doesn’t cause or leak any chemical yuck like plastic does when heated. It can also be composted at the end of its life. Wool dryer balls work by separating clothes allowing hot air to circulate through the garments. They reduce wrinkles, fluff, and make clothes softer! They also pull moisture out of the clothes, drying your clothes a little faster too! They are also easy to make!
All you’ll need is 100% wool yarn. No artificial fabrics! It won’t work!
You can start by using one wool skein (make sure the wool isn’t machine washable or labeled super-wash).
Start by wrapping wool yarn around two or three fingers a dozen times.
Pull wool off of fingers and wrap the yarn into a bundle.
Continue to wrap around forming a ball.
Once you are at the end of the skein, you can gently tuck the end piece into the ball itself.
Next it’s time to prep it!
Take an old sock or panty hose and place the balls inside. Separate them individually in the sock with a few pieces of yarn or string.
Toss them into the washing machine on hot cycle and cold rinse. Then toss them into the dryer on hot. This felts the dryer balls so they are ready to be used!
Regular loads are good for four dryer balls, and for larger loads, six will work great.
You can use these again and again for years to come! Go ahead, make the switch! Your pocket book and your planet will thank you! Keep it clean, green, and zero-waste!
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