Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goodbye Dryer Sheets!

In the past on my blog I've shown you how I've "greened up" my home by saying goodbye to many traditional products like Ziploc bags, plastic water bottles, plastic straws, paper towels, and Teflon. And just recently, I showed you in this post how I was able to say goodbye to laundry detergent with the use of an awesome laundry ball called the SmartKlean Laundry Ball.  But my green laundry fun didn't stop there...it was time to head to the dryer.

Now I haven't used dryer sheets in years because the residue they left on my clothes seemed to irritate my skin, my nose, and it was a pain buying those things all the time just to use them once and then toss in the trash. In the past I used some reusable plastic dryer balls and I thought I was so green, until I found out they could be releasing things toxic gasses from the plastic materials they are made of when the dryer heats up. And boy do we all know that plastic and heat are just one bad combo. You can read more about one blogger's take on the PVC in dryer balls in this post, which she calls the plastic dryer balls the "Eco-Oxymoron of the Century"...and I agree. Here we're trying to be so green with our "reusable balls" but at the same time we're releasing toxic gasses into the air and onto our clothes each time we run a load-one step forward in the green direction, then two steps back in the toxic direction!

With this in mind, I searched around for plastic-free dryer balls or PVC-free dryer balls like these, but the reviews weren't so promising and it left me wondering if any type of plastic was safe in my dryer. That's when I stumbled on to something called "Wool Dryer Balls" and I was intrigued. 



The idea was simple, just toss 2-3 balls in the dryer with wet clothes and run your dryer like normal. The best part? They can be reused for YEARS! Did you catch that? YEARS! It's time to say goodbye to dryer sheets and plastic dryer balls.

]Basically the dryer balls are made of felted wool and are about the size of tennis balls.



Here's some of the benefits of the wool dryer balls:
  • reduce drying time
  • soften laundry naturally without chemicals
  • can be reused for years
  • handmade here in the US
  • safe for all clothes and colors
  • unscented

The Wool Dryer Balls I purchased were from a brand called Every Day Willow and they cost about $19.95 (through Amazon) or $7 (on their Every Day Willow website) and for me, they've already paid for themselves after a few months of use.  

By the way, they are "Avery approved." Every time she sees them she'll start yelling, "Ball! Ball!" and insist on throwing them. Case in point...

"You guys want some wool dryer balls?"
"You're going to have to catch them
because I'm throwing them to the
ground!"
Here's I make the wool dryer balls work with my laundry routine...
1. Drop all three wool balls in the dryer with your
wet clothes and run the load until dry (times may vary
according to your dryer).

2. Take out the clothes and leave the wool dryer balls in this
way they are all set and ready for your next load. Now if
they get all tangled up in the clothes when you're taking
them out, it's no big deal. Just add them back to the dryer
when you need them again.

Some small notes:
  • Die-hard vegans out there may be questioning the use of wool since it's animal based, I'm right there with you. I was hesitant at first, but when I weighed the pros (no toxic chemicals from dryer sheets, no toxic plastics from dryer balls, possibility to be reused for years at a time) and the cons (the wool used comes from sheep) I had to go with buying them. If I ever come across a vegan/non-wool-based option that works just as good as these wool dryer balls I would definitely switch to that. But for the time being I am choosing these.
  • Also, I haven't noticed a drastic reduction in the time it takes to dry my clothes since switching to the dryer balls, but that may be because I have an old, ghetto dryer that's not even Energy Star certified (boo hoo!).  I'm sure in a more energy-efficient dryer they make work some more wonders. But at the end of the day, my main concern was just getting the chemicals and toxins out of my dryer, so if I'm still able to do that and run my clothes for the same amount of time I did before...well, I'm more than fine with it.
  • Last, some pilling (or those little fuzzies that adhere to the wool) may occur over time. These can easily be picked off if it bothers you.


So that's how I have said "goodbye" to dryer sheets and still managed to get my clothes dry without excess chemicals, toxins, or waste. And for $7 you can too...give it a try! Combine this with the SmartKlean Laundry Ball and you won't have to buy laundry products for a long time.  Talk about going green and saving some green!

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