I was not familiar with the concept of dryer sheets until I shifted to Canada. My husband had bought a big box of dryer sheets that he used with every load of laundry.
When asked he said it is super important to use dryer sheets as it keeps his favorite shirt feel softer and smell fantastic.
For some reason every time I wear my fresh clothes, I would end up with a headache. This was happening quite frequently that I decided to find out what’s causing it.
It turns out that I was reacting to the fragrance and the chemicals in the dryer sheets( that gets transferred to my clothes)
Hence my research on these magic sheets continued, and I found out hòw harmful they are for our health and the environment.
What are Dryer Sheets:
If you have been doing laundry for a while now, you must be familiar with fabric softeners. Fabric softeners are added to while rinsing clothes, so they soften the water and clothes and prevent static in the dryer.
One has to wait until the wash cycle is done and remember to add fabric softners to the rinse cycle. Many found that hard!
Enter dryer sheets! Dryer sheets are a single layer of polyester sheets coated with fabric softener chemicals, and some also contain artificial fragnances. Essentially dryer sheets do the work of a fabric softener in the dryer.
How Do Dryer Sheets Work?
When tossed in the dryer, the high temperature and moisture release the fabric softener into the clothes. This, in turn, makes the clothes softer and reduces static.
What are Dryer sheets made of?
Chemicals! Lots of the nasty ones! They degrade indoor air quality and come with various health hazards.
According to Branch basics, dryer sheets contains more than 12 harmful chemicals that are carcinogenic, endocrine distributors, lung irritants and cause asthma, nervous disorders,etc.,
Natural Alternatives To Dryer Sheets
1. Skip them altogether:
Seriously! Try forgoing them for a week and see if you notice any difference at all. I skipped the dryer when I took over laundry duty from the husband, and he didn’t sense any difference.
And of course, i stopped getting headaches.
2. Hang Dry or Hang Dry Synthetics :
Want to save money on your utility bills while staying away from toxins? Hang your clothes to dry.
I have a clothesline in the basement and use it to dry clothes. You can also hang outside if the weather permits.
If that’s a hassle, you can separate synthetics and hang them to dry. Synthetics are more prone to produce static. Separating them from your other laundry will reduce static considerably.
3. DIY dryer sheets( with Vinegar):
Did you know that you can make homemade dryer sheets that costs next to nothing and entirely safe to use?
Here’s how to make it:
Homemade Dryer Sheets Recipe:
1. Cut up old blankets/t-shirts or flannel sheets. You can use any other material like cotton. I prefer flannel because then I don’t have to sew the edges. Old baby wash clothes work great too. If you are choosing other fabric that tends to unravel, then you can decide to switch the edges.
2. In a mason jar, add 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water.
3. Stuff the cut up dryer fabrics into the jar and let them soak.
4. Throw a sheet in the dryer when you are ready.
Important note: I have read a lot online about using essentials oils in the DIY fabric sheets and toss into a hot dryer.
Honestly, that scares me a little. It sounds a bit weird to use oils (any kind) that are potentially flammable in a hot dryer. I don’t feel comfortable doing that, and I don’t recommend it to my readers.
I would say do your research, and I leave it at your discretion.
4.Aluminum Foil Balls:
A very cheap substitute for dryer sheets that does a fantastic job in reducing static cling.
Making aluminum foil balls seems insanely easy. But there are certain specifics you need to keep in mind before rolling a sheet of aluminum foil.
How to make Aluminum Foil Balls For Dryer:
1.Take a sheet of 3 to 4 square sheet of foil
2.Press it down with your hand and roll it into a ball
3.Make sure to press down rough edges and make it into a smooth ball. You don’t want these balls to tear your clothes while they are tossing in the dryer.
4.Repeat the above steps and make 3 to 4 balls. Have some extras as dryer balls tend to disappear often.
5. Depending on your load size toss 2 -3 balls into the dryer.
You need to keep in mind that these balls will only remove static and will not make your clothes softer.
You can save a lot of money making these aluminum balls as they last a couple of months. Aluminum is also recyclable so it’s not harsh on the environment as well.
5. Wool dryer balls
Let’s talk about my favorite alternative – Wool dryer balls! I love my wool dryer balls and use them all the time.
Wool dryer balls are a bit pricey, but they last years. Unlike aluminum foil balls you don’t have to replace them every three months.
Therefore wool balls are a perfect choice if you are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to commercial dryer balls.
There are so many brands that sell these amazing dryer balls. My favorite is Moss Creek,because they are locally made in Canada.
But there are others like Woolzies that are equally great.
Toss a couple of dryer balls in the dryer and it take care of the rest. Wool dryer balls make your clothes softer, reduce static and also reduces dry time. Wohoo!
Since dryer sheets are only fabric softeners, some use natural fabric softeners in the washer to get the same effect without using dryer sheets.
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your final rinse cycle. Don’t worry your clothes will not have a vinegar smell.
Let’s wrap up
We have established that commercial dryer sheets are no good. They are too bad for the environment and even more bad for your health.
Here are the non toxic dryer sheet alternatives you can try.
- Homemade Dryer sheets with essential oils and Vinegar
- Aluminum Foil Balls
- Wool Dryers Balls
- Natural Fabric softeners like vinegar in the rinse cycle.
Will you switch to a natural alternative? It is easier than you think and I promise you will never look back.