With names likes “soft rain mist” or “fresh cool breeze”, who doesn’t love soft laundry right of the dryer that smells so fresh and clean? But the truth about dryer sheets and liquid softeners couldn’t be farther from the warm, fuzzy feelings Snuggles the Bear sends us on t.v.
Filled with harmful chemicals like benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, ethanol, limonene, ethyl acetate, camphor, chloroform, linalool, pentane, etc. (how do you even pronounce these ingredients…yikes!)…dryer sheets are so dense in artificial fragrances just to cover up the pungent smell of all of these toxic chemicals. These fragrances and chemicals stay in the fibers of your clothes for a long period of time, allowing plenty of opportunity for your skin, body and brain to absorb these nasty toxins all day and all night long.
These chemicals are known to have cause…
- Central nervous system disorders and headaches
- Skin disorders and allergic reactions
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Irritate mucous membranes and impair respiratory function
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness
- Liver or kidney damage
With the insane amount laundry I do on a weekly basis and knowing that the majority of it is my children’s clothes, I regret that I haven’t paid more careful attention to this sooner. While I would love to hang our clothes out to dry in the sun the old-fashioned way like my parents use to do, it’s the middle of winter and we are staying with my sister until our forever home is ready.
I recently shared a new all-natural laundry detergent recipe that we are trying and now I have a 2-part solution to both the softening of your fabrics and the fresh smells. Substituting these chemically-ridden fabric softeners for an all-natural, toxic-free alternative is much easier and affordable than you may think!
I bought a set of 3 organic wool dryer balls to give this method a try and I am so impressed! People have been making wool dryer balls for years as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Adding one or two of these guys to your dryer with your wet laundry, they help fluff up your laundry as they bounce around in the dryer with your clothes. They are great at reducing static and softening your laundry and wool can absorb up to 3x it’s weight in wetness, helping your clothes dry faster and consuming less energy by your dryer because it doesn’t have to run as long. They are especially good for drying baby clothes and anything for people with sensitive skin because they are organic and completely chemical-free. The wool balls are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-static and are reusable for up to a year or more, unlike disposable dryer sheets that you toss after each load.
Dryer Sheets: Cotton with Essential Oils
If you are the type of person who needs your clean laundry to smell fresh and scented, essential oils are the way to go! There are so many great benefits to using these oils and making your own homemade dryer sheets are so incredibly easy. I cut up one of my husband’s old cotton t-shirts into roughly 5″ squares and added 3-5 drops of essential oils to the dry fabric. I tossed 2 of them into my wet load of laundry in the dry and let them spread the essential oil goodness on our clothes. My favorite to use is lavender, although it may be fun to play around with seasonal scents and use a citrus lemon or orange blossom in the warm summer months or the holiday scents through the winter season! Use the sheets for 2-3 loads before washing them and starting over with new oil.
Have you had any experiences with natural drying solutions for your laundry routine? What has worked well or not at all for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below!