Dryer sheets are something you probably use that you do not really give much thought to in regards to your health. Many dryer sheets contain a variety of chemicals and fragrances that can affect your health and well being, so let’s take a chance and find some dryer sheet alternatives that work – but are safer for your family.
I was doing a load of laundry yesterday, and it dawned on me that we have yet to put up the clothesline and have not solar dried one single piece of clothing so far this year.
So I went to the basement and loaded our trusty dryer with the wet clothes – and reached for my dryer sheet. I had bought a new brand and when I opened the box, the odor was overwhelming. I never really gave much thought to my dryer sheets before, but I figured if the smell was this strong – what the heck were the chemicals they were using?
So, I began researching alternative static busting methods for clothes dryers.
One of the first ideas I came upon was tennis balls. Who would have thought?
So I went to our bucket of tennis balls, threw three in the dryer and crossed my fingers.
Survey says? It worked! Laundry was as static free as when I used a dryer sheet, but sans the fake chemical-induced ‘springtime freshness’ stench. There was one pair of girl tights that are synthetic that had a wee bit of static electricity, but everything else in the load was cottony and static free.
Why Dryer Sheets Should Be Avoided
We will use Bounce dryer sheets as our reference for this article since they are probably the biggest brand that most people know. If we look at the rating given by the Environmental Working Group, you can see Bounce receives a D rating for health or environmental concerns.
The biggest issue specifically is the relation to asthma and respiratory issues as well as skin allergies. It is also reported that there is poor disclosure of all ingredients meaning there could be more ingredients causing harm we may not be aware of.
We are confident this can be applied to other brands of dryer sheets as well. If you want to be a real informed consumer this report outlines the details about what different brands of dryer sheets are emitting as well as the affects of these compounds on our health.
There is also no formal safety testing required for these products meaning there is no verifiable test being done to ensure their products are safe for the environment or people. Why would anyone want to use something that does not require a safety test?
Dryer Sheet Alternatives
There are several options for getting rid of dryer static that do not require the use of these potentially toxic dryer sheets! We are offering these as options to be considered but please make sure you do your necessary homework to make sure any of these choices are right for your family. We will offer the ideas and if there are issues we will share those as well!
Weird right? But they work! Simply throw 3 tennis balls into the dryer not only does it reduce drying time but it also lessens wrinkles and fluffs up your clothes. They are not the best at reducing static so we suggest throwing in a ball of aluminum foil which will help keep the static away.
The risks of using tennis balls includes risk of melting at really high heat and transference of dyes to laundry.
So we learned vinegar as a rinse aid is not its only claim to fame! Adding a 1/2 cup or so of vinegar to the rinse cycle as a safer alternative to a dryer sheet. Just place it in your fabric softener dispenser and your clothes should come out softer and with reduced static cling.
Another way to use vinegar is to dampen a washcloth with it and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Baking soda is cheap and another multi-purpose household items that has a ton of uses. While you cannot add this one to the dryer – it does its work during the washing process. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup in your washer and it will help make your clothes softer during the drying cycle.
A simple ball of aluminum foil in your dryer will help keep the static down and can be used many times. This is one of the easiest and most economical options for replacing dryer sheets and help remove static from clothing.
The ball should be about tennis ball size and can be used for roughly 1-2 months depending on how many loads you do.
Wool Dryer Balls
Not sure I would spend time making these, but I am sure you could if you wanted too! Wool dryer balls are a great option that are more eco-friendly and healthier for your family. Some wool dryer balls offer softer clothes and reduced wrinkles and some also reduce static.
These dryer balls are all-natural and chemical free making them a perfect organic dryer sheet option for your family. They can also reduce drying time which can reduce electricity use.
Make sure before you make a purchase you read the reviews to make sure you get a product that meets your needs!
Below are a few of the best selling options on Amazon:
Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls
Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls
SnugPad Wool Dryer Balls
Natural Dryer Sheets
We also did fine Pureecosheet which offers a reusable dryer sheet that seems to be a good option for those that still like a dryer sheet.
They are hypoallergenic and made in North America. They are chemical, perfume and dye free and are reusable for hundreds of loads making them very cost effective.
So now you have a lot of great options for those dryer sheets that are healthier and better for the environment! Have you tried any of these options? Would love to hear your thoughts!