The world is showing the negative effects of climate change greater than ever before. If you've ever said to yourself, "I should try to be more environmental and make some green changes in my life" then you will want to follow my Green and Clean posts. In this series I plan to share simple, small changes that can make a big difference if enough of us commit ourselves to them. So today, I'm telling you to ditch your fabric softer and dryer sheets and switch to wool dryer balls!
What's the trouble with fabric softeners anyway? The medical website, WebMD.com, reports that the perfumes and additives in laundry products may cause skin problems. Fabric softeners are very allergenic and can cause eczema, which appears as dry, itchy skin.
Dryer sheets contain volatile organic compounds like acetaldehyde and butane, which can cause respiratory irritation. Fabric softener chemicals known as quaternary ammonium compounds, have been linked to asthma. Acetone, also used in dryer sheets, can cause nervous system effects like headaches or dizziness.
Wool dryer balls have so many great benefits but my top 5 reasons for using dryer balls are:
1) As the balls bounce around in the dryer they naturally, and gently, fluff the clothes, meaning less wrinkles!
2) The balls help to separate and add more air pockets while the clothes are in the dryer so it actually reduces drying time by 30-50%!!!! (Energy saving and money saving!!!)
3) The natural wool fibres help decrease the amount of static that is left in clothes --- especially with natural fabrics like cottons, linens, etc. 4) They are biodegradable and don't end up in the landfill like dryer sheets do.
5) The kids love to help! They love throwing the "snowballs" into the dryer and then that gets them excited to put the clothes in the dryer too. I simply tell them it's time to do the laundry and they practically BEG for me to let them help. But what about that lovely fresh clean laundry smell? Well, of course, I use my Young Living Essential Oils for that. I like to mix up the scent of laundry seasonally -- citrusy in the summer, minty or spicy in the winter, etc.. But my go-to oils are lavender and purification.
Lavender is a great fresh scent that is gender neutral so it's always a go-to for laundry at our house. And purification is an odor-eliminator, so if you're like me and leave your wet laundry in the washer too long, or you put your wet laundry in the dryer and forget to turn it on and do realize until the next day, then purification will eliminate all the musty-ness that may have snuck in. Dryer balls are REALLY easy to make.
1 skein 100% wool yarn (wool roving is preferred but regular will work too) 120 yards
1 crochet hook
1 pair knee-high or pair of pantyhose, no need to buy new, use an old pair
1 pair scissors
Start your first wool dryer ball by wrapping the yarn around a couple of fingers 10 times.
Remove the yarn from your fingers and wrap about 10 times around the middle.Continue wrapping around the ball from every angle. Make your way around the ball, wrapping 5-10 times before moving to a new angle. (There's no exact science to this. Just keep trying to form a round ball.) Wrap the yarn tightly and hang onto your ball so it doesn't pop out of your hands.
When your ball is a little bigger than a tennis ball, cut the yarn and pull the end through the ball with your crochet hook .
Repeat Steps 1-4 to make a second wool dryer ball with the remainder of your yarn.
Place your wool balls in your pantyhose, knotting the pantyhose between the balls. Run your wool dryer balls through your washer and dryer with separate loads of laundry until they "felt" and become solid balls. (Mine "felt" in 3-4 loads.)
Remove balls from pantyhose, add 6-10 drops of essential oil and use in the dryer in place of dryer sheets. Ditch the toxic fabric softener and switch to dryer balls. You'll be glad you did, and so will our poor planet.