Everyone loves the sensation of clothes fresh out of the dryer. They’re so warm and soft ‒ there’s almost nothing better. But what if we told you that those fresh and fragrant clothes are actually very hazardous to your family’s health? With the amount of chemicals and artificial fragrance in just one dryer sheet, it’s not surprising that they would be considered harmful, but what does any of that really mean?
Chemicals and Their Effects
These days, it seems like everything contains one or more chemicals that we would probably rather not have in our homes. But using products with those chemicals sometimes seems like our only option – especially when we want our clothes to smell fresh and be free of static. After all, is there anything more frustrating than your skirt sticking to your legs all day? But once you find out some of the possible side effects of those nasty chemicals, a little static cling may seem like a worthy sacrifice.
Dryer sheets are basically just little sheets of polyester that have been soaked in fabric softener and perfume. That doesn’t seem too bad, right? Maybe not, but the problem arises when we realize that those fabric softeners and perfumes are made up entirely of toxic chemicals. Have you ever noticed how gummy your hands feel after you toss your dryer sheets in with your clothes? That is chemical residue wearing off onto your hands, and the same thing is happening in the dryer with your clothes. After prolonged exposure, these chemicals can cause headaches, vomiting, and even loss of motor activity or consciousness. Some of these chemicals are even classified as hazardous waste! You’re probably wondering how that can possibly be legal. Simply put, the FDA does not regulate laundry/household products the same way it regulates ingestible products. This is not because of the assumption that our skin acts as a protective barrier against these harmful chemicals. That itching you feel after wearing clothes that you’ve dried with dryer sheets is proof that there is something very wrong with dryer sheets. The chemicals in dryer sheets remain on your fabrics and break down their fibers causing them to wear out prematurely. So stop putting yourself and your family at risk for skin irritations or even worse side effects, and ditch those dryer sheets!
Giving up dryer sheets doesn’t have to mean giving in to static. Try these non-toxic alternatives and enjoy soft, fresh clothes!
Wool dryer balls are a great, natural alternative to chemical-heavy dryer sheets. Made from 100% wool, they are completely natural and hypoallergenic – even for those with wool allergies since they will not shed on your clothing! You can purchase them at most stores that sell linens and bedding or make your own! Here’s how:
- Ball up wool roving to approximately the size of a softball (will shrink)
- Wrap with wool yarn
- Place in nylon stocking and tie off with non-wool string
- Soak in hot water and dry on high heat
- Remove from stockings and dry with clothing as you would dryer sheets!
You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls to add a fresh scent to your laundry! Try using lavender or citrus to go along with your favorite Roux Maison fragrance.
As you’ve probably noticed, white vinegar has a multitude of uses in the laundry room, and it can even help prevent static! Simply add a small amount of white vinegar to your washer during the rinse cycle, or soak a washcloth in white vinegar and toss it in the dryer with your clothes! This will help prevent static as well as take away any mildew smell from old towels.
Many people recommend the use of balled up aluminum foil as an alternative to dryer sheets. It may seem strange, but it does effectively remove static from clothing while tumbling around in the dryer. However, these aluminum foil balls must be replaced about every month, making them less sustainable and efficient. This is why we highly recommend the wool dryer balls over aluminum.
Our favorite method of drying at Roux Maison is line drying! There is no risk of static cling and your clothes are crisp and fresh every time! Really, is there anything better than the smell of line-dried clothing?
No matter which alternative method you choose, ditch those dryer sheets as soon as possible! Roux Maison’s natural laundry detergent removes chemical residues in the wash, so don’t coat your clothes in chemicals from your dryer sheets! Try one (or all) of these alternatives to dryer sheets and keep your clothes naturally clean, soft, and static free.