Do you remember your mother’s or grandmother’s clothesline and clothes pins? Until fairly recently, all women in the United States hung their laundry to dry outside.
A modern convenience is the dryer. You don’t need to worry about rainy days when you are doing laundry. In addition, if you remove your clothes on time, you will not need to iron many of them.
One serious problem that the dryer creates is static cling. No one wants the embarrassment or the hassle of static in their clothing.
In the 1960’s an American chemist invented dryer sheets to help his wife be less anxious about missing the final rinse cycle when she would add liquid fabric softener to the water.
These dryer sheets made clothing smell “good,” reduced static cling, and made clothing soft.
While dryer sheets are rather convenient, consider a few reasons not to use them.
1. They create pollution in your home and in nature.
Whether or not your dryer sheets are scented, they most likely contain harmful chemicals. I can tell if someone is doing laundry by the smell of laundry detergent and dryers sheets as I walk outside. While I can walk faster to get away from the toxic chemicals, those chemicals are staying in their home. Go here to learn how to learn how to improve your home’s air quality.
2. They are highly and artificially scented.
Do I want my laundry to smell as though I am best friends with a skunk? Definitely not! However, we have been brainwashed by the laundry, cleaning, and scent (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candles, air freshener companies, and more) what a good smell is. A pleasant smell is a lilac bush, rose, or pine tree–not artificial scents that make you sick. Up and Up’s unscented dryer sheets are actually very harmful for your health.
3. They coat your laundry with chemicals.
These chemicals are highly flammable. In addition, they reduce the absorbency of your towels, microfiber cloths, and cloth diapers. The chemicals also come in direct contact with your skin.
Here are just a few health problems that your fabric softener can cause:
1. Skin rashes
Several years ago when I did not have a dryer, I was excited to purchase some fabric softener I could use in my washing machine. It took a few loads of laundry before I determined that the culprit behind my skin rashes was the fabric softener. You will especially want to avoid fabric softeners for your children’s clothing and bedding.
2. Respiratory problems
By now you may be thinking, “Ok, I will just purchase a more natural brand of dryer sheets.” I am sorry to disappoint you, but this is not always a realistic solution. If you or your children have allergies or asthma, please strongly consider removing dryer sheets from your home. Keep reading for better alternatives.
Bounce has a terrible review by the Environmental Working Group. Mrs. Meyers and Babyganics did not receive much better reviews in that category.
3. Hormone disruptors
If you would like to start a family or are already dealing with hormone imbalances, it would be very wise to throw away all your fabric softeners. Walmart’s dryer sheets are some of the worst offenders in this category.
You understand now the risks of using fabric softener, yet you do not want the static cling. What can you do?
1. Purchase clothing made of natural fibers.
Natural fabrics are better for your health (because they are not synthetic). Next time you shop for clothes, purchase cotton and linen for the summer and wool for the winter. You’ll stay warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and have much less static cling!
2. Use wool dryer balls.
While I have not personally used these, I have heard excellent reports about them. They last for years, help your clothing to dry faster, and won’t hurt your health in the process.
3. Avoid over drying your clothing.
Dry your clothing on the low setting, use a timed setting, and dry your clothes 5-10 minutes less than you usually do. To your surprise, only large and bulky items may need extra drying time. Remove the dry clothes, and dry the damp ones for a few minutes longer.
4. Line dry your clothes.
In Europe, even rich people rarely have dryers. People using clothes lines and drying racks to dry all their clothing. There are several benefits to this method. First, it saves on utility bills. Second, it is eco friendly. Third, it will help your clothing last longer (all that lint in your lint trap was part of your clothing). Third, the sunshine will sanitize your clothing. Fourth, static cling will be a problem of the past for you.
If you found value in this article, please use the buttons below to share it with your friends and family.
If you are a new reader, I’d love to have you as a subscriber. You will receive a free weekly email from me with valuable articles like this one. Just enter your email and first name below (last name is optional):
I love your tips! Thanks for sharing this great info!
Kelly, it was my pleasure!
Another factor with fabric softeners is they ruin your clothing. The layer of chemicals they leave behind seems to dull the colors, change the texture and accelerate the wearing of the material.
Beth, thank you for adding that. With repeated use, the buildup of the fabric softeners would be unthinkable!
Thank you, Samantha!
Because of your article, I have started using dryer balls during bad weather and continue to use my clothesline and hang up my clothes whenever possible. I love the fragrance of fresh air when I take them down! The dryer balls do work and I highly recommend them! Thanks Luba for all your great articles!
Sharon, I am so glad that my articles help you. Thank you for your kind words. 🙂