Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alternatives to Dryer Sheets

How did we get to this:


I don't like dryer sheets. I don't really know why. I think I must have read enough about how toxic and bad for the environment they are that I finally started to believe what I read. Sure they make clothes soft and sniffable, but they also give them that sort of greasy coated feeling. But Eric likes that they make his clothes not staticky and in dry Minnesota winters, static electricity can be a real problem.

As if I hadn't already read too much vague on-line information, I plunged into reading more about how to make clothes static free cling without using dryer sheets. One obvious answer is to air dry. I air dry some of my clothes but not all and not household items like bed sheets and towels.

Along the same lines as air drying is not letting your clothes get over dried. This means pulling out your clothes or turning off the dryer as soon as they are dry, thereby not giving static a chance to build up. Fortunately, we have one of those dryers with the "less dry" option.

To further prevent static and to (in theory at least) cut down on drying time, I also opted to throw a few tennis balls in the dryer. The theory goes that they keep the clothes separate and allow more air to move between them. I didn't time it, but my clothes seemed to be as fluffy and static-free as ever. Also tennis balls aren't made of PVC like typical dryer balls.
The one downside of the tennis ball method is that tennis balls have that same pungent, rubbery smell as bathroom mats when thrown in a warm dryer. Fortunately, I have a few lavender sachets around, so I threw one of those in. It nicely covered the rubber smell.
Should Eric find his clothes still too staticky, we'll move to Phase II, which includes adding a ball of tin foil to the mix. This is meant to reduce the number of electrons running errant through our synthetics.

Phase III is adding a quarter cup of vinegar to the wash cycle. Vinegar dries odorless so we needn't worry about smelling like a vat of pickles in our clean clothes.

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