While store-bought drying sheets can give your clothes a softer feel and a scent aura that you love, hiding inside those scented creases are questionable ingredients, some of which raise red flags from the point of view. from the point of view of health and efficiency. Not only have we shown that their smells cause headaches and difficulty breathing, they can actually make your clothes harder to dry.
In an interview with Apartment Therapy, Samara Geller, senior science analyst for healthy lifestyles at the Environmental Working Group, noted the drying plates contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS), which have been shown to cause or worsen asthma and skin irritations. Studies have also shown that dryer vents emit more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which have been classified as hazardous air pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency.
What else? Dryer linens won’t make your clothes and towels any softer. What they to do releases a smooth layer of molten stearic (fatty) acid that temporarily prevents static electricity and leaves a smooth surface layer (until it wears off). And where else does this coating accumulate the most? Inside your dryer, of course. Over time, the residues accumulate, creating a sticky film that clogs the lint filter screen. Due to the lack of air circulation in the filter, more lint will settle on your clothes.
If that’s not enough, drying sheets also make towels less absorbent and less fire resistant. So what can you use instead? Here are some alternatives.
Wool dryer balls
Instead of imitating sweetness, wool dryer balls do the work to create real candy. When the dryer balls bounce, they separate your clothes, creating a more even heat flow and descending drying time. Their repeated contact with the fabric gently removes lumps and also softens the fibers. A set of three to six will last a year or two. (You may want to avoid dryer balls with spikes, as they can cause runoff, snagging, and pilling.)
They won’t make clothes softer, but throwing a few balls of foil in the dryer can do wonders for reducing static electricity. How? ‘Or’ What? All clothes exchange electrons as they roll around the dryer, and the aluminum balls move negatively charged clothes away from positively charged clothes (which really want to stick together). For each ball: use three to four square feet of foil, compress it firmly into a two to three inch round shape. Carefully tuck in any stray sharp pieces.
Ah, good old vinegar. Is there something you can’t do? Not only does distilled white vinegar lighten, whiten and reduce odors in clothes, it can soften them too! Add 1/4 white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or final rinse cycle. If you’re worried about a strong smell, mix the vinegar with a few drops of essential oil, like lavender.
Where there’s a vinegar hack, the baking soda can’t be far behind. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with your detergent and apply as usual to your laundry cycle. In addition to acting as a deodorant, baking soda acts as a natural suspending agent, preventing detergent and minerals from redepositing on clothes, which can make them stiff. To the twin lighthouses of natural domestic cleaning, we bow down.
DIY drying sheets
Did you know you can make your own fabric softener sheets? Cut old pieces of fabric (rags, old t-shirts) into squares. Place the squares in a sealed jar with vinegar, enough to make them moist, but not soaked. Add essential oils such as lemon, lavender, orange, grapefruit, or bergamot if desired. Wring one out when you’re ready to dry, throw it out with the wet clothes, and voila: cheap soggy clothes minus the harsh chemical fragrances.
Ready for a change but don’t want to waste those drying sheets you’ve already bought? Check out these new alternative ways to use them.