Dryer sheet alternatives to keep your laundry soft, static-free and smelling fresh, but free of the toxic chemicals in traditional dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
How is it that we have come to rely so heavily on putting a sheet of artificially scented, chemical infused paper in our dryer every time we do the laundry?
I did a little research and discovered that scented dryer sheets were an invention of the 1970’s as a way to deliver fabric softeners more effectively.
Today, we know that scented laundry products contain toxic chemicals and even known carcinogens – but that’s not stopping anyone from selling them.
YUCK! Don’t you wish we had left the dryer sheets behind with the pet rocks and the purple shag carpeting?
Why You Should Ditch Conventional Dryer Sheets
Conventional dryer sheets start out with a polyester material that is non-biodegradable. The material is coated with fabric softening agents and other chemicals designed to make fabric feel softer, reduce static cling and add fragrance. Unfortunately studies have linked chemicals used in dryer sheets and fabric softeners to endocrine system disruption, skin irritations, asthma and even cancer.
Plus that “dryer sheet” scent that we know all too well, comes from a mix of chemicals that can cause allergies and hormone disruption. And you won’t see an ingredient list on a dryer sheet box because companies are not required by law to disclose ingredients for cleaning products – so you have no idea what you are using!
One more point – dryer sheets are wasteful! Why use a single-use product when a reusable alternative is even better?
Non-Toxic Dryer Sheet Alternatives
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Fortunately, there are safer, natural, more eco-friendly ways to scent, soften & reduce static in your laundry if you so desire:
Natural Ways to Soften Laundry:
- Add 1/3 cup of salt or baking soda in with your detergent in the wash cycle. Both are natural water softeners.
- Vinegar is also popular for softening laundry. About 1/2 cup in the fabric softener container should do the trick.
- Soak a cotton cloth in your favorite eco-friendly fabric softener. Squeeze out any excess liquid and toss in the dryer.
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Natural Ways to Reduce Static in Laundry:
- Dry synthetic fabrics separately from natural fibers as synthetics tend to create more static cling.
- Dryer balls help eliminate static and also reduce wrinkles. I just love these handmade, wool dryer balls from Etsy (and these too). Dryer balls come in so many cute colors (and they make great gifts!) but you can also find plain ones on Amazon.
- Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Don’t worry, your favorite shirt won’t smell like a pickle – the vinegar smell dissipates in the wash!
- Line dry and you won’t have to worry about static cling at all.
Natural Ways to Scent Laundry:
- Toss a lavender sachet into your dryer. You can easily make your own or buy them on Etsy here or here. They also sell them at Trader Joe’s.
- Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I use lavender essential oil) on a reusable cloth or on a wool dryer ball in the dryer.
- Add a scoop of my homemade laundry scent booster directly in the washer.
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Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener Brands
If you prefer the convenience of dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners, here are few natural brands that are non-toxic and more eco-friendly than conventional products:
- Biokleen Citrus Essence Dryer Sheets
- Seventh Generation Unscented Fabric Softener Sheets
- Attitude Fabric Softener
- Ecover Fabric Softener
Do you use dryer sheets or have you come up with a non-toxic alternative that works for you?
P.S. Find more sustainable laundry tips here!