While looking for a more cost effective alternative to dryer sheets I found the following (disturbing) information.
Listed are chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets (eMediaWire website – Press release February 21, 2005):
• Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
• Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
• Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
• Alpha-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
• Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
• Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
• Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
• Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
• Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
Additional side effects from any of these chemicals can cause: Nausea, Vomiting, kidney/liver damage, Headaches, Blood pressure reduction, pancreatic cancer and irritation to the skin, mucus membrane and respiratory tract.
Talk about quitting cold turkey. For a few weeks, my clothes went into the dryer without aid of dryer sheets or fabric softener of any type. But combating static cling everyday is not my idea of fun, so I went back on the hunt for an inexpensive, simple alternative.
I did find “Dryer Balls”, which are rubber with little spikes on them. For the record, I also found several people that love this product, but I am too skeptical in nature to buy anything “As Seen on TV“.
My search led me to the very simple solution of pure wool yarn wound into balls. There are several sellers that have these items listed on Etsy made of various types of wool, including sheep, llama and alpaca. I went to Joann’s Fabric Store and bought a skein of 100% pure wool yarn, in bright orange, because anything to make laundry a little more cheery is welcome in my house. (Be sure to buy 100% wool)
Creating the balls are as easy as making a ball of yarn, because that is exactly what it is. If you have never wound yarn, here are the basic steps.
Wrap the yarn around three fingers about 10 times.
Take the yarn off your fingers and wrap the opposite direction about 10 times.
Continue to wrap in alternating directions
Until you have a ball. I made mine on the small side. The next batch will be a bit larger.
After you have completed your yarn balls, put them into a nylon sock and tie the end.
Put them into the washing machine on hot and then into the dryer on the hottest setting to felt them. They will shrink and the yarn will become a solid ball (you may need to run them through the wash cycle a couple times before they are completely felted).
To use the balls just throw them into the dryer with your laundry. I currently have three in my dryer, and still experience some static, but less than with nothing at all. I am going to add three more and hope that it takes care of this problem. I will post an update later on. If you have any tips or tricks, let me know.
Thanks for reading!