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dryer balls and re-usable dryer sheets  RSS feed

 
steward
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Most of the time, I like to line dry clothes and sheets, but once in a while, I still use an electric dryer.

Not that I'm defensive or anything, (ha!), but there might be a case where ALL the sheets will be dirty or in use (you know, for our 15 bunks here) and I might need clean, dry sheets pronto, before bed time. Or all of Paul's overalls will be mucky, and he needs a clean pair before a camera shoot. (Though putting overalls in the dryer is one of the worst forms of noise pollution ever!   )

For NOT using the dryer, we have a rich thread on really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer (and an excellent partner to it that I just found today Exists? Indoor clothes drying rack that won't fall apart) though I couldn't find anything on better ways of using a dryer, so here we go.

First, to help with saving energy, fluffing and reducing static, I did buy some lovely wool dryer balls.


(This image is from the maker of the ones I bought, MontanaSolarCreation on estsy.)

Their description says:

What's so great about wool dryer balls? They are a natural, antimicrobial fiber and help reduce drying time at the same time reducing static. It is recommended that you use 3-5 dryer balls per average load of laundry; the more wool dryer balls you have in the dyer, the faster your drying time. By investing in this set of dryer balls, they will save you money over time.  



I think I've heard you can put essential oils on these to help add a lovely scent to your laundry, but Paul does not like scented things, even essential oils, so I've never bothered.

Second, today, I ran across this 33-second video about making your own dryer sheets.

This is HUGE because I think a lot of people don't think laundry is clean unless it is heavily scented or perfumed. And most of the main stream laundry detergents and dryer sheets contain known toxins in those very scents and perfumes (and detergents). Bad stuff. Hormone disruptors and that ilk. Look it up. This thread is NOT to talk about the toxins, but rather for ideas for better, truly cleaner clean laundry!

Here's the video from Thrive Market:



Super easy - used t-shirts for the cloth, vinegar and essential oils.

Anyone else have tricks or techniques they employ when using an electric (or gas) clothes dryer?

 
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Wool dryer balls are great, but seem to be pricey for what they are-just wads of felted (read-shrunken, abused) wool. I hunted in the thrift stores for an undyed 100% wool sweater. Brought it home and unraveled it. No need to be too compulsive, just try and keep the yarn strands as long as possibly. Wind the yarn up in balls-tightly- and then stuff them in an old nylon stocking or net veggie bag. Tie it tightly around each ball that is in the bag so that each one is encased separately. Now you can do this in the washer (the agitation helps too) or in a pot on the stove. Hot water (in the washer) or boiling on the stove. Then into the dryer on hot. Let them bang around in there until dry. Take a look. Can you still see individual yarn? Do it all one more time. It can also help if you have a felting tool to go over the outsied of each ball a little.
 
pollinator
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ve started using Soap berries.  They serve all three functions. They free dirt from fabric in the wash cycle.  They act as fabric softener in the rinse cycle.  If I don't put the clothes on the line they go into the dryer and act as the anti static as they tumble around in their little bag.  The towels are even soft and almost fluffy when dried on the line in comparison to ones washed with detergent.

I have even been making an extract of them and filling my hand soap pump; cleans hands as well as Basic-H. Better than what came in the pump bottle. Allows me to work pitch off my hands.
Using two bags of soap berries and the extra rinse cycle on grease covered jeans got them usable again.
Source Econuts.com They also have the dryer balls.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Love these tips, Gail and Hans! Keep 'em coming!

In some ways, I've had more money than time, so I enjoyed supporting a local homestead business with my purchase of the wool dryer balls. And now Gail's instructions for making your own sound easy and fun. I've never felted before myself though I do so enjoy felted wool things.

Hans, I'd wondered about leaving the soap nuts in the wash *and* rinse cycles, so it's awesome to hear your positive experience plus even letting them go through the dryer cycle, too!

 
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I quit using fabric softener and dryer sheets.  I also hang my clothes on the line.  My clothes are soft and smell nice.  I put vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser on the washer.  This would also work if you are using the clothes dryer.
 
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I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
 
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When possible I hang my clothes inside my house rather than use a dryer (outside hanging isn't possible) but occasionally I do have to use the dryer. I was going to make some wool dryer balls because I read that they help reduce your drying time and help with static. Does anyone have any experience with them? Are they helpful? If it makes a difference I make my own laundry detergent and don't use dryer sheets or anything of that nature. Thanks!
 
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I use tennis balls and a few "as seen on tv" versions. They seem to help.
 
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My wife knitted a few dryer balls and stuffed them with wool. The heat of the dryer encourages the wool to release its "animal scent". Our clean laundry would come out smelling a lot like our dog after being caught in the rain. We stopped using them.
 
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Most wool and fleeces are washed multiple times before they finally become fiber, so dryerballs shouldn’t have any issue. If they do, wash them, and dry them. You won’t hurt them. Hahahahaha I made myself some with some extra yarn I had. Don’t use poly-anything or it won’t felt up. Just take the yarn and start wrapping a tight ball. Do this until they are about the size of a tennis ball. 1 skene per ball worked for me. Once you have enough balls that you’re satisfied. Tie each one into a compartment in a pair of pantyhose, wash and dry them several times. You hve just created your own dryer balls.... have fun!
 
pollinator
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We use them at home. They're great. Much less static, no nasty, persistent chemical stench, and they last. We've been using the same three dryer balls for four years now.

They should, incidentally, be a felted product, for reasons of wear, and not raw wool, or you end up smelling like sheep, as noted.

I am sorry, Taylor, that your first attempt was less than successful. I hope you try felted woolen dryer balls. I swear I never smell like wet dog or sheep, and I only occasionally leave the house with a pair of my much better half's panties stuck to the back of my shirt.

Thanks for the how-to, Jacob. I will give it a shot the next time we're going through our yarn scraps.

-CK
 
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Anyone use herbs to scent their laundry?

I line dry but like to use the Snuggle Lavendar fabric softener just for the scent. Wonder if I could grow lavender and make some sort of rinse to give clothes the same smell.

Though I suppose dried lavendar sachets may work but am not sure how long the scent would last.
 
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I thought I'd do some research on WHY static occurs on clothes. I recall learning that cotton and wool and other natural fibres have a lot less static than non-natural fibres. Come to find out, that's a really basic, and not very correct, explanation

I found a lesson on static electricity (https://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm#.W-dw_rYRd48). Here's some info from it

When you rub two materials together, some combinations can cause or create more static electricity than others. Since static electricity is the collection of electrically charged particles on the surface of a material, various materials have a tendency of either giving up electrons and becoming positive (+) in charge or attracting electrons and becoming negative (−) in charge.



Skin and polyester clothes
A common complaint people have in the winter is that they shoot sparks when touching objects. This is typically caused because they have dry skin, which can become highly positive (+) in charge, especially when the clothes they wear are made of polyester material, which can become negative (−) in charge.

People that build up static charges due to dry skin are advised to wear all-cotton clothes, which is neutral. Also, moist skin reduces the collection of charges.



Here's the chart I found on what materials gain positive (+) electrical charges and give up electrons (wool, human skin, etc), what's neutral (like cotton) and what materials gain negative (−) electrical charges and attract electrons (polyester). When you put a wool ball in your dryer, it absorbs the positive charges so your skin doesn't get zapped trying to do that. But, if you have cotton and wool clothes, you're not going to get static on your clothes!
static_electricity_wool_cotton_polyester.jpg
[Thumbnail for static_electricity_wool_cotton_polyester.jpg]
screen shots from https://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm#.W-dw_rYRd48
 
r ranson
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After many failed attempts to make my own, a friend took pity on me and gave me some dryer balls for a Holiday Gift.  

I used them for the first time yesterday.  Here are my first impressions.

  • they make a lot of noise
  • the clothes came out much dryer than normal and with about a third less time (the dryer has an auto-sensor)
  • there was no static


  • I suspect these wouldn't reduce static so well with synthetic cloth, especially rayon (like bamboo, soy silk, and the like).  But for natural plant cloth like cotton and for wool socks, it works a treat.  
     
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:Anyone use herbs to scent their laundry?

    I line dry but like to use the Snuggle Lavendar fabric softener just for the scent. Wonder if I could grow lavender and make some sort of rinse to give clothes the same smell.

    Though I suppose dried lavendar sachets may work but am not sure how long the scent would last.



    I would think even two or three drops of lavender essential oil in the dryer would leave a lavender scent on your clothes, minus the carcinogens and other pollutants.
     
    pollinator
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    Anna Tennis wrote:

    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:Anyone use herbs to scent their laundry?

    I line dry but like to use the Snuggle Lavendar fabric softener just for the scent. Wonder if I could grow lavender and make some sort of rinse to give clothes the same smell.

    Though I suppose dried lavendar sachets may work but am not sure how long the scent would last.



    I would think even two or three drops of lavender essential oil in the dryer would leave a lavender scent on your clothes, minus the carcinogens and other pollutants.



    You can use pretty much any essential oil, for this, depending on your preference. But, lavender is a classic, is fresh smelling, and has anti-pest, anti-bacterial, and anti - septic properties, as well. For best results, keep your dryer temp on a low heat setting, to preserve these heat sensitive properties, and leave the freshest scent!
     
    Carla Burke
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    r ranson wrote:After many failed attempts to make my own, a friend took pity on me and gave me some dryer balls for a Holiday Gift.  

    I used them for the first time yesterday.  Here are my first impressions.

  • they make a lot of noise
  • the clothes came out much dryer than normal and with about a third less time (the dryer has an auto-sensor)
  • there was no static


  • I suspect these wouldn't reduce static so well with synthetic cloth, especially rayon (like bamboo, soy silk, and the like).  But for natural plant cloth like cotton and for wool socks, it works a treat.  



    If you're washing many synthetic clothes, dampen a clean washcloth with plain, white vinegar, and toss it into the dryer, with the clothes. This - especially combined with a lower heat setting, will reduce or eliminate the static. 😁
     
    gardener
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    I think I have a misconception about "synthetic", I thought synthetic referred to petroleum derived fibers like polyester, nylon, orlon, lots of them....  when it comes to rayon, it is made of wood or cellulose from bamboo, or pine trees.  They do split the cellulose into small units, then reform it into strands... but it is more like cotton than like a petroleum based fiber.

    As for the dryer balls, I had some from local llamas,but gave them to my son for Christmas.  They were wonderful,did not smell like animal, softened things up, I did not notice the sound,but that might be where in the house the laundry is located.

    Then I made some out of dog hair (Komondor)to replace the ones I liked so well I gave them away.  The dog fiber was kind of matted, I teased it apart some, pulled the plant material out and wrapped layer after layer, then did as described above with the nylon stocking.

    They work fine, they smell doggy when moist,but I think that will fade. The clothes dried with them do not take up the dog smell.  
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    r ranson wrote:Here are my first impressions.

  • they make a lot of noise

  • You're right, they do make bouncy noises in the dryer, though a LOT less noise than Paul's overalls make! Haha!

    In all seriousness though, I think dryer balls make less noise than a pair of tennis shoes, though more noise than most buttons or zippers. And, as I mentioned, they do make less noise than overalls fasteners (or clips, buckles, whatever you call them).

    Our washing machine and dryer are in a tiny utility room just off the kitchen and between the two is a door that we usually leave open. With boots and other residents here, when the dryer is going with dryer balls in it, no one really notices; and it's not as if we have to raise our voices to be heard over it. The dining room table is right next to that room, and if the dryer is going while people are at the table, it hasn't been a problem. I find it a very mild noise.

    Dryer balls also make far less noise than our front-loading washing machine made when its bearings when bad. Now *that* was a horrible noise! And we certainly CLOSED the door to try to minimize that horrible racket and almost having to shout to be heard over it! Uff. We are very happy the bearings were replaced and it's a normal, fairly polite machine now!

    ~~~~~

    Thekla, I had not heard that about rayon. I always assumed rayon was made from polyester, or other synthetics (?), and not plant fibers. Could it be that there are multiple kinds of rayon fabric?


     
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    Thekla, I had not heard that about rayon. I always assumed rayon was made from polyester, or other synthetics (?), and not plant fibers. Could it be that there are multiple kinds of rayon fabric?



    Yes, I always understood rayon to be made from wood fibers with a pretty intense chemical process, and that's what wikipedia says too. BTW "bamboo" cloth is similar.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Rebecca Norman wrote:

    Yes, I always understood rayon to be made from wood fibers with a pretty intense chemical process, and that's what wikipedia says too. BTW "bamboo" cloth is similar.


    Hm, so maybe the intense chemical process makes it act more like a synthetic fiber.

    I have tried some organic bamboo clothing and have found some items to be far less breathable than cotton. Rather disappointingly so.

     
    r ranson
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    Rayon is a method for making fibre from cellulose and a category of different fibre types.  Bamboo, soy silk, milk silk, sea silk, mulberry silk (not to be confused with Bombyx silk), and the like are either energy or chemical intensive to make - usually both.  It's really neat how they make these fibres.  I consider them synthetics because they aren't found in nature.   Some classify them as psudo-synthetics or semi-synthetics because the components are natural.  

    These are not fibres I include in my household so I don't know how they perform in the dryer.  
     
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