need a replacement for dryer sheets/fabric softener - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-26-2007, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm tired of spending money on chemicals for fabric softener/dryer sheets. I want a reusable static eliminating/fabric fluffing, uh, thing. I heard people talk about vinegar, but what exactly does it do? I also heard mention of aluminum foil or tennis balls in the dryer. I'm actually looking at the Nellie's dryer balls or some sort of reusable fabric similar to a dryer sheet. What do you use?
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#2 of 12 Old 07-26-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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If you are looking for a sheet to add scent I would recommend just taking a square of cloth- like a facecloth or similar- add a few drops of EO and put it in the dryer. If you are looking for fluffy I would try a tennis ball. Vinegar goes in your rinse cycle of your washing machine and acts like a fabric softener.

Laura WAHM to Mar 03/01/05 and Evie 05/14/08, partner to Craig
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#3 of 12 Old 07-26-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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I just switched to Static Eliminators that I bought from Gaiam.com. They are fabric tubes that have some kind of carbon fiber woven into them. They're unscented, last up to 500 loads, and cost about $20 for a set of two.

They've worked really well. We've had no static except when I put a giant blanket in the dryer that ended up in a big wad, so the eliminators couldn't get to all its surfaces. We live in an extremely arid climate, and I'm pretty picky about static, so I've been impressed.

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#4 of 12 Old 07-26-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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I second the dryer balls thingy. It works great.

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#5 of 12 Old 07-26-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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I use vinegar in my rinse and the dryer balls. I also use Ecover liquid softener just for my blankets and trow rugs. A bottle lasts me a year.

:CLC,Doula :Mama to 2
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#6 of 12 Old 07-27-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that ALL dryer balls are made from PVC plastic. Pretty yucky when you consider they heat up in your dryer and bounce all over your clothing that you then wear, and snuggle your babies up next to...

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#7 of 12 Old 07-27-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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Step one: use less detergent. If you use the amount the manufacturer recommends, your clothing will have detergent residue. It's this residue that then provides the market for fabric softener.

Step two: don't overload the washer and make sure the detergent all rinses out. An extra rinse helps this, but either vinegar or baking soda can help.

Step three: don't overdry, but if you do--don't dry synthetics with natural fibers. That wrinkle-saver permpress feature on the dryer? It just builds up the static.

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#8 of 12 Old 07-28-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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i gave my mom some of those blue prickly balls and she loves them.

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#9 of 12 Old 07-28-2007, 10:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymommy View Post
I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that ALL dryer balls are made from PVC plastic. Pretty yucky when you consider they heat up in your dryer and bounce all over your clothing that you then wear, and snuggle your babies up next to...
Yes! I agree - I was going to say the same thing about tennis balls. They smell awful - I wouldn't want them near my clothes!

I use vinegar in the rinse (when I remember to) and lavender sachets in the dryer. I still get static with synthetics especially, so I try to pull them out and hang them when I can.

I admit I have a few regular dryer sheets around. When I wash our big pile of fleece blankets/throws I put 1/2 of one in there. I'm hoping to get a clothesline so I won't feel the need to do this!

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#10 of 12 Old 07-28-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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The news station consumer reporter did a comparison test of those blue dryer balls and found no difference in fluffiness and such between the towel loads done with the balls and the same loads done without.

The noise was horrendous too. Can't be good for the dryer to be being beaten like that with every load.

Now that it's been pointed out, I wouldn't want the plastics outgasses in our clothing either.

I limit my dryer sheet usage to winter, when static is an issue. Otherwise, I don't use anything but baking soda and 1/3 the recommended amount of our detergent in the wash.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#11 of 12 Old 07-31-2007, 03:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocelyndale View Post
Step one: use less detergent. If you use the amount the manufacturer recommends, your clothing will have detergent residue. It's this residue that then provides the market for fabric softener.

Step two: don't overload the washer and make sure the detergent all rinses out. An extra rinse helps this, but either vinegar or baking soda can help.

Step three: don't overdry, but if you do--don't dry synthetics with natural fibers. That wrinkle-saver permpress feature on the dryer? It just builds up the static.
Totally. Especially step three. My dryer has a sensor that I now set toward "less dry" and clothes come out much less crispy and staticky than they used to when I set it toward "more dry". I also found that when we switched to Charlie's Soap, the clothes got a lot softer and smelled much, much better.

I keep recommending Charlie's Soap to everyone. I'm sorry! But discovering the stuff after so many years of rashes and smelly towels, I kind of wish they made cheesy TV spots so I could be in one.

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding since May, 2004, with dd6, ds4, and dd born 9/11.
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#12 of 12 Old 08-02-2007, 07:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymommy View Post
I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that ALL dryer balls are made from PVC plastic. Pretty yucky when you consider they heat up in your dryer and bounce all over your clothing that you then wear, and snuggle your babies up next to...
thank you for telling me that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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