Monday, April 21, 2008

Those Pesky Dryer Sheets

Tomorrow is Earth Day. We go to great lengths to keep our homes healthy and safe for us. It only makes sense to extend that care to the rest of our environment--the earth we live on. My dream is for a chemical-free environment outside of my home as well as inside of it.

Last Sunday evening was unusually warm and I decided to take a short walk outside, something I hadn't done for months. It turned out to be not such a good idea, since apparently many people do their laundry on Sundays. Several houses I walked by were spewing forth scented dryer exhaust, a result of those fabric softener sheets the manufacturers say we MUST use.

Even after I started having trouble with scented products, I continued to use the dryer sheets, but in the "unscented" form. A good friend gave me some information about the chemicals that go into the manufacture of even these kind, and that was enough to convince me to cease and desist. However, one of the unfortunate side effects of not using them was that my laundry seemed to come out of the dryer more wrinkled. This problem was greatly magnified last year when we bought a large capacity (albeit energy efficient) dryer, which seemed to toss the clothes around in one big lump. But I found a solution, and it doesn't involve any chemicals.

A few months ago I had to go into our new Bed, Bath and Beyond store (not a store I would normally go into, for obvious reasons). I just went to the front counter to buy a wedding gift card, and there on the counter display were these funny looking blue balls with little spines all over them--"Dryer Balls". The display said they would take the place of dryer softener sheets, with no added chemicals, and turn out laundry with less wrinkles and static cling. For only $9.99 for a set of two, I decided it was worth the try.

I've been using these funny little balls for several months now, and I really like them. They keep the clothes separated as they bounce around in the dryer, and they don't make a lot of noise (like the tennis balls we put in the dryer with our down coats). I think they would be even more effective if I used four of them, since my dryer is so large, but I haven't felt like going back to the store to get them. For now, this is good enough.

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