Everyone appreciates fresh smelling, warm, and dry laundry. My husband, in particular, always really liked the way that scented dryer sheets made all of his clothing smell. But, he has very sensitive skin and we discovered that they were making him unbearably itchy, especially when I used dryer sheets on our bedding.
Dryer sheets are pretty icky. Unlike detergents, the chemicals that they contain are not meant to wash away, they are meant to cling to clothing and give it a scent. Largely due to these chemicals that are meant to stay onto fabric, dryer sheets are considered one of the most toxic household cleaning products with directed use. Chemicals like alpha terpineol, benzyl acetate, pentane, linalool, limonene, and chloroform are in dryer sheets. These chemicals are linked to cancer, neurological issues, dizziness, respiratory issues, headaches and many more problems. And on top of all of that, there are fragrance chemicals added as well that have their own dangers. And all of these ingredients are in constant contact with your skin, your lungs, and your eyes.
When we stopped using dryer sheets, my husband’s skin got much better and I could actually sleep because he wasn’t scratching. But he missed the fresh smell of just-out-of-the-dryer-laundry. And so, I tried a few “DIY” natural dryer sheets from Pinterest. Most involved soaking fabric in essential oils, but my skin is very sensitive to those.
The solution was to make a dryer ball that would contain the essential oil without dousing the fabric with a hefty dose. The dryer ball took care of the static and left a nice scent.
DIY Dryer Balls
Take a few mismatched socks, socks with holes, or just worn out socks, and ball them up (make sure they are clean). First, turn down the sides the outside sock. Before adding to the dryer, put several drops of a gentle, skin safe essential oil into the middle of the ball and cover back up with the outside sock. Add to the dryer and let it work it’s magic.
Some skin safe essential oils*:
- Tea Tree
*Remember: many essential oils are not safe to use directly on skin and many are also not safe to use during pregnancy, lactation, or around small children. Do your research, buy from a reputable seller, and double check that it is safe. Even those these dryer balls keep most of the oils off of the fabric, transfer may occur. These dryer balls also work with no scent at all to keep your clothes free from static and to dry faster.