Zero Waste Tip #11: Wool Dryer Balls

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11. Swap out your dryer sheets for wool dryer balls.

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Laundry Room: Switch to Wool Dryer Balls
A lot of life is lived in our laundry rooms! It’s worth putting in the effort to make them eco-friendly!

Have you ever stopped to think about what ingredients are in those dryer sheets that you throw into every load of laundry? How about what happens to them once you’ve tossed them in the trash? Let’s dig a little deeper to uncover the answers.

According to this article on Healthline.com, dryer sheets are “thin sheets…made of nonwoven polyester fabric covered with softeners to help soften clothes and reduce static cling, as well as fragrances to deliver a fresh scent.” One main brand lists the following ingredients for their dryer sheets on Amazon:

  • Dipalmethyl Hydroxyethylammonium Methosulfate: I attempted to determine what this chemical does exactly, but all I could discover was that it softens fabric and takes away static. Sounds awfully suspicious.
  • Fatty acid: This substance melts when your dryer heats up and subsequently covers the surface of your clothes in order to make them feel softer.
  • Polyester substrate: This is synonymous with plastic, so when you toss those in the trash, they’re going to sit in a landfill for a very long time.
  • Clay: This is used to “control the viscosity of the fabric softener coating as it begins to melt in the dryer,” according to this article from the Chemical and Engineering News website.
  • Fragrance: This could be any compound of chemicals, but companies are not required to disclose these ingredients. It’s entirely unregulated, so no one knows what’s in it.

Wool Dryer balls, on the other hand, are completely natural and 100% harmless. They’re biodegradable and compostable, and they’re typically packaged in a cloth bag that is reusable and very low waste. They reduce static electricity, soften your clothes, and shorten drying time (which therefore saves energy and lowers your electricity bill). Essential oils can also be added if you desire scented laundry.

I’ve had these dryer balls for several years now, and they still work great!

Lifestyle Benefits: All questionable ingredients in dryer sheets are avoided by switching to dryer balls, and this swap is another money saver! Here’s the math: you can purchase 240 dryer sheets on Amazon for approximately $8 (lasting about 80 loads of laundry if you use 3 dryer sheets per load). So for 1000 loads of laundry, you’d spend $100 on dryer sheets. OR you can purchase these reusable wool dryer balls on Amazon for $16.95. They’re estimated to last 1000+ loads, so eventually you’ll be saving $83.05!

Earth Benefits: Dryer sheets fall into the ‘single-use plastic’ category, just like plastic grocery bags, plastic straws, and plastic water bottles. You might forget about them after each load of laundry, but these fellows stick around for years.

4 thoughts on “Zero Waste Tip #11: Wool Dryer Balls

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