Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Babysteps: Wool dryer balls

Something else that I have gotten rid of in our house is fabric softener sheets. If you google fabric softener sheets you will see claims of everything from cancer-containing ingredients to disease-worsening fragrances to waxy buildup. One of the biggest reasons I could not use them is they can leave build-up and residue on cloth diapers even if used only on regular laundry. I don’t like the idea of anything leaving a film or residue on my clothes so I finally just threw the rest of the box away without even using it up.

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Instead, we have started using wool dyer balls. I love mine so much that I decided to start making and selling them. I’ll probably make a total of $6 of off them, but they are fun! I can tell the biggest difference in drying time with the cloth diapers, especially the thick inserts for Kai’s trainers. If I don’t put the dryer balls in, everything is still damp afterwards.

These can be used over and over again instead of dryer sheets, plastic PVC balls, or chemical additives. They are an excellent green alternative to chemical-laden fabric sheets! Best of all they are money saving!! Safe for cloth diapers. Will not bleed.

Wool absorbs moisture and cuts down on drying time, often cuts times in half. The bouncing around of the balls increases air circulation, softens laundry and reduces wrinkles, as well as static. Lint and pet hair sticks to the balls.

The more you add the shorter your drying time. It is recommended to use 2-6 balls for a normal-sized load. For synthetic fibers, at least 4 balls are recommended. For large loads, at least 6 balls are recommended. By using 4 or more, drying time is usually reduced 20-50%, depending on the size of the load. If dryer balls start to pill, you can use a sweater shaver or leave them natural. Pilling may actually help the balls work better.

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