Author: Christina Eleton
June 14, 2021

Natural Alternative To Toxic Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets may seem like a harmless part of your laundry routine, but you may want to rethink this step once you know a few facts I'm about to share with you. 

What Are Dryer Sheets?

Dryer sheets are composed of an array of chemicals and fragrances coated on a layer of fabric, which is often made of polyester or cellulose fibers. When placed in a load of laundry, the dryer heat works to release these ingredients onto your fabrics. Dryer sheets work by reducing static, depositing scents and make laundry smell good and feel softer. 

How Are Dryer Sheets Toxic?

The fragrances and chemicals dryer sheets contain, most of which are toxic are linked to serious health concerns such as...

  • respiratory irritation
  • asthma concerns
  • headaches/migraines
  • contact dermatitis (skin issues)
  • eye & throat irritation
  • hormone disruptors
  • mimic estrogen
  • can cause certain cancers

A Few Facts & Findings

  • In a 2011 Study published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, researchers discovered that dryer vents emitted more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • In one mice study, fabric softening products triggered limited airflow and pulmonary irritation in the animals studied. 
  • In 2009, nearly 10 percent of the general U.S. population reports irritation from scents coming out of dryer vents. By 2016, that number increased to more than 12 percent. 
  • In a study focusing on hormone disruptors and asthma triggers in everyday products, Silent Spring Institute researchers found dryer sheets contained some of the highest concentrations of harmful fragrance chemicals... compounds like acetyl hexamethyl tetralin, isobornyl acetate and phenethyl alcohol was found. 
  • According to EcoWatch, dryer sheets often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, which can trigger asthma attacks. These cautoionic fabric softeners also routinely trigger reproductive toxicity in animals. Also, acetone used in dryer sheets can trigger episodes of dizziness and even headaches.  
  • Many dryer sheets contain chemicals that react with the air to create formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.
  • Other common dryer sheet pollutants include acetaldehyde and benzene, things also found in vehicle exhaust that are not considered safe at any level.

As if this research wasn't concerning enough, the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn't require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients used in their products on the label. This is just another reason to ditch the dryer sheets.

Safe Alternative To Dryer Sheets

Wool Dryer Balls are an all natural alternative to dryer sheets.  They are designed to get in between items and remove lint as well as eliminating static. They are also more efficient by reducing the amount of drying time.

Benefits Of Using Wool Dryer Balls

  • All-natural materials
  • Faster drying time 
  • Reduces and eliminates static
  • More efficiency 
  • Less expensive 
  • Safe for skin
  • Reusable

Materials Needed

  • Natural wool dryer balls
  • Essential oils
  • Essential oil dropper
  • Jar glass container

Trader Joe's Wool Dryer Balls are what I use and recommend. They are all-natural-100% wool, chemical-free, unscented and made without dyes.

How To Use Wool Dryer Balls

  • Throw the dryer balls in the dryer...that's it!

How To Add A Natural Fresh Scent With Essential Oils

  • Completely dry load of laundry.
  • Add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls.
  • Place the dryer balls with your laundry and turn dryer to non-heat setting.
  • Let dryer run for 15-20 minutes more.

If you have never experimented with essential oils, I recommend starting out with a starter set like you see here, Plant Therapy Essential Oil Set. These are my favorite scents that I use very often for so many things, especially cleaning my house.

For this particular cleaning hack, I love the fresh lemon scent added to my clothes and linens. Lavender essential oil is also another one at the top of my list I like to use. I add a few drops of oil with this Plant Therapy dropper and let it absorb for about five minutes to allow the scent to permeate through the dryer ball.

Adding oils is optional, but why would you want to skip it? It makes everything smell so fresh and clean and its just so much fun to do. I love knowing this alternative cleaning hack is completely safe for my family and gets the job done just as well.

How To Store Dryer Balls

My favorite way to store these dryer balls is this Glass Container. In fact, I have several of these around my home that I store things such as soaps, cotton balls, cotton rounds, etc. These Containers are just a beautiful way to keep things organized and ready to use whenever needed. Isn't it wonderful that the dryer balls are reusable? Yes, you can use them over and over! Think of all the money you can save if you make this one little switch...and most importantly, prevent a whole host of health concerns.

Isn't it wonderful that the dryer balls are reusable? Yes, you can use them over and over! Think of all the money you can save if you make this one little switch...and most importantly, prevent a whole host of health concerns.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Christina Eleton’s Real Girl Living is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, (as well as other affiliate associations offered by other companies). If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your cost will be the same, but Christina Eleton’s Real Girl Living will receive a small commission. Your support helps us continue our mission and is greatly appreciated!

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