One of my personal goals this year has been to majorly overhaul how I clean my house in order prioritize sustainability. While I’ve gone ahead and swapped out paper towels with microfiber cloths, and have wasted way fewer products like detergent and cleaning spray, it was hard to ditch dryer sheets. I’ve been using Snuggle fabric-softening sheets for decades—I basically associate a toasty, clean load of laundry with Snuggle, and it’s hard to break that.
But there’s a lot of waste involved in a carton of dryer sheets. Not only was I going through at least three sheets per laundry day, but I was also spending unnecessary money. There’s a way to fluff your laundry that’s more eco- and wallet-friendly, and so I set out to make that change happen.
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Dryer balls fluff and soften laundry, and they can also cut down drying time—so not only are you wasting less product, but you’re wasting less time. When doing my research on wool dryer balls, I found myself drawn to Food52’s colorful assortment that could also look really cute in a bowl near my washer and dryer (eco-friendly and makeshift home decor? Why not).
Dryer balls are a first for me, so I had to google how to actually use them. (It’s easy: You typically use three per load, and some sites will recommend that you stick some safety pins through each ball in order to cut down on discharge and static.) I tried the balls without the safety pins the first few times, and found that they fluffed my laundry right up, and they did, in fact, decrease drying time by 15 to 20 minutes. They also help combat wrinkles, which meant zero time spent ironing out shirts (score).
I used these on bedding, towels, clothes of various fabrics, and dog toys—and not only did they work just as well as dryer sheets, but they actually helped grab more pet hair. They also last a long, long time. Typically, dryer balls have a lifespan of about 1,000 washes (for comparison, a box of Snuggle has 230 sheets). If my math is right, these earth friendly laundry helpers (which come in a pack of six for $36) will probably last me around six to seven years.
One thing I really did miss was the smell of Snuggle (thanks, nostalgia), but if you want, you can always use a few drops of essential oil in your dryer balls to give your freshly dried laundry a scent. I chose to forgo—my detergent smells good enough on its own, and I ultimately didn’t really notice the difference after I folded everything up.
Ultimately, this was probably the easiest change I’ve made in how I clean my home. There’s no added effort, and I’m saving money and time. And did I mention these dryer balls are super adorable?
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