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Why dryer sheets were the first thing I eliminated when Tony got sick

Posted by Rachel Bollin on

Before Tony went into stage 5 renal failure, I giggled at his obsessive use of dryer sheets.  He loved them nearly as much as he loves football and would always use two or three at a time. While I've never been one to use dryer sheets myself, I did understand why he loved them so much.  Their fragrance is inviting, they make clothes feel soft, and in some ways it just feels like it's something you're supposed to use because for so long that was the norm.   It wasn't until he was on dialysis and I began to research household chemicals, that I started to understand that his obsession was no laughing matter.   

During my research, I uncovered that dryer sheets are made of heat activated chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, are harmful to kidneys, cause asthma, and other respiratory issues.  When the dryer heats up these dryer sheets are designed to rub their chemicals onto your clothes.  Sure they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, but there's a price to pay.   Now that those chemicals are in your clothes, they have direct contact with your skin.  You go outside, you start to heat up and those heat activated chemicals rub into your pores.     


There has to be a better way.  And fortunately there is.  After this discovery some 6 years ago, I began to think about what I could do to replace dryer sheets and still have soft clothes that smell fresh.  Then I discovered wool dryer balls.  The first batch I made myself.  Oh how I look back on that and laugh.  There I was spending days just to make three dryer balls from yarn I purchased at the local craft store.  It was quite the labor of love but they worked!  They worked so well, even Tony fell in love with the idea.  The beauty behind wool dryer balls isn't just that they make clothes softer, but it's the actual science of them and how they help dry laundry faster.    The job of wool dryer balls is to separate items in the dryer so the air can flow better.  Instead of items just balling up, intertwining together into a clump of wet mess, dryer balls when you use 3 or more, keep everything separated and flowing in the dryer.  Such a simple concept with such a cool outcome. 


But what about that fresh scent we all love so much?  You still have options.  A really fun way to use dryer balls is by infusing them with essential oils.   Just add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to each dryer ball, place them in the dryer and let it run for about 5 minutes.  Add clothes to the dryer and bam!  You've got a fresh, natural scent added to your laundry. 


Another major win for dryer balls is how long they last.  1000 cycles!  That's like a year.  So much money saved in using these amazing gadgets made from natural resources.  

I know change is hard, but I promise you that dryer balls are a major game changer and you are gonna love them!