Sunday, January 30, 2011

Changing My Footprint: Laundry

This isn't going to be a long one.  I really wanted to share this with you all because this is such a time saver and so worth the money it costs (very little by the way).  A few of my fellow bloggers got me thinking about things I'm not doing that I should be. Joella over at Fine and Fair wrote about making Better World Resolutions and I got to thinking about what I could do to make my footprint just a little smaller. 
So I started with my biggest footprint in the home: LAUNDRY.  I looked into eco-friendly laundry and came away with a few things to consider.

  1. Laundry detergent is full of stuff I don't want coming into contact with Little Man or myself and hubby.
  2. Fabric softener is awful stuff as well.  Whether you use it in your washer or dryer.
  3. What any of this means for my cloth diaper loads.
I found a few articles from eHow on making your own eco-friendly laundry detergent.  I have not had the time to go that far but for the time being I'll finish out my brand of "free" laundry detergent and then switch.  Honestly I feel it is a bit more wasteful to dump something I paid for and switch.

What I did not wait to switch was my fabric softener.  I myself have a reaction to liquid fabric softener but have been using dryer sheets all my washing life.  Did you know that using those sheets can harm your dryer?  I did know that and when we got our new washer and dryer I had that article in the back of my mind and really did not like the fact that I was doing that to something I paid good money for.  So I searched out eco-friendly methods for softening clothes.  I came across Dryer Balls.  I had seen the commercials for this when they came out and as with most "as seen on TV" products I tend to ignore them.  However, I really did like that fact that these had a few things going for them.
  1. They are chemical free. (They are made of plastic so I and you may want to check that part out more)
  2. They are inexpensive.
  3. They are reusable.
  4. They claim to work better then dryer sheets.
I did a little research online and found some great reviews.  I also found some skepticism about their claims.  I link to the skeptics because I feel they have valid points.  I too have my doubts about all their claims and I worry with stuff bouncing around in my new dryer I might dent the drum or something worse.  What I did find though is that things were softer then when I didn't use anything in my dryer and pretty on par or at least close enough with what I had experienced with fabric sheets that I didn't miss the smell of the "fragrance" or the feel.

Cloth Diaper Note:  I used them with my Flip inserts since they did not contain any fragrance and they made them a little fluffier and they soaked up a bit more when I used them.  I am pretty sure that was because it roughed up the micro-terry loops so they held more.

There are a few other options out there you can try if you'd like : tennis balls, felted-wool dryer balls or white vinegar in the washer.  If you are interested in the wool ones here is a tutorial from goodmama.  

I don't know if I'll stick with these particular dryer balls yet but I am feeling like I'm on the path to get control of my family's eco-footprint.

Photo Credit: Author


  1. I have those same dryer balls! :) When it comes time to replace them, I'm going to try wool dryer balls! I try to avoid plastic as much possible when there are greener alternatives available, and I first saw these at our local farmers market this past summer. There are tons of them available on etsy!

    I'm not ambitious enough to make my own detergent, so we use Planet liquid and love it. I'm so glad I could inspire you to be mindful of opportunities to make changes! <3

  2. @ Joella-I was just browsing through your old posts and I thought I'm so disappointed I didn't know about this post when it happened. Then I said to myself something like this wasn't meant to be a one time thing. I can totally join in and do something better for the environment and ourselves as well. Thanks for being so forward-thinking!

  3. I used these dryer balls for a while. What I found was that they really do dmage to the clothing. They really tore up some of our clothes. I would use them with caution or maybe purchase some wollie balls.
    Good luck!

  4. @nursinmamaa thank you for the head's up. I tend not to wear delicate clothing but I am being cautious with these. I have some extra wool laying around and I had found the tutorial to make my own. It is going to be a project of mine later this month.


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