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.
- Laundry detergent is full of stuff I don't want coming into contact with Little Man or myself and hubby.
- Fabric softener is awful stuff as well. Whether you use it in your washer or dryer.
- 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.
- They are chemical free. (They are made of plastic so I and you may want to check that part out more)
- They are inexpensive.
- They are reusable.
- 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