One of my first tips for anyone starting to detox their homes is to quit using fabric softener and dryer sheets. These products coat your clothes with chemicals linked to hormone disruption, asthma, and even cancer. Not to mention what they do downstream in our environment… And while more people are getting on board with this, the first question for many is: how else do you get rid of static?
Here are 5 natural fabric softener and dryer sheet alternatives that you can try the next time you do laundry.
1. Try nothing.
Can you think of why you use fabric softener or dryer sheets? For many of my clients, it’s because that’s what their parents did. But have you ever tried just not using the products to see if you even need them?
Sure, some people miss the feel of towels or the scent wafting from the dryer when it’s done. But these really aren’t doing your clothes – or your health – any favours. So if you can get over those, you might just find that you don’t need anything at all! Less work and less to buy, win-win. (This is my approach in my own home, by the way.)
2. Hang dry or reduce drying time.
If you can hang your clothes to dry, especially synthetics, they will have less static cling (and there are so many other benefits to avoiding the dryer if possible!).
If hang drying isn’t possible, try reducing drying time. If your dryer has a sensor option, use it instead of automatically running it for the max amount of time. It might take some trial and error to find out how long your dryer actually takes to get your clothes just dry. But it might be worth a few tests to prevent the over-drying that can cause static cling.
3. Wash synthetics and natural fibres separately.
This one might be tricky, especially if you wash colours and whites separately already, but keeping like with like fabric types can help reduce static cling too. Consider handwashing and hanging delicates or doing a small load of synthetics if they’re posing a problem for you.
4. Use wool dryer balls.
A lot of people swear by wool dryer balls (like these ones, which are handmade in Canada). If you’re missing the scent of dryer sheets or fabric softener, you can add some essential oil to the balls to give you laundry a light scent without the toxic chemicals. They can also help speed up drying time, which is another bonus.
5. Try natural fabric softener or dryer sheets.
If all of the above fail for you, I’ve added this one with hesitation and a note to proceed with caution. Cleaning products don’t have to disclose what’s in them, and are notorious for exaggerating claims of natural ingredients. So before buying any of these, make sure it’s from a brand you trust. You can grab my list of green, green-ish, and greenwashed cleaners brands here.
I hope this helps you take the leap if you haven’t already to switch out your fabric softener or dryer sheets for a more natural alternative, without sacrificing performance. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reported that US fabric softener sales dropped 15% from 2007 to 2015 – in part because millennials don’t buy it. Let’s follow their lead, shall we?
This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking, I will make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay, and allows me to continue providing great information through my blog and other resources. I am an affiliate with Organic Lifestyle because I was a customer first and truly believe in what they have to offer.