I’ve never been a fan of dryers. They have a nasty habit of shrinking my clothes and making my sweaters “pilly.” Plus, lint is gross. While I try to air dry as much as I can, I’ve found that I can’t always avoid the dryer. (shoutout to my tiny apartment and midwestern winters)
When I was little, my mom always avoided fabric softener and dryer sheets because she said they would irritate our skin. However, since I’ve been living on my own, I’ve opted for dryer sheets. While I’m not a fan of dryers, I’m a big fan of things that smell pretty (eloquent, I know).
Just a heads up — wanting your clothes to smell pretty is NOT a reason to use these bad boys. Turns out my mom was right.
The main (environmental) reason to avoid dryer sheets is that they’re just plain out wasteful. An average dryer cycle usually lasts around 45 minutes. You pop one or two sheets in and then you throw them away as soon as the cycle’s done. A box of dryer sheets generally runs around $4, but why buy something that you’re just going to throw away?
Second, there are a lot of chemicals in dryer sheets, which actually can lead to skin irritation if you have super sensitive skin. Whether you think those chemicals are safe is totally up to you, but here are some helpful links to help you decide if you’re still unsure.
As it turns out, making your own reusable dryer sheets is pretty cheap and easy. Plus, they work pretty well scent-wise. It’s time to stop buying dryer sheets!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED, (recipe courtesy of The Soft Landing, an awesome natural living website that you should check out!)
- Essential oil (pick your scent, I went with Peppermint)
- A jar/container/anything with a lid
- Clean cloth cut into squares (I cut up an old t-shirt, but if you have rags those will do too)
*Yeah, I know… the vinegar is stinky, but it evaporates in the dryer — leaving only the scent of the essential oil.
- In your container, mix about ¾ of a cup of vinegar (if you have thicker fabric scraps I’d use a cup, but found that was too much for thinner fabrics) with about 25 drops of your essential oil.
- Add your fabric scraps to the jar of solution. You want them damp but not drenched, so add as many scraps as you need to achieve this consistency
- Close the container and shake
- Use 1 sheet per dryer load, and put back into the jar when done
SO EASY. The original recipe recommended keeping extra vinegar/essential oil solution on hand in a separate jar to continually wet the rags as needed. I’m short on space, so when I run out of sheets I’ll probably just make the solution then.
You’ll also want to wash the scraps ever 3 weeks or so (or sooner if you want to change scents).