Walk down almost any isle of the grocery store these days and it’s nearly impossible not to find someone carefully studying the ingredient label and nutrition panel on the side of a box. Which don’t get me wrong, I love to see this level of curiosity and engagement when it comes to what we’re putting into our bodies, but it always leaves me to wonder, why for so many hasn’t this trend continued with our home and personal care products? The truth is what we put in our home and on our bodies can affect our health just as much, if not in some cases even more than what we put in our bodies. Our skin is the largest absorptive organ and it only takes 26 seconds for chemicals that come into contact with it to be absorbed directly into our blood stream. Chances are if we all selected our household products with the same level of standards that we select the food that comes into our home, most of our household products wouldn’t make the cut.
Take dryer sheets for example (and this includes the so-called “Natural” ones), did you know these tiny little sheets that we use to soften and freshen our clothes are also infusing our delicates with chemicals like Alpha-Terpineol and Camphor, chemicals that are said to contribute to certain cancers, disease of the nervous system, dysfunction of the respiratory tract and so much more?
According to the EPA and Wisdom of Wool the following is a list of chemicals found in dryer sheets and fabric softener
- ALPHA-TERPINEOL- Causes CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders and is highly irritating to mucus membranes.
- BENZYL ACETATE- Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer).
- BENZYL ALCOHOL- Causes CNS disorders. It is irritating to the upper respiratory tract” causing “headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure.
- CAMPHOR- Causes CNS disorders.
- CHLOROFORM- Toxic. It is an anesthetic and carcinogenic.
- ETHYL ACETATE- Narcotic. This product is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.
- LINALOOL- Narcotic. Causes DNS disorder, respiratory disturbances.
- PENTANE-”Danger-Harmful if inhaled; extremely flammable.
The original EPA report on these hazardous chemicals can be download here http://www.exposurescience.org/WNP91
Scary, huh? And this list doesn’t even begin to address the issues with the toxic fragrance that are than added to in fabric softeners and dryer sheets. However, Mike Adams, editor of Natural News, does a fine job explaining the dangers in this article.
“When people use dryer sheets, they are coating their cloths with a thin film of artificial chemical perfumes. Just like other perfumes, a person’s sensitivity to these perfumes decreases over time to the point where they don’t even notice how potent these artificial fragrance chemicals are. None of this would be interesting if it weren’t for the fact that these fragrance chemicals are extremely toxic. They are known carcinogens. They cause liver damage and cancer in mammals.” Mike Adams
Now it’s no secret that we are exposed to thousands of toxins in our environment every day, and while we can’t avoid or remove them all, we can take measures to lessen our exposure. If you are ready to ditch toxic fabric softeners and dryer sheets, these wool dryer balls are a fabulous alternative!
9 Reasons to Use Wool Dryer Balls
- They’ll Save you money
- Protect your health
- Help the environment
- Extend the life of your dryer
- Shorten drying time by 15-25%
- Help to remove wrinkles
- Eliminating static
- Softening clothes
… And because they’re wool, they don’t harbor bacteria
How To Make Wool Dryer Balls
To make a set of 4 dryer balls, you will need 2 skeins of 100% pure wool yarn and since wool doesn’t bleed, you can pick any color you like. Be sure to get wool that is NOT WASHABLE. You’re going to need to wash the dryer balls in order to “felt” them and this won’t happen if the wool is washable. You’ll also need a large tapestry needle, a pair of scissors and two pairs of old socks.
Step One – To start the dryer ball, you are going to wrap the wool around two fingers about ten times.
Step Two – Remove the yarn from your two fingers and then wrap the center about five times, making the shape of bow.
Step Three – Wrap the wool around and around in all different directions until you form a small ball.
Step Four – Continue wrapping and turning the ball in all different direction while keeping the tension tight.
Step Five – You can stop winding when your ball is about the size of a tennis ball.
Step Six – Cut the wool from the skein and thread your tapestry needle with the tail. At an angle you’re going to begin to pull it through the ball from one side to another. Repeat this about 3-4 times, changing directions each time. You can now cut the tail at the base of the ball.
Step Seven – Now, to “felt” the dryer balls you’ll place one ball into each sock, tie it tightly to close the opening and then wash and dry the balls 3-4 times. Once they’re “felted” there is no need to wash them again and they are ready to use!!
Step Eight (optional): Add your favorite essential oil to these to make any scent you wish!
Please note, if you have a large dryer or tend to do larger loads of laundry, you may want to make 6 dryer balls.
Written by Lindsay Sherry