Saturday, May 26, 2012

Frugal Living - Homemade dryer sheets

I was doing laundry today and I ran out of dryer sheets.  We get a lot of static in the dryer, so I need to use dryer sheets, but my sensitive skin means that I need to be careful of fragrance and dyes.  It makes it very difficult to find dryer sheets.

I also have to be careful about hanging my laundry outside since I am very prone to allergies, and hanging laundry outside puts the allergens onto the laundry. 

I got to thinking…. That’s a dangerous thing for me.  J  My friend Tess has been making baby wipes for her daughter.  They are wonderful!  You can also make your own anti bacterial wipes, so I wondered if you can make your own dryers sheets.  The answer is YES!  They are significantly cheaper and depending on your “recipe” some are reusable.  I found several different ways of doing this online, so I’ll share them with you.

If you don’t have sensitive skin, and want to be “easy” simply soak a cotton cloth (cut up t-shirt or flannel) in the fabric softener of your choice, and hang them to dry.  Toss one in the dryer.  The sites I found said you can reuse each one up to 40 times before you have to resoak them. 

If you do have sensitive skin, look for a natural fabric softener.  One brand I saw mentioned several times was Ecover. 

Other sites say to mix ¼ C fabric softener with ¾ C water, place your cotton rags in an airtight , pour the mixture over the rags and cover.  Then add “sheet” to each load.  This idea doesn’t thrill me.  I don’t do laundry every day and the potential of breeding mold sets my allergy meter on high alert.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s not the method I’ll use.

There are two more natural ways to make sheets that allow me to control the ingredients more for my sensitive skin.

Fill a spray bottle halfway with fabric softener or hair conditioner and then fill the rest of the way with water.  Add 20 – 30 drops of essential oil if you like.  Spray this on your clean cotton cloth and toss it in the dryer with your next load.

And the last “recipe.”

6 C water
½ C baking soda
3 C plain white vinegar
20 – 30 drops essential oil – if you want

Add water and baking soda to a large container and stir to mix.
Slowly add the vinegar and allow the chemical reaction to do its thing.
If you like, add essential oil, but this isn’t necessary.
Soak the cloths in the mixture and hang to dry.  Toss into a load. 

Since I am a knitter, I have a stash of knit “dishrags” in my house.  I will use these since they are 100% cotton and I know they are safe for me.  

Edit - If you use the last recipe with the vinegar and baking soda, be sure add the vinegar SLOWLY!  Even though the baking soda is diluted, the vinegar still reacts and causes a volcanic eruption!

If you want to add essential oils, you can add then to energize or calm, or to add an additional germ killer.  Check out the Doterra website to learn more about which oils to use.  Lavender and Clary Sage work well for calming, citrus for energizing and there are several oils in the Doterra line that help with germs.

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