Smelling a fresh, clean load of laundry is one of those little domestic joys in life. However, many of us are looking for alternatives to single-use dryer sheets and liquid softeners. Specifically, we’re seeking options that are natural, non-toxic, plastic-free, animal-friendly, and environmentally-friendly. In short, what dryer sheets and liquid softeners are not.
If this is new to you, click here to read why ditching dryer sheets is the way to go! For both the environment AND your health. (Hint: They contain unregulated toxins and perfumes, which get absorbed into your skin and bloodstream, and are made using single-use plastics, animal byproducts and more.)
If you’re looking for ways to freshen your laundry in a way that aligns with your lifestyle, read on! Below are three simple solutions that are safe, natural, cost-effective, earth and animal friendly, and FUN. DIY fans – we’ve even included a recipe to make your own essential oil spray!
One of the easiest ways to freshen your laundry is by adding essential oils or fragrances at the beginning of your dry cycle. (Note: Keeping your Friendsheep Eco Dryer Balls and Organic Essential Oils in view may help you remember!)
Here’s how: Use 3-5 drops of essential oils on each dryer ball. Allow absorption for a few minutes before tossing them in the dryer with your laundry. Dry as usual.
Recharge your wool dryer balls after 5 loads or when you can no longer smell them. How often will depend on the quality and type of essential oils, as some are more volatile than others. For example, we’ve found that citrus scents fade faster, whereas lavender oil tends to last longer.
If you’d like to conserve your essential oils and amplify your chosen scent, consider adding essential oils or fragrances during the last 10 minutes of your dry cycle. Why? Heat naturally causes the aromas to fade.
Here’s how: During the last 10 minutes, put 5-7 drops of essential oils on one Eco Dryer Ball. Put it back in, and finish on “air dry” or a low heat setting. This approach will use less oil and maximize the smell.
If you forget to add your scents to the dryer, or you have folks in your family who need fragrance-free laundry (and it can’t be added to the entire load), or you simply want to extend the life of your fresh-laundry aromas, try adding essential oils to an Eco Freshener.
Fresheners are used to scent dry items. And because they don’t get placed in the heat of a dryer, smells will last longer.
To use an Eco Freshener, charge them with whatever oil you’d like. Use 3 drops per freshener. Then, put them in your closet or in your drawers; place them in your room, your car, your gym bag or purse; really, wherever you’d like! There are so many fun ways to use fresheners. These also come in handy when a member of your family is sensitive to fragrances. You can dry your loads normally without any scents and then add them wherever you wish.
Essential oils are the natural, highly-concentrated, aromatic essence of plants. Fragrance oils – or fragrances – are synthetically-compounded and are often used in soaps and skin formulations. Essential oils bring with them a wide range of extraordinary health benefits, thanks to the therapeutic properties of plants. This is why we recommend using essential oils if you like to scent your laundry, and why we offer a selection of 100% pure, organic essential oils to use in your everyday life. Unlike essential oils, fragrance oils have no health benefits, and can become harmful when used in unregulated ways.
Although fragrances aren’t natural, we’re fans of using them, too, if you enjoy the scent and are applying them yourself. Reason being, adding standalone fragrances won’t be as strong as the concentrated toxic blends found in single-use dryer sheets or fabric softeners. Also, you’re in charge of the quality and quantity used. If using fragrances, make sure to use paraben-free and phthalate-free ones, which makes them safer for you and the environment.
When it comes to choosing essential oils, we suggest that you choose 100% pure, therapeutic grade, Organic Essential Oils like these ones here. Use a single essential oil, or get creative and try your own blend! Are you an aromatherapy fan? Your laundry is just one more place to integrate oils into your life.
Rather than utilizing undiluted drops, you may like to create your own essential oil spray. This approach uses less oil, and is as easy as mixing and spritzing.
Here’s a DIY recipe to create your own:
Add all ingredients to a 2 oz glass spray bottle and invert to mix.
When using a spray, follow these simple steps to maximize your chosen scent: During the last 10 minutes of drying your items, spritz each Eco Dryer Ball with 5 sprays. As mentioned above, heat will degrade the oil; so switch the setting to air dry or low-heat to complete the cycle.
If you forget to add a scent while your items are drying, don’t fret! Spritz your Eco Fresheners, instead, and add them to dry laundry. No fresheners handy? This is where old dryer balls can really shine. Spray them, and toss them inside your garment drawer. (However, we really do love our Eco Fresheners. They’re cute AND useful!)
No old dryer balls either?? No problem, use your spray to spritz your dry laundry while folding it. That works too!
Freshening your laundry with fragrances or oils can be immensely enjoyable! Each time you recharge your Wool Eco Dryer Balls or Fresheners, you get to decide what scent to use.
You can also customize scents for each person in your family (this is easiest after laundry is dry, so you don’t have to separate loads) or customize items. For instance, you may choose Lavender Oil for sheets, Peppermint Oil for towels, our signature Sun is Shining blend for your clothes, and scent-free for anything used by those with sensitive skin.
Every year, over 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced worldwide, half of which is designed solely for single-use. A meager 9% of all the plastic produced gets recycled, and annually more than 23 million tonnes of plastic end up in our lakes, rivers, and seas. Packaging and single-use items are among the main culprits of this plastic pollution.
When you care about the environment, how products are sourced, avoiding toxins, limiting waste, and promoting fair trade wages, gift-giving can seem challenging. Perhaps even overwhelming. Especially when your friends fall into the category of not ‘needing more’. Though the holidays don’t have to hurt the environment. And the gifts you give can leave a smile on your loved one’s face – and the Artisan’s and the Planet’s!