Cloth Diapering 101: Wool Dryer Balls

Let’s say you wanted to repaint your house.  Would you walk into your local hardware store and ask for a gallon of their finest lead paint?  You couldn’t, because in 1978, the Federal Government banned the use of lead-based paint in homes since they discovered that exposure to lead could affect everyone in the family, especially pregnant women and children and could cause damage to the brain and nervous system, as well as several other health problems.

Now, let’s say you wanted to do some laundry.  Would you add fabric softeners or dryer sheets to the washer and dryer?  You could.  You could purchase either at any grocery store.  But what if I told you that the chemicals in these products caused similar health problems as lead exposure, would you still make the choice to purchase and use these products?  My hope is that every household and business makes the decision to eliminate the use of dryer sheets and fabric softeners that contain toxic chemicals since they are harmful to your health and the environment.

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are harmful to you and your family:

  • Both dryer sheets and fabric softeners contain a long list of dangerous and toxic petrochemicals including more than one carcinogen, ethanol – which is on the EPA Hazardous Waste List, and other toxins linked to respiratory problems, central nervous system disorders, nausea, headaches, and skin irritants.
  • The chemicals are designed to stay in the fabric of your clothing for a long time and slowly release.  Therefore the toxins stay with you and your family.  They rub and absorb into your skin and are inhaled into lungs continually.

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are harmful to environment:

  • A dryer sheet takes years to breakdown in landfills.
  • The toxins within these products get heated up in your dryer which releases the chemicals into your home and out into the environment through your dryer vent (A guest column in a local paper was about how the writer went outside to enjoy cooking a barbecue and couldn’t since she was so bombarded by the smells and chemicals that were coming out several of her neighbor’s dryer vents).

Luckily, there are alternatives:

  • Add white vinegar and or baking soda to the washing machine can freshen clothes and reduce static. *Note: Most manufacturers do not recommend using vinegar or baking soda on cloth diapers and this may void your warranty.
  • Using several wool dryer balls in every dryer load will help soften your clothes, and reduce your dry time.
Wooly Rounds

We need to eliminate the use of dryer sheets and fabric softeners that contain harmful chemicals because they put our health at risk.  Laundry is something that most of us do everyday and we need to incorporate healthy, natural alternatives into our laundry routine in order to to help protect our family’s health and the environment.

Written by Cyndi Prince, owner of Wooly Rounds.

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2 Responses to Cloth Diapering 101: Wool Dryer Balls

  1. Robin Jones says:

    I just bought a pack of Woolzies off BabySteals the other day. I don’t use fabric softener on my babies clothes (or diapers, obviously), but I’ve been reluctant to stop on mine. I can always tell when it’s been left out – the clothes feel “itchier” to me. I’m hoping the wool dryer balls will help because I’d love to dump the extra chemicals from my laundry routine!

  2. Amanda says:

    I actually posted something about this on my blog today… I was looking at it from a purely economical standpoint. Dryer sheets are expensive; wooly rounds (or even tennis balls) reduce dry time and static. I didn’t even realize there was a health reason too! Thanks for this information! I passed it on. So glad I made the switch! 😉
    Amanda @