So many people love to use fabric softener to make their clothes smell nice, but there are plenty of reasons not to.
Dryer sheets are woven sheets of fibers coated with stearic acid and a variety of other chemicals. In the dryer, the stearic acid melts from the heat, coating the clothes to make them soft and reduce static.
Unfortunately, the film from the dryer sheet also coats your entire dryer which in turn damages the dryer's lint filter. In fact, the residue from the fabric softener sheet builds up on the filter, day after day making it difficult get the lint off your clothes.
You may also notice your clothes are covered in lint when you remove them from the dryer. Lint stays on your clothes because no air can make it through the filter to pull the lint away from your clothes.
Here are some other problems:
- The coating may make your towels and clothes feel nice, but it also makes them less absorbent. Avoid using dryer sheets when washing bath, kitchen, microfiber towels as well as wicking clothing and bedding.
- If you have children, avoid washing their pajamas with dryer sheets. The coating can make pajamas less fire resistant.
- Stearic acid coatings can also disable the wicking capabilities of active wear, sleepwear, bedding and socks.
Here at Cool-jams we are often asked what can I use in place of fabric softener to get rid of static that sometimes develops in wicking clothing and to make my clothes smell good. Here's a list of our 9 tips:
- Hang Clothes to Dry: You can eliminate static cling by skipping the dryer altogether and hanging your clothes up to dry either outside or inside on a drying rack. Either way, you’ll not only stop static, but you’ll reduce your energy bill and be doing something good for the health of the planet.
- Make Your Own Dryer Sheets that do not harm wicking fabrics: You can make your own static-eliminating dryer sheets using natural ingredients. All you need is white vinegar, essential oils of your choice, a spray bottle, and several strips of cotton cloth. Pour about a cup of vinegar into a spray bottle. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Then simply spray the cloth until damp, but not dripping. Then add the cloth to the dryer with your load of laundry.
- Add Baking Soda: There are so many wonderful uses for baking soda around the home, and here’s one more. Add a ½ cup of baking soda, along with laundry detergent, during your next load of laundry. Baking soda is a natural fabric softener that gets rid of static while keeping whites white and colors bright.
- Reduce Drying Time: Another common cause of static in the laundry is over-drying. When items are completely dry but continue to tumble in the dryer, static electricity in invited into the mix. Allow clothes to dry only until they’re not wet anymore and you’ll find much less static cling when you pull clothes out of the dryer. Plus less dryer time means you’re saving energy.
- Make Use of Metal: When an article of clothing is already filled with static, you can discharge the static by running a metal hanger over the clothing. Metal conducts electricity and will help discharge the static.
- Use Aluminum Foil: This is a classic trick that really works. Simply tear off a sheet of aluminum foil, ball it up and toss it into the dryer with your clothes. Voila! No more static. You can even use the same foil ball for 2 or 3 loads.
- Introduce Steam: Since dry air and dry climates are the main cause of static, you may want to invest in a dryer with a steam cycle. The steam cycle is intended to reduce wrinkles before you pull clothes out of the dryer, but have the added benefit of helping you get rid of static cling.
- Use a detergent with odor eliminating enzymes. Some of our recommendations include: Kirkland Ultra Clean with patented odor release technology, Arm and Hammer Liquid detergent with Oxyclean and Tide Pods plus Febreze.
- If clothing develops an odor after repeated wearing, simply soak in oxyclean or baking soda and water for 15 minutes before washing to eliminate any odors.