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Monday, 29 July 2013

You can use WHAT?! instead of dryer sheets?


This little tip was one that came into my inbox in one of those little round ups of different tips that get forwarded around the world in email. You know the ones. Things like "67 uses for a banana peel", and "101 ways to make life easier for your cat". Those ones. One of the tips suggested using tinfoil instead of a dryer sheet to prevent static cling. I just had to try it out for myself.

I actually really like my dryer sheets and can always tell right away when I've forgotten to add one in. Static cling when you're trying to fold a load of laundry quickly is not your friend. I use a brand that's natural, biodegradable, healthier, safer, and all that, but it's still nice to know there's a cheaper, scent free, longer lasting option out there. Plus it's just neat to do little experiments and try stuff out!

You start out with 2-3 sheets of aluminium foil (*update: The sheets were about a foot long each, although I don't think exact size matters*) and you ball them up together.


Then you toss it into your dryer along with your clothes! That's it!


The ball came out looking a little smoother afterwards from bumping around in there, but other than that, no real visible change.


And the laundry? Well, it still looked just like laundry but it was completely static-free! It's a little bit amazing. AND, you can supposedly use the same ball for up to a year!

Did I really just show you a big ol' pile of my laundry waiting to be folded? Yes I did.

I hope this one comes in handy for you next time you run out of dryer sheets, or if you just want to do a little experimenting like me.

I love little tricks like this!





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49 comments:

Sarah said...

I do this too and I was so surprised when it actually worked! Our dryer is massive so I toss 2 in there and they're good for about a month (I do like 4 loads a day. Seriously. 8 people) I love this trick!

Anne said...

sweet - how big a ball do you need?? You're not talking the whole roll (I hope!) so how big are your "sheets". I'm almost out of dryer sheets so let me know!!! :)

Gwen said...

Wow. That's bazonkers!

I'm trying that. Can you reuse it or did I just miss that detail?

doni said...

i especially like this for towels. no dryer sheet build up so they actually absorb water. works really great for microfiber towels because if you use dryer sheets with them they won't be as absorbent.

Sandra said...

Thanks--great trick! Your post prompted me to look up dangers of dryer sheets: Yikes, avoid them especially if you have kids! "Healing Naturally by Bee," says to soften, just add 1/4 c baking soda to the wash, or to soften and eliminate cling, add 1/4 c of white vinegar to wash. Trying that in our next load :)

Dixiejet said...

I do this too & it's wonderful ! Works great !

Dixiejet said...

I do this too and it works great ! You use the same ball till it gets smaller and smaller...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post, I've gotten some great ideas from your website. Personally, I take a gallon of white vinegar, add a little essential oil and pour that into a Downey ball. Works like a dream, plus I get a great scent. Kristin

zonilady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zonilady said...

I have been using a foil ball now for almost a year. I switched when I found it works and no longer exposes me to the chemicals found in dryer sheets. I just recently put in a new ball (the original one just kept getting smaller and smaller to the point it was time to replace it.) I love finding ways to go back to basics and still get great results! No static cling is the plus factor. I also use while vinegar for fabric softener - these two combined save tons of money and you still get great results! Happy laundry day!

Lacey Craig said...

I use dryer sheets for the static cling and for fabric softening...when you replace the dryer sheets with the tinfoil, are the clothes soft? Or do you need to use something else for that? I've never used liquid fabric softener because I would never remember to add it during the rinse cycle!

Courtenay@Creek Line House said...

Hi Lacey! As zonilady above you just told us, vinegar is supposed to be great for adding softness! I've heard this from others as well and I've used it on my towels before to make them feel like new!

Sharon S said...

I just use some fabric softner on an old rag, squeeze out the excess and it's good to go for a bunch of loads

Anonymous said...

Good to know as my dermatologist just told me to not use fabric sheets any more, in trying to rule out some allergies.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try this. I use vinegar in the wash/rinse cycle at it works well for softening clothes. I do have dryer balls - stopped using anything with a scent. Thanks.

Also hair conditioner on a rag works. It's always nice to have options.

Anonymous said...

If you want a safe alternative to dryer sheets, you can also you cotton rags (or clean cloth diapers from the store). You soak these in a few (5 or less) drops of essential oil and add to the dryer. Freshen the rag after each use with a of oil. Wash the rag after 3 or four uses. Another technique is to add a (preferably new) tennis ball to the dryer. I used to do this before I switched to white vinegar. Makes the load nice and fluffy. Not sure about the chemicals though.

Anonymous said...

You can use a tennis ball or a clean gym shoe. I've done this for years.



Ren said...

Hello All - I just wanted to play a little devil's advocate here and pose the question, by adding the aluminum to the dryer (heating it up) and letting it bounce around all the clothes, is there any chance that we are now absorbing the aluminum (that must rub off to some extent, another person that her ball just kept getting smaller and smaller) - like with towels?

Anonymous said...

Adding white vinegar to your rinse cycle does three things.....
1/softens clothes, 2/neutralizes any remaining detergent, 3/helps kill any remaining bacteria (which will sour your clothes the first time you break a sweat). However it doesn't control static cling. But the foil ball takes care of that. Good stuff!!

Cautiously Curious said...

The same thought occurred to me as well. How do we know the aluminum foil is safe to tumble in the dryer? Does anyone have any wisdom to share regarding that aspect?

Kathy said...

Do you find that your clothes fade around the edges from the pummeling of the hot foil ball? I'm envisioning navy blue kakkies with fading or a bright colored top looking beat up/worn.

Kathy said...

How do your navy blue khakis or red/bright cotton clothes look after being pummeled by a hot piece of metal? I'm envisioning fading or worn spots.

Anonymous said...

I continued to use the same aluminum ball, when it started getting too small, I just added 3-4 layers of foil over it and had a bigger ball of foil. After a few loads the aluminum ball would rattle. I finally decided to "break open" the aluminum ball. The original had formed a hard marble inside and the last had formed a quarter inch thick ball on outside. So I don't think you are losing the aluminum just condensing it.!

mrott91 said...

Great idea but won't it snag some clothes?

Denise said...

I was wondering the same thing Ren!

Denise said...

I was wondering the same thing Ren!

Anonymous said...

The ball got smaller because air is trapped in the folds of the ball as it bounces around and smooths out and tightens making it appear smaller.

Jessie said...

I'm wondering the same thing as Ren - my first thought was, isn't all that heat going to make some of the aluminum absorb into my clothes? That doesn't seem like such a great idea. Or maybe the amount that comes off the ball is really minimal, any insight would be great...

Myria said...

I was wondering the same thing Ren, I guess it's time to do some research because I'd really like to save money by doing this.

I'm also getting ready to make the vinegar and essential oil fabric softerner alternative. Great tips!

isabel freeman said...

I have not heard of this before but I am going to use it as I have tons of allergies and cant use a lot of products because of the perfumes. Can I ask tho- if I want the softer clothes using vinegar, how much would I add please? many thanks

Valeri said...

My thought/ comment about the aluminum transferring to the clothing is: we bake with foil (which heats it up) then ingest the food. Or use aluminum cookie sheets, cupcake tins, etc.

Margaret said...

Hi I have been using those sets of prickly plastic dryer balls, two to a set. They work pretty well on the static and keeping the clothes untangled, but don't do much for the softness of the towels etc. The water in my area is very hard though.

Alaskanjackie said...

The ball is not going to get hotter than the air the dryer pumps out so unless your dryer already burns the edges of your clothes, the aluminum ball won't. Most dryer sheets contain animal fat which builds up on your clothes and dryer lint screen over time. Unless you are eating your clothes I doubt that any residue from the aluminum ball (if any) would hurt you. After all, if you use aluminum to line baking dishes you stand a better chance IF the aluminum foil "sheds" to ingest it in your food.

Anonymous said...

Aluminum has to be 1221 degrees F to melt, so I think the possibilty of transference to the clothing is virtually non-existant. If you are hesitant about using it, switch to the wool dryer balls.

Angela Vorkapich said...

Wool dryer balls (felted & un dyed) have been beyond amazing!!! I use vinegar when I start the laundry right along with the homemade "detergent" for a chemical free laundry experience. I love knowing we aren't clothing ourselves in chemicals 24/7.

Anonymous said...

I've done the foil ball before and yet still had static. :(

Lisa Bertolini said...

I added 1 tbsp Epsom salt to 1/2 c water in the rinse cup and my towels came out soft and no static. Using wool balls keeps clothes fluffy and cuts down on drying time.

Kathy's Scraps said...

I have been using 3 of the wool dryer balls, which you can scent yourself with essential oils. They have kept the static out of my clothes until recently...winter is coming on. I ordered 3 more so hoping that will help. The wool balls will last a long time...years! And I am allergic to wool, they do not bother me in the dryer.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get the wool dryer balls???

Anonymous said...

I use a clean wash cloth with a couple drops of hair conditioner rubbed into it. Works great and no static cling. I'm excited to try the aluminum foil ball now too.

Lcg said...

I am on first week of "no more dryer sheets or fabric softener" so many chemicals. I use 1/2 cup baking soda in wash water, and put the white vinegar in my Downey ball.
Super easy, and clothes smell and feel fantastic!
Still have static so I just ordered the Woolzies dryer balls.

Next week I will be trying home made laundry soap.
Any help with that would be appreciated.

mamalv said...

I've been using the tinfoil balls in the dryer since I saw it on the internet in 1997, they work great to remove statc, although they do not soften clothes. I have found that most clothing doesn't need to be soften, only the removal of stactic.

1. you should make 3 good sized (large) balls to use together in each load.
2. If you're concerned about it knicking the materials any.... do this: place in the dryer with 2-3 pairs of jeans (inside out), or old jeans .... this will pre skrink the balls to be smooth.
3. I have found that the name brand tinfols work better for an unknown reason
4. I use the 3 balls repeatedly for monts until they are like very small ball-barrings ...... then I put them into the recyling bins

All around .... good stuff !!!

G. Vansteen said...

I recently read somewhere to attach a safety pin to a peice of clothing for the same results, although the foil ball is probably easier to find after words.

Julia @ Save Big Live Better! said...

My mind is blown! LOL, I cant believe the solution has been in our house the whole time!
We currently use dryer balls, which have been great in saving on dry time too...but I wonder if a FEW of these foil balls in there would have the same effect and allow the air to get through more effectively?!
Hmmmm...experiment time I guess!
Thanks:)

Anonymous said...

I have used the plastic dryer balls (horribly LOUD) Wool balls (get some wool yarn and felt the balls yourself - inexpensive, but again LOUD, they are very dense and heavy)but the aluminum is light, quiet, and very inexpensive. I hate the chemicals left on my clothes and dryer lint screen from dryer sheets. If you use dryer sheets, pull your lint screen and try to run water through it, if the water can't go through the screen (caused by dryer sheet "grease" build up) then you have a fire hazzard.

Anonymous said...

I buy store brand softener and mix it 50/50 with white vinegar in the softener cup in each wash load. It softens clothes and also helps clean the built up soap in the washer's drains.

Anonymous said...

I use a tennis ball.... it lasts a lot longer, when I'm done with it, the dog gets it!

Shea said...

I'll have to try this! I switched to homemade powdered laundry detergent about a year ago, and always put vinegar in the bleach and fabric softener cups. My laundry detergent contains a bit of Oxyclean, so between that and the vinegar my clothes are always soft and fresh. But clingy. Thanks for the tip! I know fabric softener and dryer sheets are horrible for your clothes and you, gives me a nasty rash!

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm the only one that this doesn't work for at all. Plus the banging of a hard ball of foil in the dryer is awful.