Posted by on 01/27/2015

Greening your lifestyle doesn’t have to mean committing to big, sweeping changes. Even the smallest acts – such as starting a compost bin or choosing your bike over your car – can make a real impact on the earth. Consider your laundry routine: Each week, you put in a load of dirty clothes, using up energy and water. While we don’t suggest you skip out on this important household task (your friends will thank us!), there are some simple ways to create a green laundry routine.

“The average commercial dryer sheet is a treasure trove of chemicals.”

Seemingly harmless, the average commercial dryer sheet is a treasure trove of chemicals all promising to leave you with fluffier, static-free clothes. The scariest part? By law, companies are only required to list ingredients that actively disinfectant or are known to be harmful to our health. That leaves companies an awful lot of wiggle room to use toxic ingredients that may irritate our skin – or worse, cause long term health problems.

Skip the dryer sheet altogether and get the same static-free, wrinkle-reducing effect by making your own dryer ball. The dryer ball – at its simplest, a ball of felted wool yarn – takes the place of disposable dryer sheets. Dryer balls are made of a renewable, sustainable resource and can be used for years on end. Here’s how to do it:

What you need

  • Skein of 100 percent wool yarn (skip over anything labeled machine washable, as it won’t felt properly)
  • Crochet hook
  • Pantyhose

How to do it

Using your non-dominant hand, wrap the yarn 10 times around your first two fingers.

Once wrapped, slide the yarn from your fingers and tie a knot in the center to make a bundle.

Continue to wrap the yarn. You’ll see a ball begin to form. You can make these balls as small or large as you’d like, though something akin to a tennis ball will work nicely in the wash.

Using your crochet hook, bury the end of the yarn under several layers to secure it. Pull it through and cut the end so that no threads are sticking out.

Next, cutting up an old pair of pantyhose, create a little bag to wash your yarn ball in. Secure it by tying off the bag with a piece of yarn.

Wash your yarn ball on a hot cycle inside the pantyhose with a load of towels or sheets.

Remove your yarn ball from the pantyhose and check for felting. The ball should appear tightly woven, with no loose strands or fibers. Please note that there are some types of yarn that will require a couple of cycles through the wash before felting up.

The next time you do a load of wash, throw in a few of these balls into the dryer for an eco-friendlier laundry routine. For a sweeter-smelling load, treat each ball with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender, lemongrass or eucalyptus smell fresh and clean.

What do you think? Is this something you’d ever try? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Casey is a wahm of two little girls, Ellie and Zoe. She’s the owner of Ecocentric Mom and is passionate about helping fellow mamas live a more balanced, healthy lifestyle by discovering natural products and mind/body wellness. In her free time, Casey loves running marathons and making sandcastles with Ellie at the beach near her home in East Hampton.

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