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Laundry, Sustainability

How to make reusable dryer sheets

When I first started blogging not too long ago I wrote about home-made laundry detergent on two occasions, here and here. The benefits of home-made are numerous: It’s cost-effective, allergy friendly and more sustainable than bringing home plastic containers of laundry detergent every two weeks.

I’ve been using home-made powdered laundry detergent for 14 months and liquid home-made detergent for about three – I have no intention of buying it pre-made from a store ever again. When I stopped buying laundry detergent from the store I also stopped buying any type of laundry softener; no more dryer bars, sheets or liquid stuff. Practically I haven’t missed laundry softener at all. It seems that  because I dry everything in the dryer (I will be installing a laundry line this summer!) the baking soda in the detergent keeps everything quite soft. My only problem has been in the winter with static cling.

I tend to stick to cotton and linen fabrics because my fine blonde hair tends to stand up straight like Einstein with synthetic fabrics and my dry allergy prone skin makes that I get  ‘itchy’ with other fabrics. For those of you with kids that complain about clothing tags – yeah that’s me! My fondness for cotton didn’t stop me from discovering Lululemon however and I also have a few other items that end up extremely staticy this time of year. I can’t stand static! On occasion I also enjoy a pretty smell on my bathrobe, towels or bed sheets so I thought I would try to find a way to work some type of sporadic laundry softening into my life without going back to buying all that junk.

I recalled reading a comment somewhere from a lady who cut up an old shirt and put the squares into a jar with a little bit of liquid laundry softener and mostly water, so I tried it.

Here’s what you need:

Easy home-made reusable dryer sheets

- a small resealable container
– a small bottle of liquid laundry softener, perhaps you already have some – in your favourite scent! I prefer warm scents like cinnamon and vanilla
– an old shirt or flannel sheet to cut up

Cut up the shirt or sheet into squares, mine aren’t very large. About 4×6 is plenty big. Stuff all the squares into a resealable jar, pour a capful of liquid laundry softener over top of the squares then fill the rest with water. (I used boiled water just in case)

To use

Before transferring laundry to the dryer, pick a square out of your container and dump it straight into the dryer. No need to squeeze! Then transfer your laundry to the dryer and wipe your hands as you go along.
When the dryer finishes simply deposit the square back into the jar and keep doing this until you’ve run out of liquid – then repeat the recipe.

The dryer sheets work like any commercial prepackaged sheet out there, except they’re reusable and more cost-effective. Your laundry will come out soft and smelling pretty! I’ve figured out that if I were to use these sheets for every load of laundry, which I don’t, a bottle of liquid softener would last me about a year vs the 48 loads listed on the bottle. That’s a savings of at least 200% in my case!

I love finding new ways to reduce my costs and be more environmentally friendly and sustainable. If you enjoyed this tip please feel free to share and of course I’m always looking for new ways to cut costs – leave a comment below and I’ll check it out!

PS; I realize that some people are weary of perfumed products, they usually contain many compounds that are hazardous to your health. The recipe I shared above is  quite easily transformed to be 100% safe and non-toxic by using high quality essential oils – you will get the same scent effect. Once I run out of my stash of liquid softener I will most likely switch to the less toxic alternative as I did when I switched to home made detergent after using up all my store bought detergent.


Discussion

One Response to “How to make reusable dryer sheets”

  1. I like it! My friend gave me home made detergent and I forgot about it until I read your post…makes me almost look forward to doing laundry!

    Posted by Julie | February 23, 2011, 23:12

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Last updated December 16, 2014