Fabric Softeners

by Amanda Hearn · 9 comments

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If you’ve been around here, you’ve likely seen my post on the dangers of traditional fabric softeners.  As part of our new MomsEveryday segments, we’ll be covering some topics a bit more with video included to help viewers easily find our tips, information and suggestions.  These air on my local NBC stations and I am so blessed to have this platform.


As outlined in our post Fabric Softeners: What You Should Know, traditional fabric softeners contain a long list of chemicals, many of which are actually skin irritants (just for starters!)  Most fabric softener sheets are actually coated with animal fat (that’s the waxy sheen on them).  Yuck, right?!

My favorite fabric softener choices are dryer balls, vinegar and a few commercially available plant based liquid softeners.

Dryer Balls - I love these things and use four in my very own dryer.  They really help reduce drying time and I am always surprised by how soft everything gets.  I notice that it cuts down on wrinkles too.  I love that!  Dryer balls are easy to use.  Toss them in your dyer and that’s it.  No need to take them out or remember to put them back in, unless of course your children think they are toys and run off with them!In regard to the drying time, I predominantly use All-in-One style diapers and they dry in a single cycle with these in my dryer!  If you’re not familiar with modern cloth diapers – be sure to check out our FAQ!

My favorite dryer balls are Nellie’s.  I have a set of their original and PVC free.  I really love them both, but I think I prefer the softening effect of the PVC slightly more.  If you want a natural option, wool dryer balls might be for you.  They are felted wool balls and have the same function.  I have only tried one type of these and mine were not all that well made and I was not pleased with the fuzzies left on my clothes.  Knowing more about yarn quality now than I did then, I believe that was the contributing factor.  Lots of people use and love their wool dryer balls.

Vinegar - You might think that your laundry will come out smelling like vinegar, but I can promise you that it will not.  I was worried about this before I gave it a try and was very pleased by how well it worked and the lack of scent.  I use a Downy distributor ball to put the vinegar in my wash when I use it.  I fill the ball about half full and toss it in.  If your machine has a reservoir to fill with softener, you can put the vinegar in there.

Store Bought Softeners - If dryer balls or vinegar aren’t for you, you can certainly buy safe fabric softeners.  I have used a couple and have been very pleased with them.  Below are a few of the brand options.

Seventh Generation Liquid  - we have used this and it works great
Method Dryer Sheets - we have used these and like them a lot
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

domesticsimplicity.com May 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I loooooove Ecover fabric softener way more and any person should love a fabric softener!

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Mother of Ambition May 4, 2011 at 2:44 am

Thank you for this! We're using up our last box of free and clear softener sheets now (I have only used 1/2 a sheet per load for years so it's taking us a while to get through the box!). I'm researching which dryer balls to get so I appreciate your info!! (as always!)

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Michelle May 5, 2011 at 1:56 am

We've been using vinegar in our laundry as a softener for more than a year, and it works so much better than commercial softeners! It doesn't leave a film on the clothes.

We just started using the dryer balls, and I haven't noticed much difference in dry time yet. However, I've only got two, so maybe I need to try four like you! :)

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info May 11, 2011 at 12:15 am

I agree with you, I now stock the PVC free ones and love using them too. There is no static cling like I have found on occasion with wool dryer balls.
Maggie
http://www.tootsntots.com

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JoyfulJ May 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Hmmm…i would like to try the drier balls…but I have to use a laundry mat…how many do you really need for one load? I tend to do 5 loads at a time on average, but as I'm due to give birth soon (as in the next few days I hope) I expect that to increase to 6-7 loads at a time. Also how long do they last before needing replaced if they are used…lets say at least 3-4 times a week?

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The Eco-Friendly Family - Amanda May 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I believe that these are guaranteed for 2 years. I would use at least two balls per dryer. I haven't had mine that long yet, but unless they fall apart, they'll last longer than that. Mostly they help keep things separated and moving, which helps the laundry dry faster (you won't notice this on a timed dry) and come out softer.

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Boreum May 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

also check out washer ball at http://www.wellgreenlife.com. it's great alternative for harmful detergent.

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karen smith January 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm

these people are on crack. we are talking about fabric softeners and dryer balls, not smelly farts. some people need to grow up….

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Amanda January 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I got rid of them, sorry for their rude comments!

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