Our DIY re-usable dryer sheets
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We are a “reasonably green” household, meaning that we make a serious effort to conserve resources, especially when we can practically incorporate a measure into our everyday lives. Solving an existing problem is a bonus. This isn’t a totally “green” measure, but it’s better (and less annoying) than the traditional method.
Anything disposable hurts my brain. It probably comes from years of mini-lectures by my father, who was one of the first Environmental Engineers in Texas. Fabric softener sheets are disposable, plus they come in disposable packaging, plus they end up everywhere in a household with as much laundry as we have which is seriously annoying. For a while we went without them entirely. Then we tried dryer balls. It wasn’t the softness that we missed as much as the static-free side effect. We also tried the Bounce Bar, which worked for some time, but those still have parts intended to be disposable (and they aren’t cloth diaper friendly).
Then, I heard that towels with dried liquid fabric softener on them can give all of the benefits of disposal fabric softener sheets and dryer bars for as many as 40 washes a piece. I was skeptical, but tried it and it worked. I haven’t counted the washes that we get, we usually use them until you can’t feel the dried liquid fabric softener on them which definitely takes some time.
We have perfected this method and now use 8 basic white washcloths that I embroidered with “Fabric Softener” so we can easily tell that they are our designated fabric softener sheets. After they loose “the feel”, we wash them with a load of rags and refresh them 2-3 at a time. Here’s our system.
Here are our Fabric Softener towels. They are nothing fancy, just the bulk package from Walmart or Target. Ours have been through MANY washes and are stained by the different color fabric softeners that I’ve used. One here has a purple tint and one has a blue tint, although they both started out pure white. If you want to keep them white (or any other color), use a fabric softener liquid without dye. You just want something that can absorb a lot of liquid.
It’s pretty simple, really. I just pick my favorite fabric softener of the moment and pour a bit into a container. I now have a designated bath for these that I keep in the laundry room… it’s a container that has lost it’s lid.
This Snuggle type works well. There are thicker ones that seem to last longer. The more eco-ones, like 7th Generation, haven’t lasted very long at all for us.
I drop a towel in, folded in half.
After making sure it’s saturated, I fold it in half again and make sure that the rest of it is saturated, adding more liquid fabric softener as needed. Repeat for additional towels.
I stack them all together. There’s lots of fun squishing involved.
Then I lay them out to dry. It works better to hang them on a clothes line. We haven’t installed one in our new house. It makes the house smell like yummy laundry. Part of why I do these a couple at a time is so that there are always some drying.
If you lay them out like I did above, you’ll want to flip them to let the other side dry. If you hang-dry, they will dry much faster and retain more fabric softener.
When the drying party is over, we fold them into quarters and stack them for easy access as needed. When they come through the laundry, we leave them in the dryer if they pop out as we are removing the load from the dryer or fold them and add them back to the pile if they end up hanging out in a basket.
I never buy fabric softener sheets & I rarely buy fabric softener liquid.
Best of all, I never have to clean up stray fabric softener sheets around the house.