Our Daily Green has written about air drying our laundry several times, but truly there are just times it isn't practical, especially in a house with "I need this tomorrow for X" teenagers, or in the winter when indoor drying can take a day or two. We still hang dry many of our clothes, but yes, we use our dryer as well.
Today's post is a guest post from Eco Friendly Homemaking, by Alicia, who was kind enough to allow me to copy her post here. She found a fabulous way to shorten drying time by making Wool Dryer Balls.
According to the U S Department of Energy your dryer checks in at number two (right behind your refrigerator ) on the list of household energy hogs. There are some ways that you can save energy when using your dryer. Always make sure that you clean the filter on a regular basics. It will increase efficiency and shorten your dryer time. If your dryer has a moisture sensor you should definitely use it! The dryer will automatically shut off when it senses that your clothes are dry. This saves lots of energy plus your clothes last longer.
Several years ago I became aware of the dangers of fabric softeners. According to The Environmental Protection Agency and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets there is a mind boggling list of dangerous petrochemicals in these products, many of them used in untested combinations.
When I found out about this I started researching to come up with some kind of alternative to using fabric softeners. I discovered that fabric softener sheets were worse than the liquid. I thought that the rubber type dryer balls sounded good until I researched them some more and found that it some cases they were as much or more toxic than the liquid softener or the dryer sheets because of the materials that were being used to manufacture them.
I didn’t give up and believe the Lord led me to this wonderful article on making your own dryer balls from wool material. You can use any wool as long as it is 85- 100% wool. I went to our local Goodwill and went on the hunt for the largest wool sweaters I could find. (which is a little harder than you might think since most sweater are made of a lot of blended materials these days )
Then I brought them home and washed them in hot water and then put them in the dryer. This is called felting and as you might imagine they were a lot smaller when they came out of the dryer. You cut them in strips and roll and stitch as you go along. You want them to be at least tennis ball size and some larger. You need to make at least ten or twelve of them. Then put them all in your dryer and leave them there. They eliminate static and wrinkles and they have cut my drying time by a whopping 30% ! WHAT AN ENERGY SAVER. Mine have lasted almost three years and are still going strong. The way they work is instead of your wet clothes just laying on top of each other the dryer balls lift and separate them so that the air can flow all around allowing your clothes to dry much faster.
The wool balls are really easy to make so I encourage you to go out and check thrift stores, yard sales or Goodwill and find wool blankets, skirts or sweaters and take the time to make your own.
Thanks, Alicia for this great tip!