January 23rd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Eco-conscious editors at Woman’s Day magazine recently shared a new use for aluminum foil: Wad a sheet into a hand-sized ball, and toss it into the clothes dryer.
While the foil ball won’t scent or soften clothing, it does remove static cling—and it’s a great alternative to dryer sheets.
For an even greener solution, use Reynolds Wrap 100% Recycled Aluminum Foil. A 50¢ store coupon is available here.
Read More:A Great Way to Re-Use Aluminum Foil
September 17th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
While researching Monday’s piece on laundry balls, I came across another interesting bit of information on dryer sheets.
According to Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, authors of Squeaky Green: The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home:
Beef fat (aka tallow) is the secret ingredient that makes your clothes so soft. The very stuff you cut off your steak so you won’t gain weight or clog your arteries is coating your sheets, towels, shirts, jeans, even your underwear.
Ryan and Lowry, who founded the Method brand of nontoxic cleaners, recommend eco-friendly vegan dryer sheets that are made from plant-derived substances like canola oil. You can even reuse the sheets as dust cloths after you’ve finished your laundry, they say.
Method makes Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths. Another option is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dryer Sheets. Both products are available at natural and organic food stores.
Read More:Beef Fat in Your Laundry?
September 15th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
We want our laundry to feel soft and smell fresh, but traditional dryer sheets are not the answer. As noted in A Partner in Grime:
Dryer sheets contain artificial fragrances and carcinogenic chemicals ranging from ethanol to formaldehyde, so avoid using them. In addition to posing health hazards, they can leave a film on your dryer’s filter that reduces air flow. Over time, this can impair the motor’s performance.
You may have seen laundry balls and discs at your local natural and organic food store, which are promoted as long-lasting, eco-friendly solutions. But there’s a catch, according to Jill Potvin Schoff, author of Green Up Your Cleanup.
“Dryer balls used as fabric softeners do work,” she writes, “but they are made out of PVC, a plastic you want to avoid.”
Click here for more information on the perils of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Read More:Laundry Balls
July 30th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the average American family washes close to 400 loads of laundry each year.
But unlike clothes washers, dryers do not carry ENERGY STAR ratings. Each model uses a similar amount of energy, “which means there is little difference in energy use between models,” the DOE notes.
You can, however, do your part to conserve energy when drying clothes:
- Dry only full loads.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Clean the dryer’s lint filter after every load to improve air circulation.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow clothes to finish drying with the machine’s residual heat.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it’s not blocked. Not only will this save energy, but it may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material—not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Clothes will last longer.
- When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. This saves energy and helps minimize wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
- Dryer sheets contain artificial fragrances and carcinogenic chemicals ranging from ethanol to formaldehyde, so avoid using them. In addition to posing health hazards, they can leave a film on your dryer’s filter that reduces air flow. Over time, this can impair the motor’s performance.
- Some dryers have eco-conscious settings, such as the Whirlpool Duet WGD9450WL (pictured above). They offer faster drying times.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning
Photo courtesy of Whirlpool
Read More:A Partner in Grime