Homemade All Natural Dryer Sheet Alternatives

Vinyl wall decal from "Say It Your Way"

Wash. Dry. Fold. Repeat, repeat, repeat…  As a follow-up to my post on all natural laundry options, here is the low down on some easy and inexpensive dryer-sheet alternatives.

And exactly why do we need to worry about dryer sheets?  First off, these unrecyclable petroleum-derived “sheets” are saturated with hormone-disrupting synthetic fragrances.  The chemicals used in fabric softeners are very pungent and strong smelling – so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells.  They are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time, which means that the chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb.   Even choosing “unscented” products is dangerous, as most companies use a masking fragrance to cover up the original fragrance, which unfortunately makes them doubly toxic.

There are also many {many!} chemicals found in our sweet-smelling fabric softeners and dryer sheets that can cause serious health effects such as:

  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Asthma symptoms

I do not want to frighten the begeebies out of you, so won’t include a list of all the chemicals and their effects on our health in this article, but if you are curious check out this link to naturalnews.com.  There is also no regulation on these chemicals, since the contents are treated as trade secrets by the manufacturers and companies are not required to list everything.

The truth is, most of us won’t feel the effects of these chemicals today, however they can affect you gradually over time, and infants and children whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk.  There is really no reason to expose your family to this when there are

Great Natural Alternatives:

  1. Line dry.  This practice can save your energy, money and whitens whites like no other.
  2. Add a shot of white vinegar to the wash cycle or baking soda to the rinse cycle to soften fabric and eliminate cling.  *If you use vinegar, do not use bleach too, this can be a toxic mixture.
  3. Make your own all natural fabric softener!  This recipe was adapted from “One Good Thing by Jillee”: Gather up:  3 cups of water, 1&1/2 cups of white vinegar and 1 cup of natural or organic conditioner:

Find a super-cute 5-year old to help stir it up {optional} I found a whisk works well:

And Voila:  Adorable and heavenly scented all natural fabric softener!  {Use as you would any fabric softener}

4.  Make your own dryer sheets by adding a few drops of essential oils to a damp piece of flannel or washcloth.  I made my own by cutting up 5×5 squares of an old flannel baby blanket.  Essential oils are highly concentrated, so don’t go overboard, the heat will release more fragrance than what you can detect when initially applying a few drops to the cloth.  {Our family loves the “citrusy” oils such as grapefruit, orange or lemon}

5.  Use Trader Joe’s “lavender dryer bags”.  {These can be used for 5-10 cycles each, then after that they recommend to sprinkle the lavender onto carpet and vacuum up- love that!}

6.  To eliminate static cling and to dry more efficiently I love my Norwex dryer balls:


So there you have it, lots of easy, all-natural options for you to choose from.  Okay, I’m off to change loads!

This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer.

In health & happiness,


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    • admin says

      Hi Theresa! I use 1/2 cup for each load, or fill your “fabric softener” container half to three-fourths full. Good luck! :) Kari

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