Weekly Musings: Every Little Bit Helps
Last week at the Natural Living Expo I bought some alpaca felted dryer balls from Plain View Alpaca Farm. It’s winter and my clothes have taken on a life of their own from the static electricity in my dryer. Never a fan of dryer sheets, I’ve used Static Eliminator® cloths for years, but they just didn’t seem to be working anymore.
The homemade package of four balls I picked up decorated with really cute alpacas said: “No dyes. Dry clothes faster. Reduce static and wrinkling while softening. Dryer sheets and fabric softener are petroleum based products that are making your clothes more flammable and less breathable. They are coating your clothes and dryer with chemicals and petroleum.”
That information made sense to me. Dryer sheets are coated with strong-smelling chemicals. When exposed to heat, a chemical reaction occurs and transfers those chemicals to your clothes and the inside of your dryer. When you wear the clothes the chemicals are absorbed into your body through your skin for all the hours of the day you are wearing them. That’s a lot of hours.
I did some research when I got home about dryer sheet residue in dryers and found it depends on the dryer model. Dryer sheet build up was serious enough in some cases, however, to cause appliance fires. Especially for models with a thin nylon mesh lint screen, chemical build-up can prevent air flow in the screen. You can check this by running your lint screen under a water faucet. If water doesn’t flow through the screen, use vinegar to remove the build up, and clean the inside of the dryer with vinegar as well. You may just have prevented a fire or other hazard in your home.
But what about your body? Everyday we are absorbing minute amounts of pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, carcinogens and more just in the course of normal living. We trust the EPA and other governmental agencies to set safe standards of exposure to potentially toxic substances in our lives, and they do rate individual products and ingredients in those products.
But who is measuring the total exposure to toxicity you are encountering when you add up all the toxic products you use throughout the day — a little bit of anti-bacterial soap, a little bit of laundry soap, a little bit of nail polish, a little bit of plastic water bottle residue — all consumed at “safe” levels individually, but together they create your toxic body burden. Any little thing I can do to reduce that is a good thing.
So I have my alpaca wool balls and I heard that tennis balls also work well for this purpose. I tried a newly discovered technique of pinning a safety pin on two separate articles of clothing in each dryer load to reduce static and so far it seems to be working. Eventually, I might even completely surrender to common sense and just hang my wet laundry near the wood stove.
Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine.