As I was trying to reduce the number of household products, I read about many uses for dryer sheets - like de-static-ing things and preventing insects, etc. BUT as I researched, I repeatedly found articles on the dangers of using fabric sheets for anything. There are MANY sites warning of the hazards - try reading here and here. Plus, I'm not so sure dryer sheets are a great idea even in the dryer. To support that, over the years, I've found some new stains on my clothes that weren't there when they went into the dryer, and am convinced they came from the dryer sheet residue getting set in the heat of the dryer. So, what do we do?
As I am discovering, there are a few alternatives to dryer sheets. But be aware, switching to a liquid fabric softener is trading one danger for another. Not to worry, one method I've been trying is the little plastic nubby balls you throw in your dryer and forget about. They bounce around and bounce into your clothing and prevent the sticking together of the fabric. Suppliers recommend at least two in a load, but I have about six to make it work. On some days, they don't entirely get rid of static, but I feel a little better knowing I am cutting down on some toxic chemicals around my family.
Recently, I found some cute little 'hedgehogs' that work better than the round balls. It was a brilliant design idea to have an oblong shape, so when you open your dryer, they don't bounce and roll away very far, like the round balls do. And who doesn't like hedgehogs? They are a bit pricey in some stores, but not when you consider how much you will cut down on not buying fabric softener and dryer sheets. Don't fall for the cheap ones at the flea market or Shipshewana either. I bought those thinking they were a great deal; however the plastic is too hard and doesn't 'give' a little when bouncing in the dryer. I think they are too abrasive on finer fabrics, so I gave them to my dog. Even she won't play with them because they are too hard and sharp for her mouth.
I think the idea of eliminating the toxins we have control over is a good thing (since there are so many we can't control.) I know having PLASTIC around us isn't the best, either. So, I'll keep researching the alternatives.
Have you found any alternatives that work? Have you read about the little balls you use in the washing machine INSTEAD of detergent? Maybe I'll try those next.