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Greening the Laundry Room

Wool Dryer Balls

They work!

Last April as Earth Day was gearing up, I took assessment of my laundry room. It contained many “organic” products; detergents, bleach, softeners. I thought this is ridiculous! I use concentrated products that are earth-friendly, yet I have recycling and waste. I noticed that even the environmentally friendly products were hard to get off if spilled, made my washer corrode on the side of the fill tray, and even though labeled unscented, some of them made my husband sneeze. What to do. What to do! (Please know that I live in a “green” condo building and we are not allowed to put any laundry lines out on our decks.)

Here are my findings:

In my world of loving to reasearch, I began with bleaches. Final decision – don’t use any at all. Do what my foremothers before me – hang it in the window or under the skylight in the sun if I need it whiter! Thank you Sun!

Next – laundry detergent – Nellie’s Laundry Soda – comes in a very small bag with a teaspoon, or in a reusable tin. I gave it the test and sure enough, the little teaspoon of soda in a large load of clothes – a stain that had been on The Dude’s shirt came out! What?! I couldn’t believe it. Nothing got that stain out. Nellie did! No scent, really no scent at all! Final decision – Now one little container of Nellie’s in the cabinet.

Now for drying. I do have an LG washer and dryer, both with sensors for how much water needed and how much drying time needed. Yet, even with keeping my dryer vent  and exhaust piping clean and cleared, some of the heavy denims,  thicker sweaters, and the corners of my comforter covers would be damp. It meant taking them out and letting them air dry. That’s alright but I want them to be dry when I take them out of the dryer. Makes sense to me! On to the solution. I saw a lot of advertisements for wool dryer balls in the Earth Day mags, etc. I called around Northern California and people had not even heard of them. I checked on the Internet and investigated online sources. Some had dyes and not all would say the composition of the dyes. I am very careful with the vague word: natural. Crude oil is natural! Anyway – Decided I would look for wool balls the color of wool on the live sheep. Next I found balls that were made from old, recycled wool garments. The question here is Where were those clothes made? What was the source of the dyes used to make the clothes? What was inside the balls? They looked cute, but not for me. Finally, I decided on three different companies to make an order. I tested all three. Final decision – Eco-Friendly Wool Dryer Balls from Stoney Mountain Farm. I even called them and questioned them about the balls. They are made by hand and are pure wool from one sheep. They are working on maintaining this special breed of sheep herd. They are a mom and pop business in North Carolina. All sounded good to me. I ordered balls, kitty toy balls, and the make your own kit. My drying is thoroughly dry in a shorter time, up to 50% for lighter loads. Every piece comes out in a shorter drying time,  is very soft, and has no static! They really work as advertised.

My laundry room looks so good. No garbage receptacle needed! Only the washer and dryer. When I open the cabinet above the washer – only the little container of Nellie’s! and (I do keep a small box of 20 Mule Team Borax for horrible stains or a yellowing area. Also we have extremely hard water. One box lasts at least 6 months.)  I keep my three wool dryer balls in the dryer! No need to take them out. I do use new tennis balls for down items. (The wool balls do not work with down-filled items. Yep, I tried it as part of my research!)

For those of you who have very sensitive skin and those of you with Celiac, know that I as a Celiac have major issues with detergents, soaps, softeners, fragrances, etc. This is why I try everything. Those of you who are Celiac may or may not know that if you eat something glutened it can manifest in a lesion on your skin. I have had this and it is not easy to get rid of. These products work for me and my family and I just wanted to share. They may not be for everyone. I do know that the wool balls do not have the issue with “I’m allergic to wool” problems. It is not the wool, it is the lanolin. In the felting process in making the balls, the lanolin is washed out. I itch from wool, but no issues at all from the Stoney Mountain Farm balls. One last part is wool fibers – nope, none! I do a lot of dark blue and black items. No fibers come off onto the clothing! We only have cat hair!! LOL!

Greener Laundry Room. Happier Family. No sneezing by The Dude!

Living the Crazy Life,

Sherry

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