In our previous article we discussed why dryer sheets should not be included in your list of eco cleaning products. Some of the health effects from being exposed to the chemicals impregnated in dryer sheets can include: central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract, and even contribute to cancer.
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First let us address the static electricity, a primary reason some use dryer sheets. It is the chemicals in traditional laundry soap that creates the static. It may take several washings with chemical free detergents to eliminate the chemical residue static, but your patience will be rewarded. Additionally reducing the amount of polyester clothing you own will certainly reduce the amount of static electricity you will experience. If, however, you still have too much static electricity, an alternative is to add a ball of aluminum foil to your dryer. This becomes one of the most simple and cost effective eco cleaning products for your laundry room!
There are many great applications for dryer sheets that do not require direct exposure to your skin and allow you to use eco cleaning products for green natural home cleaning including:
- Soap Scum: Use them as a wash rag in your shower to easily remove the soap scum and hard water deposits from your shower. (My favorite.)
- Pot Scrubbers: The softening chemicals in the sheets will release the baked on food on pots and pans when soaked in hot water overnight. (Rinse thoroughly.)
- Repel Bugs and Rodents: The smell will chase away mice, skunks, squirrels, and other rodents. You can also keep bed bugs away by putting an unused dryer sheet where your bed touches the ground.
- Anti-Static: Use AFTER drying to reduce static electricity from your clothes. It is even better for your TV and computer screens.
- Freshen Shoes: Insert at night to freshen. You may also want to use to refresh other storage areas.
- Dust Free Blinds: Dust with the dryer sheets and the residual chemicals will act to repel dust.
- Iron: Iron (low setting) a used dryer sheet will remove some of the gunk.
- Paint Brushes: Soak your paint brushes in hot water and a dryer sheet to remove latex paint.
The main thing to remember about all these uses is that it is the chemicals in dryer sheets that make this magic happen. Keeping dryer sheets away from your skin and performing helpful home tasks is key to living a green clean life!