Traditional fabric softeners contain a long list of chemicals, many of which are actually skin irritants (just for starters!) Most fabric softener sheets are actually coated with animal fat (that's the waxy sheen on them). Yuck, right?!
My favorite fabric softener choices are dryer balls, vinegar and a few commercially available plant based liquid softeners.
Dryer Balls - I love these things and use four in my very own dryer. They really help reduce drying time and I am always surprised by how soft everything gets. I notice that it cuts down on wrinkles too. I love that! Dryer balls are easy to use. Toss them in your dyer and that's it. No need to take them out or remember to put them back in, unless of course your children think they are toys and run off with them!In regard to the drying time, I predominantly use All-in-One style diapers and they dry in a single cycle with these in my dryer! If you're not familiar with modern cloth diapers - be sure to check out our FAQ!
My favorite dryer balls are Nellie's. I have a set of their original and PVC free. I really love them both, but I think I prefer the softening effect of the PVC slightly more. If you want a natural option, wool dryer balls might be for you. They are felted wool balls and have the same function. I have only tried one type of these and mine were not all that well made and I was not pleased with the fuzzies left on my clothes. Knowing more about yarn quality now than I did then, I believe that was the contributing factor. Lots of people use and love their wool dryer balls.
Vinegar - You might think that your laundry will come out smelling like vinegar, but I can promise you that it will not. I was worried about this before I gave it a try and was very pleased by how well it worked and the lack of scent. I use a Downy distributor ball to put the vinegar in my wash when I use it. I fill the ball about half full and toss it in. If your machine has a reservoir to fill with softener, you can put the vinegar in there.
If dryer balls or vinegar aren't for you, there are some safe store-bought fabric softeners. Click here for a list.
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