Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY Dryer Sheets

First, I got a new job!  Yay!  Not only is it better pay, better hours, and a much nicer school - but it's literally blocks from my house.  August is turning into the month of transitions in our house - leaving my old job, starting my new one, and now Atticus is about to start first grade.  I am a girl of  habit, so I'll be much more relaxed once I can get everyone onto a long-term schedule again.  Meanwhile, we're enjoying the last two weeks of summer.

Now, onto DIY Dryer Sheets.  I found this out online, but it's been so long ago (over a year) that I don't remember where I first heard about it.  So sorry.  Anyway, I'm sure it's advocated as a way to save money - however dryer sheets don't cost that much, so it's hardly the first place I would start if you're looking to save some dough.  However, the benefit of not dealing with dryer sheets (which always seem to be sticking to something and randomly ending up where they don't belong) plus the added benefit of saving money is a win-win for me.  Plus it's probably better for the environment, and it's simple - really simple.  So a win-win-win-win.

First, you buy liquid fabric softener.  I bought Downy, so that's what I will personally recommend.  Not because they're paying me or anything, just I can't vouch for the other guys.  In fact, my bottle of Downy specifically says not to do what I'm going to tell you to do, so consider yourself warned.  I've been doing this for a year and haven't had any mishaps yet, so I think we should be safe.  But if your house blows up, know that I have no money so it's not really worth suing me over.

Get yourself a spray bottle.  Mine has the measurements on the side.

I find the measurements handy, so if you're going to go out and buy a spray bottle, that's what I would recommend.  However, you can pretty much use whatever spray bottle you have on hand that you want to donate to the cause, as long as it sprays a nice mist, not just the full-power jet stream.

Mix a 50/50 solution of the fabric softener and water.  Water.  That's the secret ingredient.

Get yourself a flannel receiving blanket.  Technically, any kind of flannel will do.  I like the receiving blanket because it's a good size, hemmed, and cheap.

Now, the laundry part.  Wash your clothes regularly.  (I don't add any fabric softener at this stage.  I mostly use dryer sheets for the de-static feature, not because they make my clothes that noticeably softer.  But if you like adding fabric softener to your wash, knock your socks off.)  After you transfer your clothes to the dryer, get your spray bottle, give it a good shake (essential step), and then spritz your flannel about 6-8 times.  You don't want it soaking wet or spotty because fabric softener can stain your clothes.  Then toss the flannel in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet.  And that's your DIY dryer sheet!

I tend to use my flannel about two weeks (20 loads maybe) before I give it a wash.  I picked an orange receiving blanket so it usually stands out when I'm pulling the finished clothes out of the dryer.  I put it back in with the next load or fold and keep on the machine.

As I said, I've been doing it for a year, but I have yet to use up my bottle of Downy.  To be honest, I dry about half of our laundry outside during the summer, but even if I didn't do that it's doubtful I would have used an entire bottle.  Since the spray bottle and receiving blanket were both things I happened to have on hand, I've spent under $3 for a year's worth of "dryer sheets."

And a little tidbit I picked up from Martha Stewart - did you know that you shouldn't use dryer sheets with your towels because they can block absorbency?  I put a tennis ball in there instead which bounces around and helps make things fluffy.  Do you have any laundry secrets to share?

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