Earlier this week, I sent out an email to the list and talked about what I was going to start the year off here at SLB. I got some difficult personal stuff out of the way early, but I promised them that I would fill out a few of my most popular posts. If you’re not signed up for the email list, sign up here (I promise not to spam you because I hate people that do that shit). One of the first things that I thought that I’d do some follow up posts and show you how to do the ultimate DIY/Green your laundry room. No more weird things getting into your clothes, like Quaternary Acrylate Polymer (ingredient in most fabric softeners that rhyme with muggle) or Quaternary Ammonium Compound (in the aforementioned softener). Since I got tired of that stuff that I hardly know what goes in there, I created my homemade fabric softener.
Jeff’s Note: Let me be the first to say that I know you wont get rich doing this (but I will, jk). Sure, you’re saving a bit of money and it all adds up, but if you’re just starting to right the ship your time would be better spent by tackling some of your high recurring bills, such as your cell phone or internet. Those could yield 750+ worth of savings per year, while this will be something like $50.
All that being said, I do this because it’s fairly easy to accomplish while watching tv, it saves a bit of money, and I dont put a bunch of weird stuff on my clothes while they are in the dryer. I also get to become a little bit more self reliant.
In the interest of focus, not long after that, I looked for more ways to green up the laundry room at our house and make it more sustainable and DIY. The cost is lower, it’s better for the earth and it doesnt have names that I couldn’t pronounce (even with college chemistry). My next logical step was homemade dryer sheets. In addition to the fact that dryer sheets are used in the same room and for the same reason (essentially) as fabric softener. They are both used to soften and make your clothes smell good, and they are both used constantly and kind of expensive! I got a little tired of paying the money and a little tired of the weird stuff that they put on dryer sheets (like Dipalmethyl Hydroxyethylammoinum Methosulfate). I cant say that either, so I decided to craft something a bit closer to what Im familiar with (and a lot cheaper too!)
My Recipe for Homemade Dryer Sheets
You will need:
- Cloth pieces (I used an old t-shirts)
- 8 drops Essential Oils (I like tea tree and lavender)
- 1/2 cup Vinegar
The first thing that I do for my homemade dryer sheets is get the base for the sheets. There are a lot of suggestions to go out and buy things, but what I would do if I were you is to use some old t-shirt scraps like me that have been turned into rags. To do this, I start with a tshirt that is no longer wearable in public and cut the sleeves off. Once the sleeves are off, I cut the shirts into about 4″x4″ squares (and the sleeves in half). Once I have the sheets that I’ll be using (don’t worry, they are reusable) I get to making the soaking mixture.
This is the t-shirt before I started cutting it up. It was kind of a sad day getting rid of this, since it was something that I got in high school (I’m 28)
Here are the shirts after they’ve been cut up. Since I used a quart mason jar, I had to cut these in half again. I ended up throwing the shirt collar and sleeves into the rag bin since there was not enough room in the mason jar to hold all the scraps that I created.
The next thing that you do is to take a resealable container (I use a mason jar) and add 8 drops of tea tree oil, 8 drops of a scented oil of your choice (I like lemon oil, orange oil or lavender, sandalwood is good too, if you’re a guy). Once I’ve added my essential oils, I add a half cup of vinegar, then i put all my cloths into the mason jar. That’s it!
Here is the final product. I forgot to take a picture after I mixed the vinegar and oil in, and before I put what will become the dryer sheets in there.
Now, a few usage notes:
- These things can build a lot of static electricity, you should consider putting 1-2 safety pins on each dryer sheets to reduce the static while your clothes are in the dryer
- Ring your cloths out before you put them in the dryer
- Once the sheets are done in the dryer, put them back in your resealable container and prep them for later use. My system is to put old cloths in one side and pull new cloths out of the other side.
- If your container does not have adequate liquid to soak the cloths you put in it, double my recipe (use 1 cup vinegar and 16 drops of each of your essential oils).
This is the second in the series of how to keep your laundry room sustainable. If you missed the homemade fabric softener, check it out here. You can do all this stuff and keep it cheap – the main ingredient is vinegar!