The Lily and the Lions

Southern Sustenance: Our journey toward a sensibly sustainable, purposeful, and soulful life

A Dirty Word … Laundry

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Laundry. It’s just a dirty word.  It piles up around here faster than, well, anything. I bet your house is about the same.  And, because of the nature of laundry, it’s a constant drain on resources.  Water, soap, energy, time…   We decided to see what small changes we could make to the process to save energy and money.  And, because the hubs is in charge of laundry at our house– I can guarantee that we will not be using a scrub board!

I’ve heard a lot about these magical little things you throw in the dryer that reduce drying time and keeps clothes from wrinkling.  Have you heard of these- they are called dryer balls.

 

Dryer Balls from Etsy shop MontanaSolarCreations

Dryer Balls from Etsy shop MontanaSolarCreations

Now,  I’ll be honest. I’m pretty skeptical about products I think are scams or things that might be sold on informercials in the middle of the night.  You know the ones; the ones where some guy with a catchy name, probably using alliteration, and speaking too loudly tries to sell you some life changing product at 3AM and if you order now you’ll get free shipping and not one but two free products?  So, as you can imagine, I have my doubts about these dryer balls.  What does one do when they aren’t sure? Research, of course! And research does include asking friends and random people on social media.  You know you’ve done it too!  Networking, right???

I started with this article from Consumer Research.  Then, I turned to a Popular Mechanic’s article. To be honest, the verdict is out.  Nevertheless, I decided to try the dryer balls, but I was (still am ) unsure of putting rubber in a heated area with my clothes.  It may not, but it seems like it could leech chemicals.  Further, everyone says they are noisy.  I wanted a quieter, greener option.

I did a little reading on rubber versus wool dryer balls.

I decided to go with the wool dryer balls.  Specifically, I went with the ones pictured above that I found in the MontanaSolarCreations shop on Etsy.  Why? Well, I LOVE the idea of purchasing something that is not made by big business.  You see, we are trying to spend our money in ways that demonstrate what we value.

These folks have something special going on.  According to their Etsy posting, “What’s so great about wool dryer balls? They are a natural, antimicrobial fiber and help reduce drying time at the same time reducing static. It is recommended that you use 3-5 dryer balls per average load of laundry; the more wool dryer balls you have in the dyer, the faster your drying time. By investing in this set of dryer balls, they will save you money over time.”

That’s great, but that’s not the BEST part.  The folks at MontanaSolarCreations purchase their wool locally from Sugar Loaf Wool Carding Mill. SugarLoaf is run by Ed and Susan James.  The James’ are ranchers so they raise the sheep and they process the wool themselves.  To get an idea of how this is done, check out this blog post from MontanaSolarCreations.  They took a trip to the James’ ranch outside of Hall, Montana.

Once they receive the wool, the folks at MontanaSolarCreations begin making these eco-friendly wool dryer balls– “These wool dryer balls are especially eco-friendly since the center ball is made of upcycled 100% wool scraps left over after I make wool diaper covers and wool backed nursing pads. They are also made partly by solar power since everything we create is offset by an array of solar panels on the roof of our home in beautiful western Montana.”

The verdict?  Honestly, we received the balls about a week or two ago and have not had them long enough to have a really thorough answer.  We are no longer using dryer sheets and there is no problem with static.  That’s a plus– not having to buy or make dryer sheets.  They are not loud and annoying– like tennis shoes in the dryer.  In fact, I don’t even notice a difference in the sound.  Energy savings?  That is yet to be determined, but I’ll let you know.

Are you using dryer balls?  If so, what kind? What has been your experience?

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