Dry Your Clothes Green

After a reading a few comments on my post called Saving Green by Going Green, I thought that the topic of clothes drying could use a little more attention. So, this week I am going to focus in on a few different issues about living green and drying our clothes that I believe everyone can benefit from.

First of all, it was brought to my attention that the dryer balls I referred to in my original post were, indeed, made of PVC, which is obviously not a green material. With that said, I was assured by distributors of these balls that they are made with safe practices, but let’s face it, any way we can avoid PVC (especially heating it) is probably a good idea.

So, I have found a wonderful alternative: felted wool dryer balls! Best of all, there is more than one green benefit to using these little balls!

Not only do they prevent you from having to put chemical-laden dryer sheets in with your freshly clean cloths to reduce static, but they also quicken drying times as they further agitate and separate garments.  These balls can easily be found in a quick search on sites such as Hyenacart.com or Etsy.com, or, better yet, you can make them yourself with scraps of old wool yarn (a very green way to reuse!). Simple instructions to make these balls can be found all over the internet, but here is a quick and easy tutorial that I recently put together on my personal blog, Mama Kenz Studio.

Alright, so we have the static issue taken care of, now what about those of you who just can’t part yourselves from the scent that dryer sheets leave behind on your clothes?

Why not try adding a small sachet filled with your favorite herbs or flowers? Pop a little lavender or dried rose buds in such a sachet while your clothes tumble and when they are done a subtle but refreshing fragrance will be all that is left behind!

Now let’s talk about your dryer itself. When was the last time that you cleaned out your dryer vent?

I am not just talking about removing the lint from your lint collection screen, but actually cleaning out the whole vent that leads to outside. Not only is this a significant fire danger to your home, but it also lengthens drying times leading to more energy usage (and money on your part!). An affordable and easy to use dryer vent cleaning system can be found on FlyLady.net if you don’t feel like pulling your whole machine away from the wall to accomplish this task. It is also a good idea to actually scrub your lint collection screen with soapy water and a toothbrush if you have been using dryer sheets, as the oils from these sheets build up on the screen, restricting airflow and also posing a fire hazard.

Lastly, as the temperature begins to slowly make it’s way back up the thermometer, why not try hanging your clothes outside this spring and summer?  A simple outdoor laundry line can save you pennies, prevent unnecessary energy usage, and the sun can do wonders on bleaching out old stains. Why not give it a whirl?

If nothing else, you can impress your neighbors with just how green you are becoming and maybe even inspire them to go a little green as well! Happy drying!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Follow the rest of MacKenzie’s musings on being a birth and postpartum doula while pregnant, totschooling her son, and still finding time to knit, at Mama Kenz Studio.

And remember, the Bummas Giveaway is going on until Sunday March 1st at 7pm EST, and all you have to do to enter is comment on the giveaway post with a valid email address; if you haven’t entered yet, what are you waiting for?

6 Responses to Dry Your Clothes Green
  1. Eliane
    February 27, 2009 | 6:18 am

    Your last point should have come first. If you want to dry green, then ditch the tumble dryer. Given the amount of energy they use, everything else is just window dressing.

  2. kathleen
    February 27, 2009 | 8:59 am

    I loved this post from Mama Kenz blog, and am glad you reposted. I’m going to link to it during my Green Clean Week event next week. Thanks for deciding to feature it! (Chic Mama left me a comment). I really appreciate it!

  3. MacKenzie (MamaKenz Studio)
    February 27, 2009 | 2:19 pm

    Seeing as how much of the country still does not reach temperatures much above freezing during the day or is experiencing lots of wet weather, I thought it appropriate to present greener ways of using a dryer before mentioning the outdoor option in my post. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your opinion.

  4. MacKenzie (MamaKenz Studio)
    February 27, 2009 | 2:22 pm

    Please note, this post is an original post written exclusively for 5 Minutes for Going Green. The post on Mama Kenz Studio is a tutorial on how to make wool dryer balls. Sorry for any confusion!

  5. Jessica/Green Mamma
    February 27, 2009 | 9:23 pm

    I really enjoyed your honesty and process of discovery in this post. I like your idea of line drying clothes, although because we live in a strict home association, we have to do indoor line drying. That said, it is worth the effort. Great post!

  6. Mary Q Contrarie
    April 4, 2009 | 7:17 pm

    I agree with Eliane not using your dryer is the best approach. I have been using portable laundry racks for two years. They are great because I can set them up in the bedrooms during the day while we use the kitchen and family room. Then at night I can move them to the family and kitchen if I needed to wash that second load.

    Another thing about laundry. We do not have to throw EVERY thing in the hamper when ever it touches our bodies. Many times I can simply hang my clothes on the laundry rack and air them out.