One thing most of cloth diapering parents have in common is the ability to make decisions not based on convenience but yet life decisions that are more environmentally friendly options. We choose to use cloth diapers for a variety of reasons…environmental, financial, clearing diaper rash, and just because they are so stinking cute on their bums! Well, in our attempt to be “environmentally friendly” we find ourselves also becoming “financially conscious.” We look into other options that will allow this spiral of changes in our lives.
My spiral went this way, cloth diapers, cloth wipes, “un-paper” towels from a work-at-home-mom (WAHM), and now wool dryer balls. I have enjoyed using the adorable cloth diapers on my son’s bottom cloth wipes just make sense! As for the “un-paper” towels, these are simply flannel and terry cloth rectangular towels that snap together and roll up to replace your disposable paper towels. They are a great addition, however we do still keep a few rolls of paper towels around for those really bad messy that you don’t want to relive in washing. Wool dryer balls are 100% wool yarn that is wrapped and felted into balls that are placed into your dryer to reduce dry time, saving energy. These balls are also attributed to serving as a softener, eliminating the need for chemical softeners. Finally, the balls are known for reducing static cling, similar to dryer sheets. I was very excited to integrate them into our lives and apprehensive at the same time.
First of all, I must say that they have their advantages and disadvantages, like anything. I started off purchasing my first four dryer balls from a WAHM to “test drive” them and see if it was even worth the investment. You can choose to purchase the balls in unscented or choose from a huge variety of scents made from essential oils by the seller. I was most afraid of this part, because you have to choose something that will give fragrance to your clothing and can’t smell it prior to purchase, wow! I chose Vanilla & Pomegranate….it was heavenly! I love it and my husband loves it too, SCORE! Well, when you purchase the balls they are manufactured unscented and injected with scent at the time of order. This brings me to my first point about the balls, the scenting doesn’t last long. In our house we do A LOT of laundry maybe 10 loads a week or more…between diapers, toddler clothing, mommy and daddy’s uniforms and gym clothes, and bedding washes. So, obviously the more wash/drying you do the faster the scent dissipates. Well, in about 3 weeks it was gone and I was sad. By this point I realized that 4 balls wasn’t enough to see any changes in anything, so I purchased another set of 6, totaling 10 balls in my dryer. I needed a re-scenting option, so the WAHM I purchased them from sells small vials of the oil to place drops on yourself, PERFECT!! You may also use basic essential oils from your local health food stores to scent, applying only a few drops to the ball and allowing drying before use.
I see a small difference in dry times for our regular clothing loads, but it has worked miracles for cloth diapers! You can toss your load of CD in with the wool balls and it will take half the time to dry and the hemp will be completely dry. I was most impressed by this factor. And some may say, what about the oils in the balls with your CD? After consulting with some experts, it is ok as long as you don’t go overboard with application of the oils. After using the ten balls, I feel that they don’t help at all with the static cling to our clothing. We have a bad static charge issue and chemical softeners are the only thing we have ever been able to use to subdue the problem. But it isn’t horrible for now, so I continue to eliminate the chemicals in our wash. So, in conclusion I think they are a great addition to your laundry loads!
By Tabby a mother and wife, that works full-time and finds ways to make life a lot easier and economical!