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Dryer balls: how do you machine dry clothes, avoid static and those stinky dryer sheets?

I was doing a load of laundry yesterday, and it dawned on me that we have yet to put up the clothesline and have not solar dried one single piece of clothing so far this year. It has been such a funny spring. So there we were. On the deck. The sun was shining nicely: not too hot, but pleasant. The kids were alternating between jumping rope, hula hooping and building fairy houses. I was reading a book, more or less undisturbed, while they played. That's when it dawned on me about the clothesline. And do you think I jumped right up and put my crazy clothesline system of rope and bungee cords into place? Nah. It was just too lovely to break the spell. But next time, I will. I promise.

So I went to the basement, and loaded our trusty dryer with the wet clothes. Then did something crazy! I threw some tennis balls in with it. I've been researching alternative static busting methods for clothes dryers. Sure, you can buy those spiky plastic balls. Or you can get some lovely felted wool ones that cost twice as much. Or I could continue to use the giant box of nasty chemically scented dryer sheets that I have had since my 8-year-old was an infant. Yet, I find that the more I eliminate unnatural scents from our lives, the more I am troubled by those that still are hanging on.

Thus I dipped into the world's largest collection of flat tennis balls, threw three in the dryer and crossed my fingers (If you'd like to try this at home, and are lacking the necessary tennis balls… Call me. I'll set you up). Survey says? It worked. Laundry was as static free as when I used a dryer sheet, but sans the fake chemical-induced 'springtime freshness' stench. There was one pair of girl tights that are synthetic that had a wee bit of static electricity, but everything else in the load was cottony and static free. Nice.

What do you use to eliminate static while machine drying your clothing? I've noticed the above mentioned spiky balls and wool balls at various shops (not to be confused with Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls of SNL fame). And Mrs. Meyers and other natural brands have their version of dryer sheets. Would love for y'all to weigh in on what you use and how it all comes out in the wash.


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