by Kaylynn Senne, ’23
Sustainability Studies major
One good thing my mom and grandma are always good for are their tips and life hacks. I love to buy blankets and pillows, usually much more than I need. Lots of these blankets and pillows that I buy tend to be soft or furry blankets, which, when washed and dried can become rough and just less soft. For the longest time in my life I did not know how to prevent my soft blankets from becoming rougher with every wash.
My grandma told me that if I included tennis balls into my dryer as my blankets were drying, that it would keep the blankets the texture they were when I bought them. She was right, turns out tennis balls work. However, after taking sustainability last semester, I learned that minuscule fibers of acrylic, nylon, spandex, and polyester are shed each time we wash our clothes and then are carried out to waste water treatment plants or discharged into our environment. In just one cycle of a washing machine, 700,000 microscopic plastic fibers can be released into the environment. To find a way to cut down on the amount of fibers and chemicals I am putting into the environment I decided to try wool dryer balls. These balls help to keep your laundry from clumping and dry your clothes faster, reducing the length of time you are using your dryer and it is hypoallergenic. Also, it is a natural way to soften your laundry rather than using dryer sheets or fabric softener sheets which are filled with chemical and they last longer than typical dryer sheets too. Rather than using a box of sheets in a week or a month, wool dryer balls last anywhere from 2-5 years.
I have been using a six pack of wool dryer balls for about two weeks now and the work in the same fashion as my tennis balls do, I put the balls in the wash with my clothes and in the dryer. My soft clothing and blankets feel soft and all the hair in my clothes was pulled off and stuck to the dryer balls after my washes. For those looking to make a difference in their daily lives without changing much, these are an easy way to do so and most I have seen are under 15 dollars and can be found at Walmart. They speed up the drying process and help cut down on the amount of fibers and chemicals released into our water supply, all while keeping our clothes soft and saving you money on dryer sheets.