Are you trying to “green” your laundry routine, but can’t find a good way to reduce static cling without using dryer sheets?
This is a common issue among our readers, and I can empathize. Dryer sheets used to be one of my favorite things and were hard to give up when I couldn’t find anything else that worked. But as I learned more about the dangerous bouquet of chemicals used to make dryer sheets, I was determined to find alternatives that worked just as well.
That combination of chemicals used in dryer sheets is eventually rubbed all over clean laundry, and is transferred to our skin when we use our clean towels or wear our clean clothes. Studies have been done showing the numerous toxic ingredients used in scented laundry products like dryer sheets, including many known carcinogens. (source)
Static can be an absolute non-issue in your natural laundry routine if you follow some of our following tips!
8 Natural Ways to Reduce Static in the Laundry
The BEST natural way to completely eliminate static in your laundry is to hang dry everything. Now that spring is approaching, it should be a little easier for most to take advantage of drying clothes outdoors or in front of an open window. When hung to dry, clothes are no longer rubbing together to create static electricity.
Whether hanging it outdoors or indoors, you have several options. You can build your own outdoor clothesline, use a compact outdoor model that folds up (and can be taken out of the ground) when not in use, or dry indoors using a large rack or a smaller model.
When hang drying isn’t an option, and a dryer must be used, there are still several natural methods for keeping static down.
Dry Synthetic Fabrics Separately
Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are one of the main culprits of static cling. When dried separately, garments made from synthetic fabrics aren’t given the opportunity to charge up all your other clothing. Consider pulling synthetic fabrics out of the wash and hanging them on an indoor or outdoor rack instead of throwing them in the dryer with everything else.
Reduce Drying Time
Another common cause of static in the laundry is over-drying. When items are completely dry and no moisture remains, this invites static electricity into the mix. Allow clothes to dry only until they’re not wet anymore – tumbling around for excessive amounts of time in the dry heat increases static and increases your energy costs.
Vinegar Fabric Softener
Our homemade fabric softener is made with vinegar. It actually serves double duty as fabric softener AND static reducer in the laundry. When used in the rinse cycle of the wash, most users will see a reduction in static cling after clothes go through the dryer. Even if you plan to hang dry items, you won’t need to worry about them smelling like vinegar. When items are completely dry the vinegar smell will completely vanish. Read more about using vinegar as fabric softener/static reducer here.
Wool Dryer Balls
If you haven’t yet looked into wool dryer balls as an alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets, you really should. These little wool balls absorb moisture from clothing in the dryer, maintaining a more humid environment, therefore cutting down on static.
In addition to reducing static, they also reduce drying time and fluff clothes. We recommend using 6 or more in the dryer for best results. You can follow our simple tutorial to make your own, or purchase them here.
Vinegar in the Dryer
Using white vinegar in the dryer is another great trick for eliminating static. You can simply spray a clean washcloth, sock, pre-cut piece of cloth, or any other garment with vinegar. This item is then tossed into the dryer with everything else. The vinegar in the dryer will keep static down – and remember, the vinegar smell will be gone once things are dry.
Soap nuts can be used as a green alternative to commercial laundry detergents. They’re actually a type of berry, and can be put in a muslin bag and tossed directly into the wash. (They can also be boiled down to make a liquid laundry soap.) They already possess anti-static properties, so laundry that’s washed with soap nuts doesn’t require any other anti-static remedy. Don’t know what soap nuts are? Read all about them here.
Aluminum Foil Ball
I saved this one for last because I’m still not sure how natural this method is. That said, I had great success with it before I found all these other natural methods for reducing static. (We can all agree on the fact that tin foil doesn’t contain chemical fragrances like dryer sheets, but could it be releasing other harmful things as it is heated up and tossed around with our laundry???) I recommend using this method as a last resort just in case. To use, tear off a sheet of aluminum foil, roll it into a ball, and add it to the dryer. The same ball will last several loads and will become a nice, smooth ball after 1-2 loads. Replace when you notice it’s no longer working.
Have you struggled with reducing the static in your laundry? What natural methods have you found work well?