Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Dozen Loads" Dryer Sheet

Ever since I began investigating ways to be more Frugal, I've heard rumblings of a way to Make Your Own Dryer Sheets using liquid fabric softener and some old towels.  There's lots of entries about this all over Blogland, but the one that finally convinced me to try it was The New Old School's version.



I did as she instructed and soaked an old face cloth in some fabric softener, left it to dry and tossed it in with my clothes in the dryer.  Worked like a charm!  Actually softened the clothes without using additional softener in the washer and no static cling.  I reused the same towel about 12 times without re-soaking it before I noticed the softening power was weakened.


When it was time to re-soak, I decided to take the easy way out and just pour on some fabric softener instead of getting my hands all gooey.  I poured about 1 capful onto each towel and let it soak in.


I also decided to make two additional dryer sheets because it's kind of a pain to search through all those dried clothes searching for your reusable dryer sheet.  Better to just have 3 (or more) on hand!


New Old School also suggests that if the weather is extra dry and static is all about, you can throw in a balled-up piece of aluminum foil with your clothes in the dryer to fight static cling.  Pretty cool!
1foil.jpg
Credit


The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

DIY Dryer Sheets (3 Old Face Cloths $0, 3 Capfuls Fabric Softener $0.19*)

Total Fake-It Cost:  $0.19, Yields 36 Loads = $0.005/load (that's half a penny!)

Compare to Snuggle Dryer Sheets ($4.99 for 80 sheets), $0.06/load

Total Fake-It Savings:  $0.055/load.  I average about 8 loads/week, so that comes to $22.88/year!


Further Savings:  Using this method, I have eliminated using extra fabric softener in my washing machine, so I am getting even more savings by cutting that out.  If my softener costs approx. $0.065/load, that saves me an additional $27.00/year - that's nearly $50.00 total!

*Based on Suavitel Softener at 92 loads/bottle @ $6.00.  If you make your own softener or get a great sale price, this could be even less! 


Linking Up at Tip Junkie, Today's Creative Blog, The Frugal GirlsFunky Junk Interiors and these other Great Parties!

44 comments:

  1. Definitely trying this - thanks!

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  2. Saw this on Pinterest....is this safe to use in the new front loaders? We are not supposed to use dryer sheets in our Frigidaire Affinity due to the possibility of build up on the heat sensor bar.

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    1. Hi Edie, I've been using it in my front loader, but please do what you think is right. Cheers!

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    2. Edie, I am currently using bounce in my Electrolux front loaders. I have never heard of build up on the heat sensor..read your manual carefully and then proceed. I use 1/2 of a dryer sheet every two loads. I find this has saved money. but do follow your manual.

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    3. The issue with dryer sheets is that is it adds a film to your lent screen that causes air to not be able to flow through it, this in turn causes your dryer motor to burn out.

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    4. a good idea,and i do this with my new high efficiency dryer is this.once a week usually sat or sunday when i do laundry. i take my lint screen out and run hot water over it good or soak it in my sink in hot water.the water should runs through easily and viola! no build up.i have done this for year with my dryer lint screen.it works

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    5. You can also use plain white vinegar and your choice of essential oils (optional for scent) spritzed on a cloth in your front loader w/o fear of build up. Vinegar is GREAT used as fabric softener, and will not leave your close smelling of vinegar as some fear it will. It can also be added to your wash during the rinse cycle in place of softener.

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  3. This is simply a fabuloso, grand idea! I'm so glad you shared it with us. Suavitel is my favorite softener of choice and I have far too many old, ragged faceclothes just waiting to be used in some way! Blessings to You!!

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  4. I love this idea! We've been making our own fabric softner but the scent is almost non-existent. We don't mind for the most part but I sometimes miss having the clean laundry smell of a good commercial softener. I'll have to give this one a try! Thanks Fake It Frugal! Great tip!

    RaShell@ http://poppyjuice-poppy.blogspot.com/

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  5. Great post..
    I have done this too.. love saving more for more important things :-)
    also use the foil ball , when I remember .

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  6. For the past 11 years I have been doing a similar version of this dryer sheet method. The only thing different is that I keep liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle and just spray a little on one of my "dryer sheet" rags before tossing it into the dryer. I only have to add fresh softener every few loads. This has saved me a BUNDLE over the years!!! I have just (in the last month) decided to stop using fabric softener (I have a child with severe allergies and we are eliminating a lot of chemicals) and have replaced my liquid softener with vinegar with added essential oil (to completely knock out the vinegar smell). I use it exactly like I did the fabric softener, however I spray new for every load. The clothes never smell like vinegar and are nice and soft. I use the foil balls to combat static. So far I am happy with the results and am very happy that it seems to make a difference for my son!

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    1. To save more money you could even eliminate the the essential oil. You won't smell the vinegar on the dried clothes.

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    2. Thank you for the tip!! Do you use regular white vinegar or apple cider or does it matter? When using essential oils, how many drops of the oil do you add?

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    3. 1/4 of cup of white vinegar in the wash cycle (where you would put the fabric softener) will make your clothes soft and static free. Doesn't smell like vinegar and doesn't contain all sorts of bad things that fabric softener does.

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    4. Add one $0.99 store bottle of hair conditioner to one gallon of white vinegar to make fabric softener to use either in the washer rinse cycle or to make the dryer sheets described above. The hair conditioner adds a pleasant scent as well as aids in "softening" and eliminating static cling.

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    5. And, for the record, vinegar is a natural "anti bacterial;" so, adding it to your rinse cycle will remove and airbore bacteria collected on your laundry. This is especiall good for bed sheets from the bed of someone who has been ill.

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  7. I'd commented on this posting a few days ago saying that we'd been making our own homemade softener but felt it was lacking in the scent department. I experimented a bit with the recipe and came up with a super cheap, really good smelling softener using Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer as a fragrance agent, vinegar, baking soda and water. We've been very happy with it! You can check it out at http://poppyjuice-poppy.blogspot.com/2012/01/slightly-different-homemade-fabric.html

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  8. Dryer Balls made out of fleece are about $9 for initial cost. They will last for years and years, are totally Green. And add no chemicals to your house of the environment.
    Use Dryer Balls and save $$ and the environment.
    I have spent today making drying balls. These little beauties are non polluting and quiet. They are made from NATURAL, RENEWABLE FLEECE. yes the stuff the sheep grow. They will also break down in your compost after they have served their purpose. They should serve you in your dryer for years if they are treated right.
    These are used in you clothes dryer instead of fabric softener and clunky tennis or plastic balls.

    http://patty-anne-lea.blogspot.com/2011/11/use-dryer-balls-and-save-and.html

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  9. I skip this step all together! IF I HAVE to use the dryer, I put three tennis balls in it. I also bought a Downey ball at a yeard sale for 5 cents and use vinager in it. No need to buy fabric softner at all!

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  10. Hey, thanks for the reference to my blog! I love new friends.

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  11. I too do this with another bit of a twist...I bought apple green almost neon washcloths to use - that way I can always tell them from the rest of the load! I put one cap full of softener into a big Ziploc bag for each wash cloth and sort of marinate them until everything is soaked up - flipping it around when ever I walk by. After a few days they are ready to hang up to dry. I'm not normally a name brand type of person but if I use Downy I can get maybe 20 loads out of one cloth - love it!!

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  12. Let's say it takes me 10 mins to do this and I work for minimum wage ($7.25/hr in the US). So it really costs me $1.39 per 36 loads, which turns out to be $0.038 per load. Amazon.com sells dryer sheets for $0.04 per load.

    For most people, this would take longer than 10 mins to make these and if they are reading this blog, they probably make slightly more than minimum wage.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't do this, but if you are already optimizing at the penny level, you should probably factor in time as well.

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    Replies
    1. While I agree that some things should take into consideration the time needed, this one doesn't. (It shouldn't take you 10 minutes to pour a little fabric softener on an old towel!) LOL!

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    2. . . .sorry Russell, but leave it to a man to factor in "pay" for this tip. If that's the way you want to go add the cost of time, gas and wear and tear on your car to the cost of using dryer sheets or liquid softener in the traditional way. :) The Frugal way also results in less commercial packaging in the trash and of course, the cloths are recycled too! Of course, if we are reading this we have more time than money to begin with. . .lol

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    3. i hate chiming in as well but Russell this whole homemade thing is not for everyone.i live on a very fixed income.and am grateful for sites such as this for ideas.i used to be a working woman and i still pinched penny's. however it takes less time to do this and saves me money as well,then it does to do a quick dinner.laundry detergent as well.so its not for everyone.but for a lot of us now.in our economy it helps so much.i am posting anonymous because maybe i am not very smart but,i cannot find a link or way to put in my i.d it is p. Reese.though.just so u do not think i am picking on you or others who are not to keen on the whole homemade thing.

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    4. did you include the cost of shipping from amazon? and the time you spend searching amazon for the dryer sheets and placing the order?

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  13. I have tried this in the past,I loved it but I noticed my clothes were lookin a lil faded.Has anyone had that happen?The clothes were very soft and smelled great but they were looking a bit faded =(

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  14. Neither tennis balls nor tinfoil balls have ever worked to soften or avoid static clean in my clothes. I've given up on them both. I think the liquid on a piece of towel is better, but, so far, vinegar in the rinse water is as good as anything for me.

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  15. Well...I have a good one on this note. I have saved hotel samples of hair condiitoner. I rarely use hair conditioner as I have very fine hair and it would get all gummed up. Water it down into a spray bottle, and use THIS instead of commercial fabric softener. The savings are huge. You can also use baking soda, epsom salt, or white vinegar to soften a load of laundry. A good stain remover is automatic dishwasher soap, as it is specifically formulated to remove food stains from dishes, it works GREAT on clothes in the washer with a hot load/overnight soak and a kettle of boiling water. Turns whites VERY white. Removes years old stains. Your whites can look like you just purchased them. I use this on my culinary jackets.

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  16. I have to try this I am thinking this will be a good up cycle project for any size towel fabric ...hum old dish clothes too old beach towels...

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  17. i just made my dryer sheets.they are hanging in my laundry room drying.my whole house smells so nice! all through it.and i used a store brand mountain scent fabric softener.i may soak old rags or cloths in fabric softener just to hang up for the scent in the house,i love this.and it was so cheap too

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  18. I like this also but I do mine a little different. I put about an inch or inch and 1/2 of softener in a spray bottle fill the rest with water a spritz a rag about 2 or 3 times and toss it in the dryer. Never had any complaints.

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  19. Have you ever dried regular clothes with a towel? I have and it leaves pill balls on all my clothes; I am scared to try it for that reason.

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    1. Jen Instead of using old towels or facecloths..... try using cut up dish cotton dish towels, or even an old cut up cotton shirt; No pill balls. Combined with using tinfoil balls for static is the best

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  20. I love love love this idea! I've considered vinegar before, but the scent of softener is one of the main reasons I use it... ;) I buy those small bottles of Suavtiel from the dollar store most of the time, but occasionally hubby likes to splurge on his favorite Snuggle. I won't allow the sheets in my house anymore, since one found it's way on the floor and I slipped and fell while pregnant. This seems like a safer alternative worth trying.

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  21. I am just blown away with all the savings! The big plus is they WORK!!!!!!

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  22. I rarely use our dryer. i usually hang our wet laundry on a drying rack. saves a lot of energy..

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  23. Thank you for the tips and for taking the time to research and share what you learn! But if feel I need to add my two cents about fabric softeners....I discovered years ago that store bought dryer sheets and fabric softeners are toxic. They contain many carcinogenic ingredients...(here is a link to a list of toxic ingredients commonly found in fabric softeners http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/toxin5.php ). I do what my do what my grandmother did if I find I need to add something to my wash to soften or prevent static cling. I put in 1/4 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle for softening clothes like blue jeans and towels that will be hung on the line. Then before I hang them on the line I give them a good shake or too the loosen the fibers up some.In the winter when I can't hang my clothes to dry, I add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle to prevent static cling and use a few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil in a dryer load of wet clothes give them a nice fresh scent. Mostly, I just wash my clothes with homemade laundry detergent, (pennies per load and made with harmless ingredients), and hang them in the sun to dry.I save a bundle on electricity not using the dryer and also save on wear and tear on my clothes,(the lint trap will tell you how much wear the dryer puts on your clothes...) Clothes hung on the line to dry have a natural, bury your face and breathe deep, kind of freshness that just can't be beat!
    Thanks again for all your great tips and ideas!

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  24. Could a towel covered in fabric softener end up bleaching/discoloring colored clothes (even if it goes in the dryer load completely dried?)

    I've noticed in the past that fabric softener HAS left little bleach splotches on some of my clothing, so it's been quite a while since I've actually used it. I'm weary.

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  25. Hmmm, wonder if this will work with the homemade fabric softener recipies vs. the store bought? That would bring even more savings. ^_^

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