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The Cotton Ball Trick

 *originally published 4/15/2016*


“What’s that smell?”

It wasn’t the smell of impending rain in the air, or a breeze blowing the scent of freshly cut grass, or the scent of mossy, wet earth… smells that you might expect to point out to your children on a nature walk through a park.

It was the strong smell of laundry detergent and dryer sheets that hung in the air on the boardwalk trail through the woods. It wasn’t a bad smell at all, but it was strong enough to linger in the outdoor air even after the people had gone on down the trail.  The same thing happened when we passed two groups of people that day, and it caught my attention.

The fragrance chemicals in our detergents and dryer sheets are SO strong.  They absorb into our clothes, which then go on our skin, and then are constantly being breathed in as the clothes are being worn.

Several years ago after reading something about the dangers of dryer sheets, I stopped buying and using dryer sheets for our family’s laundry and haven’t looked back.  I was happy to cross something off the list of household items that had to be purchased regularly, and we haven’t seemed to miss them.  I can’t even remember exactly what I read or where I read it, but this article from Healthy Living How To covers the information and sites its sources.

So I decided the dryer sheets weren’t worth the risk or the expense, but I have, however, missed having a [slight] fresh smell on my clean laundry because we use fragrance-free laundry detergent* as well.

Enter… the cotton ball trick!

 Instead of tossing a chemical-fragrance-laden dryer sheet onto the clean laundry, I now toss in a cotton ball that I’ve dabbed with essential oil.

Lavender essential oil is my #1 choice, and I add tea tree oil with the lavender to any loads that need a little extra freshening.

The essential oils are stored in the laundry room along with a basket of cotton balls, and it’s as easy as grabbing a cotton ball, dabbing on a couple of drops of EO, and tossing the cotton ball in with the wet laundry.  The cotton balls can even be reused a time or two before they start breaking down.

Use your favorite essential oil or get creative with your own blend.  And the treat you’ll give your neighbors with the soothing scent of essential oils coming from your exterior dryer vent … that just makes you extra neighborly!

*Interested in making your own fragrance-free laundry detergent?  Melissa of Fig & Feathers shows how to make an easy, 4-ingredient recipe for homemade laundry detergent in this video.  We’re kind of partial – she uses a soap we love

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