Drying Laundry More Naturally

One of my earliest posts talked about my laundry detergent recipe.  It’s about time I shared my tips for drying laundry more naturally – in a more environmentally (and clothes) friendly way!

Drying Laundry More Naturally


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


Line Drying

The most environmentally friendly way to dry clothing and linens is to line dry.  This requires no energy and no special products.  I hang dry most of my shirts, sweaters, and jackets on their hangers.  Other clothing can be draped over doors, shower doors or shower curtain rods, or you can purchase clothes line for less than $10.  

I have a long hallway in my house adjacent to the laundry closet.  A length of clothes line tied between door hinges on opposite sides of the hallway made a great space for drying laundry more naturally.  I use this to dry sheets, towels, and some clothes.  In the summer, I hang these items over my deck railing or on a clothes line strung across my hammock stand.  

Line drying inside
Line drying inside

Dryer Drying

For heavy items that take a long time to dry such as my bed quilt or jeans, or when I just don’t have time to air dry my laundry, I still use my clothes dryer.  I dry my clothes on low heat both to save energy and to protect my clothes from heat damage and shrinking.  

Anti-Static & Faster Drying

I found a method for drying laundry more naturally that still reduced static.  Instead of using chemical-laden dryer sheets for anti-static, in each load of laundry I also put in the drier an old wash cloth with safety pins in the corners.  The safety pins in the wash cloth help to dissipate static each time they come in contact with the metal dryer walls.  I also toss in a few tennis balls, each tied in their own old sock (to prevent color transfer onto the drying clothes).  The tennis balls help to move the clothing around in the dryer and prevent it from all being “glued” to the dryer drum, so clothes dries faster.  

Caution: It was recently brought to my attention that tennis balls contain latex.  I recommend that you do not use tennis balls in your dryer IF you or anyone whose clothing or linens are being dried in the drier has a latex allergy due to the unknown effects that this may have.

tennis balls and safety pins in a cloth for faster and static-free drying
Machine drying without chemicals
Tried and retired anti-static attempts
Dryer sheets

I used to use dryer sheets.  I initially sought out a replacement because I wanted to be able to dry my clothes without producing any waste.  As I researched, I learned that dryer sheets ruin the moisture-wicking properties of some clothing, because they essentially coat all fabric with a waxy coating.  Dryer sheets also coat the screen on the dryer lint catcher with wax.  This can interfere with the heat exhausting from the dryer, increasing the temperature in the dryer and causing longer dry times as moisture has a harder time escaping through the vent.  

Aluminum foil ball

Crumpling up a ball of aluminum foil and tossing it in the dryer will help to reduce static, and is an effective method for drying laundry more naturally.  Similar to the metal of the safety pins, the foil ball attracts static from the cloths and dissipates it against the dryer wall.  However, I found that the foil ball got too smooth within 1-2 washes, and then became ineffective.  I didn’t like needing to dispose of the foil (I recycled it) so frequently, so I tossed this trick.  

Wool Dryer Ball

I have heard that wool dryer balls are very effective at reducing static in clothing dried in a clothes dryer.  While it is supposedly a great method for drying laundry more naturally, I am allergic to wool and did not want my clothes or myself to be in contact with wool on a weekly basis, so I have never tried it.  

Clothing Materials and Dryer Lint

As much as I try to reduce waste drying clothes, there is always some waste with machine drying: lint.  If the contents of the dryer are all organic materials (cotton, linen, bamboo), I collect the lint and throw it in my compost.  If I have synthetic fabrics (polyester), I throw the lint in the garbage.  

Note:  I have successfully dried many, many loads of laundry using these tricks.  I have found no indication of damage to the dryer or clothing, but I assume no responsibility if it doesn’t work out for you.  

tennis balls and safety pins in a cloth for faster and static-free drying
Machine Drying

Do you have any green laundry tips?  Please share in the comments!

Solid Tea Tree Oil Stick

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is exactly how my solid tea tree oil sticks came to be.  

Solid Tea Tree Oil Stick


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)

First, I am obsessed with tea tree oil (also called melaleuca).  To me, it is the miracle healer.  Note: I am not a doctor, and I am not attempting to make any medical claims. I am just reporting my subjective observations to how my body reacts to this product.  Cuts, scratches, anything that used to make me run for the neosporin, all make me run for my tea tree oil now.  I have issues with infections where my ears were pierced (that was about 22 years ago, and yes I still get infections).  Using neosporin, it would take weeks for the infection to clear.  I never knew if the neosporin actually even helped.  Now I used tea tree oil, and the infection is 100% GONE in 48 hours.  Every time.  Not to mention it is fantastic at drying out pimples.  Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.  It protects me from all the bad stuff.  Basically, I don’t leave home without my tea tree oil!

Necessity behind the invention

That brings me to the necessity driving this invention.  When I was packing for my weekend trip to Washington, DC, I found my tiny vial of tea tree oil in my travel bag.  Well, the vial was in a mini zip lock bag in my travel bag, because every time I fly the pressure change makes the tea tree oil leak all over the place.  I had tried cleaning the cap really well to try to get a better seal, but each flight it still leaked like crazy.  I ended up with a couple drops left in the vial, which was usually enough.  But I needed a better solution.  I went digging through my stash of essential oil bottles, and instead of finding another tiny vial, I found empty lip balm tubes.  The proverbial lightbulb went off in my head.  I needed a solid tea tree oil.  I quickly referenced the ratio of solid to liquid oils in my solid lotion bar recipe, and made up this solid lotion bar recipe.  

Solid tea tree oil stick ingredients

This recipe fills just under 3 standard size (0.15 oz or 5mL) tubes.

Ingredients

5 grams coconut oil

5 grams filtered beeswax

3-4 grams tea tree oil

3 lip balm tubes, or a small jar to store your solid tea tree oil

Supplies

Microwave safe container (I like my 3.5″ glass measuring bowls – $1 for 3 at Dollar Tree.  They look like these mini prep bowls.)

kitchen scale (I love this American Weigh Scales but I broke mine; I used this Escali scale today which is great but it isn’t as precise – it’s better for cooking than measuring essential oils)

stirrer (for this tiny batch, a toothpick worked great)

Optional: small funnel

Instructions
  1. Place your microwave safe container on your kitchen scale and tare it (so the starting weight is 0).
  2. Scoop 5 grams coconut oil into the microwave safe container.  Scoop or pour 5 grams beeswax into the container.  Microwave on high 45-75 seconds, or until the beeswax has fully melted.  Careful not to burn yourself on the glass jar, remove from the microwave, place on the kitchen scale, and stir.
  3. Pour 3-4 grams of tea tree oil into the beeswax-coconut mixture.  Stir well to uniformly distribute the oils. 
  4. Very carefully, pour the mixture into each of the lip balm tubes or other container of your choice.  
  5. Let the solid tea tree oil harden at room temperature.  My lip balm tubes were fully cooled and hardened in about 5 minutes (room temperature 68 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Step 2 – making solid tea tree oil sticks

Bulk Recipe

Update 10/11/2017: I made a bigger batch of this recipe, and wanted it share it for those of you who want to scale up and make more at once.

Makes 26 (0.15 oz / 5 mL) tubes

35 grams tea tree oil (a little less than 2 fl. oz.)

50 grams coconut oil

50 grams filtered beeswax

Prepare according to the above instructions.  For this larger batch, I recommend melting in a 1-cup or 2-cup measuring cup.


How I use my solid tea tree oil

I apply this solid tea tree oil to any scratches or cuts on my skin.  My earring posts get coated in the solid tea tree oil before I put the earrings in my ears.  I will try it next time I get a pimple and report on that – I am not sure if the comedogenic (pore-clogging) coconut oil (4 out of 5 on Beneficial Botanical’s comedogenic rating) and beeswax (2 out of 5 comedogenic rating) will counter the benefits of the tea tree oil.

Update 9/11/2017: For me, this solid tea tree oil stick works as well as pure tea tree oil at clearing up pimples.  Additionally, I have found that it works really well as an anti-itch stick.  I have no scientific reason why, but when I apply this over bug bites, hives from allergic reaction to pet scratches, and contact dermatitis from poison ivy, it helps reduce or eliminate the itch!  And as a bonus, the antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties that some researchers claim may keep that itchy part clean…in case I break the skin scratching that itch.

Solid Tea Tree Oil Sticks – finished product

As with any new product, I recommend that if you choose to try this recipe, test it on a small area of your skin and watch for a reaction before using it regularly. 

Studies indicate that each ingredient in this solid tea tree oil bar may have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.  (Here’s one article each, addressing tea tree oil, coconut oil, and beeswax.)  At the very least, this bar is 23% tea tree oil, with other natural ingredients that I know are safe to use on my skin.   

The best part – this will not leak with airplane pressure changes, and I don’t need to include this in my bag of liquids when I go through airport security!

Cost

Note:  Cost is based on making a batch of 3 tubes; and prices at the time the article was written, or the most recent time I purchased the item for items purchased from brick and mortar stores.  This information is provided to give you a rough estimate of cost. 

Tea Tree Oil – $16.49 for 2 fl oz on Amazon.  3 grams x (1 fl oz/27.2 grams) x ($16.49/2 fl oz) = $0.909

Coconut oil – $16.04 for 54oz at BJ’s wholesale club.  5 grams x (1oz/27.02 grams) x ($16.04/54oz) = $0.055 (also available on Amazon though a bit more pricey.  Still a good deal!)

Beeswax – $18.95 for 2 lb on Amazon.  5 grams x (1lb/453.592gram) x ($18.95/2lb)=$0.104

lip balm tube – $4.75 for 12 tubes on Amazon.  3 tubes x ($4.75/12 tubes) = $1.188

Total: $0.909 + $0.055 + $0.104 + $1.188 = $2.256 for 1 batch, or just over $0.75 per solid tea tree oil tube!

Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Do you have any travel hacks to make travel easier for you?