Monday, November 28, 2016

Eco Nuts and Dryer Balls

I don't usually write about cleaning products unless they're kitchen-specific. This one is a little further removed, but it's still about kitchen stuff. Specifically, my dish towels.

My dish towels, over the years, had become less and less absorbent. I'd try to wipe a dish or wipe off the counter, and the towel wouldn't soak up the wetness, it would just move it around. If I wanted to get a dish towel wet, I'd put it under the faucet and water would run off until I kind of worked it in. I'd grab a towel to wipe my hands and they wouldn't really get dry.

That's not how towels are supposed to work. Not.

I'd heard that the problem was that fabric softener coated fabrics and made them less absorbent, but I hadn't used fabric softener in years. You'd think that the detergent would wear away the softener coating eventually, right? And it seemed like my clothes weren't waterproof - which would have actually been useful.

I considered throwing out all my towels. Or burning them. Or donating them to an unsuspecting charity. But they weren't worn out or ugly. They just had a waxy buildup. Or something.

So anyway, I read up on this horrifying problem, and apparently it's quite common. I followed instructions to make them absorbent again. The one that seemed to work best was to first pre-soak the towels with a lot of vinegar in the water, and then run them through the wash cycle with baking soda in the washer. I might have actually done that a few times. I might have gone through a gallon of vinegar.

So, great. Now I have towels that act like towels. But how could I keep them from getting coated again?

And ... completely unrelated gripe ... my bath towels were scratchy rather than soft since I wasn't using softener. Could I make them soft without softener? Yeah, not exactly an earth-shaking problem, but if I was shaking up my washing routine, I figured I'd hope for the best.

That's where the Eco nuts and wool dryer balls came in. The Eco Nuts are a plant-based ... well, nut-like thing - that you put into a cloth bag (for easy retrieval) and put into the washing machine. The Eco Nuts have a naturally soapy substance in them.

The dryer balls are larger than tennis balls and are a little squishy, and they're made from wool. In the dryer, they bang around and make the clothes fluffy. I've used tennis balls when drying things like fluffy jackets, to keep the filling fluffed rather than matted or compacted. It really works. but it's noisy. The dryer balls are less noisy than tennis balls, probably because they're not as hard.

I like the drying balls a lot - I'm using them for all of my clothes. I just leave them in the dryer all the time, even if I'm using a softener.

I'm saving the eco-nuts for use on all of my towels - both kitchen towels and bath towels. So far, so good. It doesn't seem that the towels are returning to their previous non-absorbent state, and the dryer balls make them seem fluffier than before. I'm hoping that the towels will stay absorbent long term. It might take a few years to have a final-final result, so I figured I'd post this now, after a couple months of use.

If you're looking for more natural laundry methods, give these a look.

Who's it for: People who do laundry.

Pros: Natural product. No artificial scent. Dryer balls are better than tennis balls.

Cons: My dog tries to steal the dryer balls if they roll out of the dryer when I'm gathering the clothes. Then I spend 10 minutes looking for the missing one until I realize what happened to it. Go ahead, laugh.

Wishes: Erm ... it's laundry stuff. It's not like I have any wishes other than that the stuff is clean.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.

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