True, the single-use dryer sheet
is somewhat of a multipurpose household miracle worker — TV and mini-blind duster, pet hair remover
, chrome faucet buffer, musty drawer refresher, insect repeller and the list goes on. And, when used for its intended
purpose, a dryer sheet can render your clothing free of static cling, smelling like a Provençal lavender field, and more cuddle-worthy than a somewhat creepy, Micky Dolenz-voiced teddy bear named Snuggle. It’s also popular amongst college students for reasons I won’t get into here.
Given their disposable nature, dryer sheets are also incredibly wasteful and generally cannot be composted unless you opt for a “natural” alternative from a brand like Seventh Generation. In this case, non-woven polyester is swapped with unbleached paper and tallow (yes, tallow) is swapped for plant-based ingredients. And aside from wastefulness and rendered animal fats, there’s a host of petrochemical nasties and possible carcinogens found in conventional dryer sheets that would probably leave poor old Snuggle weeping Blue Sparkle-scented tears.
In fact, a quick look around the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning
Database shows that a majority of dryer sheets and fabric softeners — even some “green” varieties — scored abysmally with asthma and respiratory issues and skin allergies/irritation, with the active ingredients being a major concern.
Well, leave it to the folks at Method
to conjure up an inventive way to make a clean break from the dirty world of dryer sheets by introducing a product that is
a dryer sheet … just sans the sheet part. Dubbed Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener
, the product is just one of several notable new releases from the San Francisco-based company (recently acquired
by European green cleaning powerhouse Ecover, as you may recall) alongside dish/hand soap housed in bottles made from recovered oceanic trash
and biodegradable foaming hand washes in Orla Kiely-designed bottles
Essentially, Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener is a bottle — a fully recyclable bottle made from 100 percent recycled PET — filled with a super-concentrated, plant-based liquid solution that acts as both a fabric softener and static control agent. After transferring your clothes from washer to dryer, simply shake the bottle, spritz your wet heap of laundry with the hypoallergenic solution — four sprays, the equivalent of one dryer sheet, should do it for a medium-sized load of laundry — and let ‘er tumble. The heat of the dryer activates the formula and the tumbling disperses it evenly throughout the clothing.
One bottle of Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener should last for 100 loads of laundry. By Method’s estimates, if every dryer sheet-using household in American switched to the product, more than 10 billion dryer sheets would be prevented from entering landfills. Of course, in a perfect world, we'd stamp out dryer sheets by ditching energy-guzzling clothes dryers
I recently had the chance to test out Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener and it works as described. I normally use the aforementioned dryer sheets from Seventh Generation and found that the Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener outperformed that product in both the realms of fluffiness and fragrance.
That said, my freshly laundered bed linens, bath towels, and underpants may have smelled a touch too Fresh Air-y (the product is also available in a Lavender Lilac scent) for my tastes. But then again, I did get a bit overzealous when spritzing my clothing. I’ll go with the recommended four-sprays-for-a-medium-load next time. Also, the laundromat attendant gave me a quizzical look when he caught me spraying stuff into the dryer. It made me feel special. I wanted to cry out Adios dryer sheets! Instead, I sauntered over to the change machine and got three dollars in quarters.