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 altogether.
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.
The only drawback for me, personally, is that dryer sheets are a heck of a lot easier to transport to the laundromat since I just shove ‘em into the back pockets of my jeans. A bottle of Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener is just another thing to haul down the block along with 20 pounds of dirty clothes. However, compared to conventional liquid fabric softeners, the bottle is quite petite thanks to the concentrated formula. So for those accustomed to lugging one of those around whether at home or to a laundromat, the relatively tiny footprint of Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener will be most welcomed. One complaint that I’ve heard is with broken spray pumps, but I did not encounter that problem during my first round o’ laundry with the product.
With its “Ditch the Dryer Sheet” campaign and curious nature, Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener may be another newfangled laundry room novelty, but it does work and quite nicely. I’m a fan — just not quite the like the dude in the above video.
Method Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener retails for $7.49 and can be purchased directly through Method or at various retailers.
Disclaimer: Method sent along a bottle of Dryer-Activated Fabric Softener for review. The company did not supply magical rainbows or a bearded weirdo.
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