Ditch the Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener: Use Dryer Balls!

We used to use dryer sheets like they were going out of style. I liked how they left my clothes feeling soft and smelling great. Then I learned a bit more about them. In case you weren’t aware, as dryer sheets tumble around with your clean laundry in the dryer, they coat everything with what I can only describe as a chemical-filled film. This film helps to soften the laundry and leaves it smelling pretty.

But what’s in this “film”? The sheets themselves are coated in a fabric softening chemical and (usually) various fragrance chemicals. Some of these chemicals are toxic, and at the least, many of them are known allergens. Plus, dryer sheets aren’t even essential to our laundry. That means it’s just an added expense and exposure to something potentially toxic for no reason.

When we first ditched dryer sheets, I’ll admit my laundry struggled. I didn’t care about or even miss the nice fragrance, but we had some major issues with static. Plus, it was the dead of the winter when it was dry and cold–that didn’t help my cause. I headed to the internet to do some research on how to reduce static.

Reducing Static Cling

The first thing I discovered was that I needed to be air drying certain fabrics rather than letting them tumble around in the dryer. These particular fabrics are the biggest culprits for creating extra static. For us, that meant (and continues to mean of course) air drying fleece and polyester especially:

  • Fleece–blankets, pullovers
  • Polyester–mesh shorts, most other workout clothes, most of our polo shirts

When it’s nice outside (or when my indoor drying rack has the space), I also like to air dry much of our other laundry as well. It saves energy from running the dryer and helps clothing and other things to last longer.

I also read that dryer balls were an excellent way to reduce static AND reduce drying time! You can certainly make your own (do a quick Google search, and you’ll find directions everywhere), but I found these on Amazon and ordered them in a jiffy. Dryer balls are simple to use. I keep all six of them in the dryer and let them tumble with each load. They last for thousands of loads and contain no toxic chemicals!

Some folks recommend adding a few drops of essential oil to each ball before each load if you like a fragrance boost out of your dryer. Personally, I’ve found the fragrance to be faint, so I don’t bother. However, if you want to freshen your sheets before making your bed, for example, 3-4 drops of lavender on each ball is nice.

Fabric Softening

The other thing you might be wondering about is how to soften your fabric without dryer sheets. Sure, you could go to the store and buy liquid fabric softener for your washing machine, but then, that would defeat the whole purpose of ditching the dryer sheets, right? Well, I have a solution for you!

A simple, nontoxic alternative to fabric softener is distilled white vinegar! It’s inexpensive (especially when you buy it in the huge jugs at Costco like I do), and it works great. And I promise it won’t leave your laundry smelling like vinegar. I keep a quart-size glass bottle (originally a Heinz vinegar bottle) in our laundry room and refill it as needed. I find it easier to pour from than the big gallon+ jug.

To each quart, I also add 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil (optional). You’ll want to shake it gently before each use, as the essential oil will separate from the vinegar. Simply add it to your fabric softener compartment before each wash, and your laundry will be softened–just like that. As an added bonus, vinegar is a great stain and odor remover, so you’ll get a nice boost with each load on that front as well.

Oh, and if you’re looking to remove even more toxic chemicals from your laundry room, check out my post on homemade laundry soap! You’ll not only be happy with the natural ingredients, but your pocket book will thank you as well!

Dryer Balls.png

all-natural, homemade fabric freshener


With four furry pets in the house, we used Febreze a lot. I mean…a lot. Unfortunately, those store-bought fabric fresheners are quite expensive, and they have lots of chemicals and artificial ingredients in them (which are then being sprayed all over your carpet, furniture, and clothes!). Plus, how do you bottle “meadows” and “fresh linen”? This homemade version is all-natural, easy to make, and inexpensive!

I made it in a 4-oz glass spray bottle, but you can certainly make a larger batch and put it into a bigger bottle. Not sure where to buy the bottle? Check here.


  • 2 tbsp vodka (feel free to use the cheap stuff!)
  • 10 drops essential oils of choice (I use 5 lemon and 5 wild orange)
  • filtered water (I use RO)

Make It:

  1. Add vodka and essential oils to bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the way with filtered water.
  3. Shake.

Be sure to shake gently before each use, as the ingredients will separate. Use this on your carpet, your clothes, your furniture, and any other fabrics in need of refreshing! Oh and in case you’re wondering, the vodka is used to help the water dissipate when spraying.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe: 15 cents per ounce
  • Febreze at Walmart: 18 cents per ounce

storage containers for homemade products

Because pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are so potent, it’s recommended that you store your homemade products in glass containers rather than plastic. Many people even prefer to store in cobalt (dark blue) or amber glass containers to keep out the light. Depending how fast you’ll be using the product and where it will be stored when not in use, that’s a great option. My general rule of thumb is if you’ll be using the product within three months and you can store it in a cool, dark place when not in use, clear glass is perfectly ok for storage. Steel cans are also a good option.

Most health markets will carry the storage containers you’ll need for the recipes on this site. Since I make quite a bit, I buy the containers on Amazon. I’ve provided links below to the containers I use for your convenience. Since I’m a Prime member, all of the items are Prime eligible, which means you’ll get free two-day shipping if you’re a Prime member too! Purchasing through the links I’ve provided doesn’t affect your price at all, but it does help me! I have an affiliate partnership with Amazon, so I get a small commission whenever you purchase through the links. That commission helps me fund this site, so thank you for your support!

Roller Bottles

Spray Bottles

Pump Bottles

Storage Jars

Other Products

homemade, all-natural mold & mildew cleaner


I came to a horrible realization the other day (one I’m quite embarrassed to even tell you about). For the sake of helping others, though, I’ll tell my story. After a winter of running a humidifier in my son’s room and not paying too much attention the window, we’d created a black mold monster. All around the trim, black mold was growing right there under our noses.

Our son had developed a morning cough. It reminded me of seasonal allergies–a few minutes of coughing first thing in the morning and then little to no coughing the rest of the day. At first we thought it was a cold, but he didn’t have any other cold symptoms, and it only happened in the morning. Then we thought it was allergies. Allergy medicine did seem to help, but then I wondered: wouldn’t allergies bother him all day? Then my husband saw the mold. We were horrified. I hated the idea of using a chemical cleaner on it, so I got out my doTERRA Essential Oil Usage Guide, and I did some research.

This is a simple recipe, and it works well! You’ll need a 4-ounce glass spray bottle. Not sure where to get one? Check here.


To make it, simply put the water and essential oil into your bottle, and shake. Spray the affected area, and wipe clean with a warm, wet rag. Spray again, and wipe clean again.

homemade dishwasher detergent tabs


Wow! These were easy to make, and they work! Scrap those expensive dishwasher detergent tabs, and make your own!


  • 3/4 cups washing soda (find it by the laundry stain & odor removers)
  • 3/4 cups Borax (find it by the laundry stain & odor removers)
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (find it in the canning aisle)
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 10-15 drops lemon essential oil

Make Them:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Slowly stir in vinegar.
  3. Add essential oils.
  4. Press into ice cube trays or molds. I found full-size cubes in an ice cube tray were much bigger than necessary (especially since we have a water softener), so filling halfway is perfect.
  5. Allow to dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
  6. Pop out of trays or molds and transfer to an airtight container to store. Store in a cool, dark place.
  7. Yield: approx. 32 half-ice cube tabs (two ice cube trays)

Use Them:

  • Tabs don’t have to be placed in the detergent compartment. If your dishwasher has a special location for tabs, use that. Otherwise, you can just toss one on the bottom of the tub.
  • For rinse agent, I use distilled white vinegar with lemon essential oil – 20 drops oil per quart of vinegar. Shake before filling compartment.
  • These tabs are also multi-purpose!
    • Drop one in your garbage disposal, run hot water, and let the disposal run for 30 seconds to a minute.
    • Toss one on the bottom of your dishwasher tub, and run an empty hot cycle with sanitize (if your dishwasher has that option) to clean your dishwasher tub and lines.
  • Have an extra-greasy load? Hard water? If you answered yes to either (or both!) of those things, add just a couple (no more than three) drops of regular dish soap to your dishwasher when you run a load.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe = 5 cents per load
  • Finish tabs at Walmart = 17 cents per load

all-natural, all-purpose cleaner


Household cleaners are expensive and full of chemicals and harsh, artificial ingredients. This simple recipe is a great cleaner for all surfaces from your kitchen to your bathroom! And, it’s easy to make and inexpensive!


Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle. You can re-purpose an old bottle or buy an empty one at the store.
  2. Shake gently to combine.
  3. Shake gently before each use.

That’s it! Simply spray it on the surface to be cleaned, and wipe clean with a warm rag. For stickier, messier messes, allow to sit for a few minutes before wiping.

12 things you’re not cleaning often enough

I am by no means a clean freak or crazy about germs. That said, though, I try to keep things somewhat clean (not my house, of course!) and change and wash them as needed. Here’s my recommended schedule for those things often forgotten:

Wash/Change Every 3 Uses:

  • Pajamas
  • Bath towels and wash cloths (I also pull the hand towels at the same time)
  • Bras

Wash/Change Once per Week:

  • Bed sheets
  • Kitchen towels and dish rags
  • Pet bedding
  • Garbage disposal

Wash/Change Once Per Month:

  • Bedding – blankets, comforters, quilts, etc.
  • Coffee pot – run white distilled vinegar through, then run water through
  • Humidifier filters (I also rinse them at least once between changes)
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine