All About Wool Dryer Balls
Why Pink Elephant Dryer Balls? Why not get them cheaper from another online retailer?
You might find them cheaper. But you won't find them better. Learn why our dryer balls are different, how they work, and where they come from!
Our dryer balls are made in the United States on a small farm in North Carolina. The balls are felted from 100% wool from the United States. No chemicals, no dyes...just natural, humanely raised wool. From the farmer: "We proudly reach out to our community, working with folks trying to make ends meet. We have stay at home moms wanting to contribute to the family budget, some in between jobs, others that have had tragic circumstances. Regardless of why, we've grown to a wonderful cottage industry of folks making each ball by hand, with love and care." By purchasing these dryer balls, you are supporting US wool farmers. Although the wool industry in the USA is small in comparison, it is mighty. U.S. wool farmers raise healthy sheep that produce beautiful, healthy wool- they are committed to the sheep and to US sheep farmers!
Most dryer balls sold online, even with claims to be made from "New Zealand wool", are constructed in impoverished nations with few safety regulations. Online retailers can purchase such dryer balls at a deep discount from Alibaba, package them up with claims of being made from 'New Zealand wool', and sell them for many, many times their cost. The seller, and thus the buyer, may have no idea about the factory's practices: worker safety, fair pay, the solvents used in wool processing, etc. I've been contacted on the regular (in my spam folder - it's getting annoying) from many Chinese companies assuring me they can sell me wool dryer balls at a deeply discounted price.
Food for thought: Who needs our support more: Alibaba and Amazon, or the American farmer?
So, what exactly do dryer balls do? They're an energy-saving alternative to dryer sheets. They naturally fluff and soften clothes without the use of unwanted harmful chemicals contained in dryer sheets. Wool Dryer Balls can also reduce your dry time by 30%, saving you time and money. As an added
bonus, they reduce static and wrinkles! Within a few short months your dryer balls will pay for themselves. Basically, they do exactly what fabric softener sheets do, but better, safer, and more economically.
So, what's the problem with conventional dryer sheets and fabric softeners?
Dryer sheets are small pieces of non-woven synthetic fabrics coated with a solution of a quaternary ammonium salt or a silicone oil based fabric softener. The heat of the dryer softens the fabric softener and allows the coating to transfer to fabrics. It is this coating that makes clothes feel softer to the touch.
The coating that is left on clothes is not ideal for all fabrics. Children's sleepwear is required by law to be flame-resistant (we'll save the toxicity of flame retardants in children's pjs for another blog post!) The coating left by dryer sheets will make pajamas and nightgowns MORE flammable. The coating also reduces the water-absorbancy of cotton and microfiber towels and reduces the moisture-wicking action of synthetic fiber athletic wear.
The use of fabric softener dryer sheets won't permanently damage your dryer but they may effect its operating efficiency. And, when efficiency is reduced, your utility bills get higher.
Just as the dryer sheets leave a residue on your clothing that makes the fabric feel softer, they also leave residue in your dryer. This residue may clog the screen of the lint filter and reduce air circulation. Good circulation is essential to getting clothes dried properly and helps prevent overheating which can lead to fires.
Almost all dryers - both electric and gas-powered - have a cycle that promises to prevent overdrying of clothes by detecting moisture levels and turning off the cycle when the load is dry. The cycle operates using an electronic moisture sensor that is embedded in the dryer drum.
Dryer sheets can cause the electronic moisture sensor to become coated with chemical residue. The coating will prevent the sensor from working correctly and cause your clothing to overdry (and increase your utility costs).
And we haven't even gotten to the chemicals present in dryer sheets. If you’re concerned about the health and safety of your family members, stay away from conventional dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners. Both products contain chemicals known to be toxic to people after sustained exposure. According to the health and wellness website Sixwise.com (http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/02/08/the_toxic_danger_of_fabric_softener_and_dryer_sheets.htm), some of the most harmful ingredients in conventional fabric softeners include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others. Since fabric softeners are designed to stay in your clothes for extended periods of time, such chemicals can seep out gradually and be inhaled or absorbed directly through the skin.
Why is it important that I know where the wool comes from?
The use of pesticides is an issue in the production of wool, and poor management of the chemicals used to control parasite infection have led to incidences of water pollution and direct harm to the health of farmers. Highly toxic organophosphates have been linked to nerve damage in humans, and were used until recently in the U.K to treat sheep scab. The replacement dips, using pyrethoids have also been suspended from sale, because they were found to be 1000 times more toxic to aquatic life than organophosphates, and linked to increase in water pollution.
After the sheep are sheared, the fleece needs wet cleaning with hot water to emulsify the wool grease, and the resulting sludge disposal is a potential pollutant. Often harsh toxic chemicals are used to clean the wool as well as bleaching agents to whiten the wool during and after scouring.
Organic sheep are reared, fed, sheltered and transported with consideration for their wellbeing. Cruel practices are prohibited and animal stress is minimized. Organic farmers take a preventative approach to disease, so the animals are not routinely treated with antibiotics, wormers or pesticides. Organic animals are reared on organic feed and grazed on organic land, and are free to pursue their natural behavior with plenty of space to roam. Organic standards ensure that the chemicals used in processing textiles meet strict requirements on toxicity and biodegradability, and that the textile manufacturers also have a waste water treatment plant and a sound environmental policy.
Okay, I'm on board! Where can I get Pink Elephant Wool Dryer balls?
You can purchase our dryer balls, and our other non-toxic laundry and household cleaning products, online at https://www.pinkelephantproducts.com/home-care-cleaning-products
They're also available at any of our vendor shows or farmers markets, as well as at Emerge, the new pop-up retail shop at Twelve Oaks Mall. Follow us on Facebook to get the latest information on where to find us! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions - I'd love to hear from EWE!