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When I come home from a long trip, I’m usually so exhausted that I drop my suitcase right on my bedroom floor. It remains in the corner for a few days, growing increasingly more daunting as each day goes by. Once I finally muster up the courage to dig through the mound, sort into piles, and do my laundry, I inevitably find that I am out of dryer sheets.

So here’s what I did last weekend after returning from a trip to Ohio to see my family for Thanksgiving…

Rather than face the harsh winter cold to buy dryer sheets… I went online and read about a dryer sheet alternative.  Turns out, you can use aluminum foil.  Just make a ball out of it and throw it in with your load of laundry in the dryer.

I have to admit, it was a bit scary to do for the first time. I’ve always been taught to keep metal out of the microwave, and was wary of putting a small ball of foil in with my favorite shirts, for fear of them bursting into flames. But, I found that it works surprisingly well and is not only safe for your clothing, but it also has a lot of other benefits.

Here are a few tips and additional benefits of aluminum foil dryer balls:

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil works best
  • Make your foil balls about 3” to 4” big, and each week add a fresh sheet of aluminum to the outside of the ball to ensure its effectiveness
  • They help reduce static
  • The foil balls become heavier over time (since you’re adding sheets over time), this helps fluff up the clothes and reduce wrinkles
  • They’re green! They don’t contain as many harsh chemicals as some dryer sheets and fabric softeners do, so they’re better for the environment
  • They’re a great replacement for dryer sheets if you are allergic to any of the chemicals found in dryer sheets

After I told Lori about this tip, she packed a piece of aluminum foil in her suitcase this past weekend to see if it works outside the dryer.  Sure enough, when she arrived at her destination and went to take her jacket off, it was full of static.  She took out her aluminum foil, rubbed the jacket down and left the ball inside the jacket sleeve.  When she returned, no static.

Happy Travels!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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