What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

24 February 2012

Bounce Dryer Bars

Quite some time ago, BlogHer had an offer for free samples of Bounce Dryer Bars, with a review of the product appreciated, but not required. I got excited and registered, thinking I would wait until the first one ran out before reviewing it, since there was no timetable attached.

First, some background: I normally use dryer sheets, and since a whole sheet tends to come out with some of the stiffness/fragrance still in it, I generally cut them in half. I do about two loads of laundry a week, so a box of 100 Snuggle sheets would normally last me about 100 weeks, or-- to be very much to the point-- two years.

The new bar.
Bounce Dryer Bars come in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 6-month sizes. I received a 4-month size for the promotion, and while I can't pin down the exact time I got the bar, I'm almost certain it was more than four months ago. It lived up to its expected life span.

The Good:
Installation: Was very easy. I followed the directions, and have had no problems.
Use: Required no additional effort from me, apart from explaining to our guests that they didn't need to use dryer sheets. I've been entirely satisfied with the fabric softening and the nice scent.
Environmental factors: The holder attached to the inside of the dryer is reusable, and Bounce sells refill bars, so I need not buy an entire new set every time.

The worn-out bar. I probably
could have gotten another use
or two out of it.
The Bad:
Removal: Was a bit tricky. I followed the directions again, but I think the bar had melted a bit to the holder, so it took a bit of pressing for it to come off. In the course of pressing on it, I managed to move the entire dryer. The old bar was serious about staying in the holder. However, it came out in the end.
Environmental factors: It comes with a lot of non-recyclable packing. The refill that I bought has a lot less packing than the starter package did, but it still had to go in the rubbish, as did the old bar.

The Ugly:
Price: I can't find my receipt, so I did a quick shopping search on Google. Bounce bars are $7 for a 4-month refill bar online (I'm sure it was a couple of dollars cheaper in Target), while a box of 80 Snuggle sheets is $4. One quick calculation later and I get $.05 per week for the Snuggle sheets, as compared to $.38 per week for the Bounce bars.

Everything I threw away for this
So, back to the environment thing for a second (this is green Friday, after all!). If I saved all the dryer sheets I normally use over four months, they would probably add up to at least as much rubbish as the bars produce, if not more. (Although I do get a reuse out of my dryer sheets; I use them as dust rags on non-wooden surfaces before tossing them.) A bottle of liquid softener definitely comes out ahead in the rubbish department, since the package it comes in is recyclable. Plus, some brands have smaller refill cartons, so you don't have to toss the bottle after each use. However, the cheapest Snuggle liquid I can find online is $4 for 26 loads, which is about three months in this house. It's a slightly better deal than the Bounce bar, but more work. Your mileage may vary.

Now, if you're really into cutting back on packaging and chemical use in your home, The Damsel in Dis Dress has a very nice post about how to make your own liquid softener, with a link to a post on how to make dryer sheets. I may try one of those next, but it will be awhile, because a have a 4-month Bounce bar and 1/2 of a 200-sheet box of Snuggle sheets to get through first.

Have you tried dryer bars? Do you like them? Or do you have another fabric-softening secret to share?


Elizabeth Towns said...

I use the bounce dryer bars. I haven't had any problem getting them out when they are all the way used, probably because I don't remove them until they are COMPLETELY empty. I start using dryer sheets when the bounce bar is at it's lowers, for about a week. Then when I can see only the plastic of the bar, I detach it and it comes out easily with no gunk in it.

The pros for me are that I don't have a lot of dryer sheets to throw away - that drives me crazy. I don't really get a lot of reuse out of them. My kids create enough laundry that we are doing at least a load a day, or two loads every other day. It's a wonderful solution for me.

erica and christy said...

first, thanks for visiting us occasionally even though i never visit anyone anymore. thanks also for the info on hyphens!

second, i'm signed up for the cellcom (half marathon) in green bay, wisconsin (i live about 30 miles south). usually we get to do a lap around lambeau field at the end, but not this year due to construction.

third, i haven't used drier sheets for years since my dad told me he'd read an article that said they cause cancer.

i miss my soft clothing.


Su said...

@Elizabeth: Good to know! I will definitely wait longer on this next one, then.

@Christy: Wow, so many things to comment on! You're welcome, Brilliant!!, and Uh-oh. Now I must investigate.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've enjoyed your blog. :) Me & Dryer Sheets? Gotta say I don't use them.
(Though maybe I should)

Su said...

I'm just so addicted to my clothes smelling fabric-softened... my grandma started it! ;)

Jennifer Fischetto said...

I've used two dryer bars. The first one I bought a year ago, so the two have lasted about a year. The second one has another load before it's completely gone. I like the convenience of them. I am NOT a fabric softener fan in general. I hate the waxy, fake feeling my clothes have after using the liquid stuff. And anything that takes away the flame retardent substance in infants pajamas doesn't sit well with me. lol

Su said...

Ah! Yes! That's why I stopped using the liquid. I knew there was a reason... (the waxy thing, not the infants' clothes, since we don't have any of those)

Karen Peterson said...

I'm a fan of fabric softener, but I do like that dryer sheets are cheaper. I know I should worry about the environmental impact, but my wallet is a more immediate concern when I'm at the store.

Su said...

Yep, me too. The green thing is secondary. But, that's one of the reasons I do these posts... so I can explore for myself if people can do cheap AND green.