Dogs and cats shed. A lot. That pet hair can get all over the house — on rugs, on bedsheets and on clothes. It sticks to fabrics and won't go away. How maddening to find it on the clean clothes from the dryer. What's a person to do?
Dear Mary: I am one of your millions of fans. Your insight, tips, products and recipes are terrific. Thank you for your time and efforts! I'm looking for something I can purchase or make myself to put into the dryer to extract dog hairs from fabric. Years ago, I purchased a kind of fabric ball, which looked ordinary enough and worked great. Since then, I've never seen anything like this. I'm desperate! Thanks. — Anita
Dear Anita: I'm pretty sure you're talking about a Dryer Maid Ball that promises to automatically remove pet hair from clothes while in the dryer and send it to the lint trap while also softening clothes and decreasing wrinkles.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not tested this product myself because I do not have a pet. However, the customer reviews are positive from those who use this product to extract all that pet hair.
What I have tested and love are wool dryer balls. These dryer balls soften and reduce static without fragrance or chemicals — and I have noticed that they pick up stray human hair that finds its way into the dryer.
Here's another idea worth your consideration: Before you throw your laundry in the washing machine, run the clothes through a 10-minute dryer cycle on tumble with no heat. This softens the fabrics and loosens the pet hair, which will be caught by the dryer's lint trap. Then shake the clothes to get as many pet hairs out as possible, and toss them in the washer. When you're done, clean your dryer's lint trap so it's hair-free when your load comes out of the wash.
When you give these options a try, be sure to give us your review. I'm sure yours is a common problem within our big (and growing) Everyday Cheapskate family.
Dear Mary: I am the recipient of some gently used bedsheets. They came with the odor of a detergent to which I am allergic and also a dryer-sheet odor. I have washed them several times in my own fragrance-free detergent, but the odor still remains. Will Nok-Out take out the detergent odor? If so, how much Nok-Out should I use in a wash load? — Louise
Dear Louise: This buildup of fragrance and laundry products can be tough to deal with. Manufacturers of many cleaning and softening products have trained consumers to equate fragrance with "clean," but that odor is certainly offensive to some of us and is yet another source of chemicals entering our lives and bodies. I am confident that the amazing Nok-Out can take care of those odors that can be so offensive. Nok-Out is toxic-free, fragrance-free and safe for all, including pets and children.
In general, add 8 ounces (1 cup) of Nok-Out to your washer load. If you have a top-loader, set it to use the minimum amount of water. Fill the tub first. Add the Nok-Out, and mix it up a bit, and then add the sheets, making sure every part is fully saturated.
Allow the machine to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then complete the cycle without adding detergent. Dry as usual.
For a front-loader, use the same amount of Nok-Out in a prewash soak. If possible, pause the cycle during the soak phase for about 15 to 20 minutes. Restart, and complete the cycle as normal.
Another option would be to go low-tech. Use a washtub, deep sink or bucket. Put the minimum amount of water needed to saturate the linens completely. Add 1 cup of Nok-Out, full strength. Add the sheets, and make sure all of the fabric gets fully immersed and saturated, and then allow to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Follow this by throwing the sheets into a spin cycle (no need to rinse), and then dry them normally.
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
Photo credit: No-longer-here at Pixabay