Giveaway and Review : Woolzies Dryer Balls

Green-Resolutions

I’m excited to host my very first Giveaway! I’ve teamed up with the Green Moms Network to be part of the Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop, which is hosted by Happy Mothering and Mama Chocolate. There are a ton of eco-friendly giveaways in the Hop, including more chances to win dryer balls.

And that’s what we’re here today to discuss – dryer balls. Specifically, Woolzies.

woolzies

As some of you might know, a few months back I made some DIY dryer balls. I made two different kinds – some from felted wool sweater scraps, and some from wool yarn. I wanted to make a few from batting and roving as well, but those materials proved to be either too difficult to find or more money than I was willing  to experiment with. So, I crafted my own dryer balls – 4 of them, to be exact. I had no idea what size to make them (the tutorials I read said “tennis ball sized” but I sure don’t play sports), and even tho my sweaters were pre-felted from making diaper covers out of them, the dryer balls shrunk *quite* a bit with 2 months of daily use. The yarn balls didn’t shrink as bad, but one of them has already unravelled on me (Boo!). They were all admittedly cheap (damn near free) to make, but it took a TON of time and effort. We’re talking about an hour or so per yarn ball, and about 4 hours per scrap ball because I tacked down the beginning and end of each scrap to make them more stable. Someone might be awesome enough to do these things quicker – but this was a project I did while actively nursing a baby.

What does all of that have to do with Woolzies? Well, those 4 DIY balls I made might’ve only cost me $3 in cash – but they also took in total about 10 hours of work, a few more hours of research and material gathering, and then one of them fell apart. If at the very least you considered my valuable time to be worth minimum wage, those 3 dryer balls I have left cost me $90 ($87 in labor hours + material costs). As I’ve grown older, wiser, and busier, I now appreciate the real value of time. Woolzies come in a pack of 6, with a retail value of $34.95. That boils down to a little under $6 each – which is less than an hour of minimum wage (and quicker than I could personally make one with scraps or yarn).

So, let’s talk about some practical reasons to switch to Woolzies dryer balls:

  • Dryer sheets are annoying to buy. Anything that eliminates the need to ask myself “Do we need more..?” in the grocery store is a good thing. With dryer balls, there’s no more purchase upkeep to occupy your mind – you got ’em at home. They are “guaranteed to last for 1,000 loads or your money back.”
  • Dryer sheets are clingy! Ever gotten all the way to work and have a co-worker peel a dryer sheet off your clothes? It’s embarrassing. Finding a dryer sheet randomly on the floor because it unclung from its mystery fabric host is annoying.  Sifting thru a basket of finished laundry to find that sheet before it’s forgotten is also annoying.
  • Dryer balls reduce your drying time. With my DIY 4, we found this to be untrue – but I suppose it took either more or larger ones to really work. 6 Woolzies get my prefolds dry in one cycle, which the 4 DIY’s could never do. The company says it shortens by 25%, but all I know from personal testing is that it DOES shorten the time. And this saves you money from running that dryer less.
  • Good for allergies and sensitive skin. It’s one way to avoid the chemicals and scents in softening sheets, and doesn’t bother people with wool allergies.
  • Good for Cloth Diapers. This is the reason that converted me – it both softens and lowers the dry time for diapers.
  • Woolzies are quieter than some DIY options. My scrap and yarn balls were crazy loud in the dryer – I feared they were going to damage it. I can still hear the Woolzies through the closed laundry room door, but it’s a soft tumbling, not an alarming clanking.

woolzies2

This contest will run through January 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm PST  (January 31, 2012 at 12:01 am EST). The winner will be chosen the  following day and announced here on Nephrendil. No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win. The sponsors provided me with free samples of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own and only formed by my personal experience with the product. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Nephrendil and not to Facebook.  Please note that Nephrendil, the Green Moms Network and the Green Resolutions event bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation that they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

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Review : Babydoo Cloth Diapers

So, after about half a year of entering various giveaways, I finally won something!! lol. Random number generators apparently hate me…  But, my luck held out until I won something very nice. I had the option to get either a fitted diaper or an AI2 Babydoo diaper, in my choice of fabrics. Since my love-hate relationship with wool covers has come pretty much to an end (more about that later), I opted for an AI2. This American WAHM diaper has been in daily rotation for approx. 2 weeks so far, and this is a review based on how it has performed for us during that time.

Little Man wearing a Babydoo AI2

Little Man wearing a Babydoo AI2

Overall Opinion: On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this diaper a 9. It’s a very good product, and worth the investment.

Fabric Options: The fabric choices for fitteds (or wipes or wetbags) were much larger, including many very cute prints. AI2 fabric options were somewhat smaller, but they consisted of 11 prints and I did have a hard time deciding between two of them (they were both adorable). The interior layer of either style of diaper is an organic bamboo and cotton velour blend. Both styles also have a hidden interior layer of organic bamboo and cotton fleece. Near as I can tell, you have no options for those – but it’s organic, absorbent, and super soft.

Fabric textures for comparison, left to right: (orange) Microfleece, (white) Microfiber, (purple) Minky, (cream) Babydoo’s Bamboo Velour

Size Options: This was the first time I had ever heard of “Extreme One Size” (EOS) – but it has a longer rise than a normal OS, and 4 rise settings instead of the normal 3. She also has OS and Newborn sizes, of course, and I opted for a standard OS.

Fit: Super snug! This is one of the only diapers in my stash that I can get both a tight waist fit and a tight leg fit. The elastic is nice and strong. There are some light red marks on baby’s legs but that’s probably a combination of his fair Irish/Swedish skin and me fastening the snaps as snug as possible.

Tight waist fit

  Tight waist fit

Overnight Use: Because this diaper fits Little Man so well, I wanted to use it for overnights. He sleeps anywhere from 9 to 12 hours at night, so finding cloth that can handle the duration without leaking is tricky. I’ve found the trick to be a blend of fit and absorbency. Since I already knew it fit him well, I tested out the soaker layer the AI2 comes with, not adding any extra layers to help it out. The snap-in soaker is made up of 6 layers total – then of course the body of the diaper has 2 more layers before you get to the outside PUL. All-in-all, the 8 layers of bamboo/cotton fabric were enough to stop any leaking for a 10 hour sleep (he woke up, so I’m not sure if it could have lasted a full 12). Of course, if LO starts having larger nightly needs, I can easily sneak a few more absorbent layers below or in-between the soaker. For now, though, it’s up to the task without any assistance.

Tight leg fit

Tight leg fit

Downsides: If I were to make any changes to this AI2, it would be:

  • Less Drying Time – Wow this takes a long time to dry! Almost twice as long as a regular ole pocket. So, I admit, I don’t line dry my diapers… everything goes into the dryer for one hour-long low heat cycle. With 4 dryer balls, this thing came out still wet enough to need a second cycle. It takes 10 dryer balls to get it (and my overnight hemp/bamboo inserts) dry in one shot. Now that we actually have 10 wool dryer balls, and we can get it dry in an hour, I’m happy. But, I can’t imagine how long this would need on a line.
Insert snaps in and is made of 2 flaps sewn at the top, to lessen drying time

Insert snaps in and is made of 2 flaps sewn at the top, to lessen drying time

  • Add Double Gussets – So hard to find. I wish all diapers came with them. Having sewn them myself, I know they’re a pain in the neck, but I think they’re worth it.

Summary: I’m glad to have this in my stash, especially since it has joined the ranks of overnight-approved diapers. It’s cute, very soft, fairly trim, and fits LO exactly the way I like. This particular diaper (OS AI2) does cost $22, but I think it’s totally worth it for a solid organic WAHM product.

Happy baby

Happy baby

Check It Out: You can find the Babydoo website here:

Babydoo

Or check her out on Facebook.

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