Ready for some real honesty? I pick up hair ties off the ground. Yep...
Officially grossed out? You're not the only one who has secretly (or not so secretly) been disgusted with me! You think of where that hair tie could have been and all you see are creepy lice, bacteria, and bodily fluids. I won't deny that picking up something off of the ground may come with risks, but let me lay out for you why used hair ties aren't so bad.
The benefits of picking up hair ties are primarily three fold:
You clean up your neighborhood/parking lot/gym.
You avoid buying another plastic item and making more trash.
You save money!
Once you start looking for them, you'll realize that hair ties are everywhere! I found one in the parking lot at work just yesterday! Gyms are also common places to find them lying around or even just on the side walk. Although hair ties aren't going to break the bank, the cost of replacing them over and over again does add up!
How dirty are they really?
When I think about all of the used clothing I purchase and all the people that have worn and touched them before me, I realize that wearing a hair tie off the ground isn't all that gross. Dirt, after all, is something we come in contact with every day. And if I'm worried about germs or critters, I have a protocol for that! I wash all of my second hand clothes before I wear them - so I wash my hair ties too!
Cleaning Hair Ties
Let me clarify. Before I actually use one of these hair ties that I have picked up off the street or the gym floor, I take them home and sanitize them. I have had lice twice in my life and definitely do not want to go through that again! So it is important to make sure you kill off any creepy, crawlies that might be sticking around (although remember the likelihood of that is very small).
Lice, specifically, are easily killed with a good old round of boiled water. So before I put those lovely bands in my hair, I heat up a pan of water and boil the hair ties. A good 10-20 minute boil is enough to neutralize any lice. If you want, feel free to add soap to the water and then rinse them off afterwards to remove any dirt. You can also toss your hair ties in your next load of wash and then place them in the dyer. The heat will also do away with anything left living on them.
If picking up hair ties off the ground is a stretch for you, consider some ways to avoid buying a whole new set at the store. Many families will have stashes of hair ties around from when their kids were growing up and might not have a need for them anymore. I reached out on my Buy Nothing Group and got a stack of beautiful hair ties from a neighbor of mine! I then sanitized them, as described above, and put them to work! No need to spend money and resources buying a product that somebody could just give to me.
Plastic Free Options
For some of you that might not be on board yet, plastic free hair ties are a real thing! I highly recommend Feeling Kooshoo's hair ties. At least if you buy those, you are supporting a sustainable company working to produce a plastic free product. Reusing is best! But investing in high-quality products made by sustainable companies is a close second!
Remember, traditional hair ties are made of plastic and should go in the trash if they break (or be repurposed of course!).