Content of the material
- Here are reasons why they are really not a good idea
- Why People Started Using Dryer Sheets
- Why do dryer sheets clean so well?
- Reasons to Skip Dryer Sheets
- Dryer sheets can reduce absorbency
- Dryer sheets reduce wicking
- Dryer sheet coating can cause health-related problems
- How do I get grease off my stove top?
- Are there dryer sheet alternatives?
- Create Bug Repellent
- Freshen Luggage and Gym Bags
- What is the Purpose of Using Dryer sheets?
- Natural Dryer Sheets and Other Alternatives
- What are dryer sheets made of?
- Are Dryer Sheets Bad for Clothes?
- Reasons for Using Dryer Sheet Alternatives
- Are Dryer Sheets Toxic?
- Soften It Up
Here are reasons why they are really not a good idea
1. Dryer sheets are toxic for many people with most commercial brands being impregnated with harmful chemicals including benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, chloroform and linalool. These are bad for you, your family and the environment. Apart from some of these compounds being known carcinogens, they can also trigger asthma attacks. If you’re breathing in chemicals AND having them rub against your skin all day and every day, as well as all night from your bed linen, think about how much your skin and your system is absorbing. In fact at night, these toxins go straight to the brain’s most sensitive neurological centers and wreck havoc.
2. As well as the dryer sheets themselves being toxic, so are the synthetic fragrances in them. To hide the chemical smell in the dryer sheets, manufacturers load them full of chemical fragrances, which are also potentially carcinogenic.
3. Dryer sheets also make fabrics less absorbent and should not be used with towels and sheets as they coat the fabric. If you think your towels are not drying very well, wash them a few times in hot water (and no dryer sheets) and you will see the difference.
4. Dryer sheets are bad news for your dryer too. The waxy component in the dryer sheets is there to make the laundry soft and static free but it builds up on your clothes and on the lint screen of the dryer, preventing the dryer from functioning effectively and even burning out the heating unit in time or causing the dryer unit to catch fire – putting your home at risk from fire as well. You cannot SEE the film, but it’s there.
Why People Started Using Dryer Sheets
It’s no surprise that dryer sheets were born out of a desire for convenience, invented in 1969 by Conrad J. Gaiser to ease his wife’s household labor of running down flights of stairs to add liquid fabric softener to the final wash cycle.
Using dryer sheets today is incredibly simple:
- For small to medium loads, drop a new sheet onto the pile of sopping wet clothing, shut the dryer door, and start the drying cycle.
- For larger loads, two sheets may be necessary to coat all of the clothing with the fabric softener material evenly.
Why do dryer sheets clean so well?
In short, dryer sheets are used to create a guard against the buildup of static electricity during machine drying in most fabrics. They also work as fabric softeners, help in the resistance of future stains, prevent clothes from gathering lint and make ironing easier.
Reasons to Skip Dryer Sheets
Despite all of the cited benefits, not everyone is a fan of dryer sheets. There are certain instances that dryer sheets can hinder the drying of your loads, or even cause health problems. Let’s start with absorbency:
Dryer sheets can reduce absorbency
Skip the dryer sheets when drying towels or microfiber cloths, because the coating can give towels a slippery, greasy finish. The result is a towel or cloth that loses much of its absorbency. This counteracts a towel’s primary purpose – to absorb moisture on the body.
Dryer sheets reduce wicking
Similar to the way they counteract a towel’s absorbency, dryer sheets can adversely affect athletic clothing.
Athletic clothing items are tailor-made to wick away moisture from the body, so exposing them to the greasy coating on a dryer sheet will weaken their sweat-wicking capabilities. The same can also be said for diapers or anything else that is meant to absorb.
Dryer sheet coating can cause health-related problems
Some of the chemicals embedded in dryer sheet coating can latch onto clothing and be released into the air.
The environmentally-minded believe these ingredients can cause serious health issues. Such chemicals are very irritating to some and may cause upper- respiratory issues.
Those with sensitive skin or other skin issues find the ingredients can also cause skin rashes.
Personally, I first began using dryer balls (instead of dryer sheets) just because I was tired of buying dryer sheets regularly. However, I now have even more reason to avoid dryer sheets, because my wife has a skin condition that could be irritated by them.
Now, if you decide that you want to try doing your laundry without dryer sheets, then you’ll want to know about the alternatives in the next section.
How do I get grease off my stove top?
Run a damp rag over the greasy area, then sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the area. Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes. Scrub with a damp rag or scrubber sponge to remove burnt-on grease.
Are there dryer sheet alternatives?
Before incorporating dryer sheets into your routine, it’s important to note that they can sometimes cause allergy concerns in those family members that are sensitive to fragrances or dyes.
Dryer balls may be a good dryer sheet alternative for those with allergies, as they are most often made of natural wool and easy to find in an unscented form.
Create Bug Repellent
Some campers and outdoor enthusiasts swear by scented dryer sheets to keep insects away and research has proven it to be true. Some hikers rub the sheets on their skin, others tuck the sheets into the tops of socks or collars. Just choose a scent you like and see if you’re bug-free.
Freshen Luggage and Gym Bags
Before you put away your luggage after a trip, tuck in a dryer sheet to add a fresh scent and prevent musty odors. If your gym bag isn’t used too often, the same trick works there; but only if you remove any smelly workout clothes first.
What is the Purpose of Using Dryer sheets?
Dryer sheets are essentially fabric softeners in sheet form. To put it simply, they contain softening agents that are released when the dryer is turned on; as a result, your clothes will be coated in a thin layer. What does this do? This will soften them and make them more comfortable to wear. In a way, they’re like hair conditioners.
If you’ve ever dried your clothes with a dryer, you’ll know that static tends to build up (some materials are more prone to this than others). Dryer sheets can also be used to fix this problem. By adding them to the machine, the ions will be balanced out. How does this work? The fact is, these sheets contain positively charged particles; by neutralizing the negatively charged ions that are on your clothing, they will be able to balance out the static electricity. Ultimately, what this means is that you won’t have to worry about being shocked when taking your garments out of the dryer!
Natural Dryer Sheets and Other Alternatives
You’ve decided to get rid of your standard dryer sheets and try something else. But again, there’s a cornucopia of choices, including reusable sheets, fabric softeners, dryer balls and gentler detergents. Even a kitchen staple — vinegar — makes the list.
Before choosing which option is right for you, think first about what you’re trying to accomplish. Remember, dryer sheets offer three main advantages: eliminating static, softening clothes and adding a fragrance. If you want the first two but not the last, several companies already make fragrance-free dryer sheets aimed at people with allergies or other skin conditions.
If you want an eco-friendly option, some companies offer products labeled as "natural," but this could mean any variety of things. The government doesn’t regulate these claims, so there is no guarantee that these products are any different from others. Even natural products won’t satisfy everyone, though, and environmentally-conscious consumers might also object to disposable single-use dryer sheets and instead prefer a reusable option. Here are some popular choices:
The makers of dryer balls claim that these rubbery orbs not only soften clothes and stop static, but also reduce drying time. Balled-up aluminum foil and tennis balls have been suggested as frugal — albeit less-effective — alternatives.
Reusable sheets are often a piece of specially knitted polyester that has no or few chemicals or fragrances. Some stores also sell scented sachet bags, and you may find other reusable options.
You can create your own homemade sheets by soaking squares of cloth in fabric softener or even hair conditioner. However, these probably won’t work as well as commercial sheets.
Some people prefer to pour a bit of white vinegar onto their clothes during the washing machine’s rinse cycle. As with fabric softener, vinegar can soften clothes, and it has a mild anti-static effect. As a bonus, vinegar works well to get rid of mildew.
Whatever alternative you use to dryer sheets in the washer or dryer might work on your clothes, it likely won’t have as many interesting off-label uses as standard dryer sheets do. We cover some of the best in the next section.On the Line
If you don’t want to use dryer sheets but still want to add a fresh fragrance to your laundry, try adding a few drops of lavender or your favorite essential oil during the washer’s spin cycle or as you throw the clothes into the dryer. But take caution, because some oils can irritate the skin.
What are dryer sheets made of?
Dryer sheets are composed of liquid softeners, lubricants and fragrances coated on a layer of fabric, which is often made of polyester or cellulose fibers. When included in a load of laundry, the dryer heat works to warm and release these ingredients onto your fabrics.
Are Dryer Sheets Bad for Clothes?
There’s no doubt that dryer sheets are effective. Before adding them to the dryer, however, you want to consider the type of material that you’re dealing with. Why? Dryer sheets can potentially damage certain fabrics. For instance, you never want to use them with synthetic fibers.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Dryer Sheets for Synthetic Materials
Synthetic materials, which are often used in athletic apparel, are unique in that that are naturally moisture-wicking. What does this mean? This means that they are capable of pulling moisture such as perspiration away from the skin; it then evaporates from the surface. This allows wearers to stay dry during their workout.
If you add dryer sheets to a load of activewear, a layer of conditioner will be added to the fabric. As you can imagine, this will hinder its ability to wick moisture; sweat would not be able to reach the surface. As a result, sweat will be held on the inside—this would lead to the development of more odor. Not to mention that it would make the clothes more uncomfortable to wear.
Avoid Using Dryer Sheets for Microfiber Materials
Microfiber is known for attracting and locking in dirt and dust; it is also highly absorbent. Ultimately, this is due to the fact that it contains thousands of tiny fibers. While dryer sheets would help to reduce the static cling that often comes with these products, they would also render them useless. How? By depositing a layer of wax-like substance on the surface. With that, the fibers would no longer be able to attract dirt, nor would it be able to absorb liquids properly.
Do Not Use Dryer Sheets on Lingerie
It’s not uncommon for lingerie to rub against the skin. If dryer sheets were to be added, there would be an extra layer of chemicals on the fabric; over time, these chemicals can easily cause skin irritation. On top of that, softeners would stink up your garments by trapping in body oils, sweat, and odors.
Dryer Sheets Shouldn’t be Used on Sleepwear
Sleepwear is often designed to be flame-resistant, especially those for children. If dryer sheets are used, the material will lose this property. In some cases, the wax from the softener will make it even more flammable (there’s a reason why candles are made out of wax).
Do Not Use Dryer Sheets on Swimwear
Swimsuits naturally absorb very little water—that’s why they’re suited for the pool! If softeners are used, the material will instead, hold onto the water; this will prevent it from drying properly. Not only would this lead to an odor, but it would encourage mold growth as well!
Reasons for Using Dryer Sheet Alternatives
While using conventional dryer sheets is fine, there are many reasons why we recommend using dryer sheet alternatives.
- You save money: If you make anything yourself, you’re sure to be saving money. Dryer sheets are inexpensive, but making your own can save a few pennies.
- You choose the ingredients: If you find that dryer sheets cause you itchy skin, it might be because of the ingredients (1). When you make your own, you choose what goes in there.
- DIY dryer sheets are kinder on the skin: If you choose the ingredients, you can make sure that they’re kind on your sensitive skin.
- It’s eco-friendly: You can make reusable dryer sheet alternatives. If it’s eco-friendly and reusable, that keeps things green in your household. Store-bought dryer sheets are only single-use, which isn’t good for our planet.
- It’s simple: Some DIY recipes are a hassle, but not DIY dryer sheets. That’s why many people are now making their own.
- They might work better: Many recipes prove to be more effective than store-bought dryer sheets. It might take some trial and error, but you’ll get there!
Are Dryer Sheets Toxic?
This might surprise you, but yes — dryer sheets contain toxic ingredients. This is another reason why you should make your own!
Dryer sheets contain extremely high concentrations of harmful fragrance chemicals (2). They also contain quaternary ammonium compounds and acetone. Both these chemicals are responsible for causing asthma attacks, dizzy spells and headaches.
Making your own dryer sheets is definitely the way forward!
Soften It Up
With these dryer sheet alternatives, you’ll get super soft, lush clothes. They’ll help reduce static cling and lint build-up, too. Lastly, if you add some essential oils, you won’t believe how good your laundry smells!
So no matter whether you choose to make your own sheets, opt for wool dryer balls or simply do nothing, you’re saying goodbye to the toxic chemicals in conventional dryer sheets.