Dryer sheets are one of the essential elements in the entire laundry process. These sheets help reduce static and deposit scent, adding a final touch of softness and freshness to your clothes. In addition, the dryer sheet can eliminate or neutralize the effect of static in many fabrics.
Dryer sheets are relatively cheap, and getting this commodity can be easy breezy. But of course, they have some shortcomings. Avoiding recurrent use of dryer sheets has some benefits ultimately. On top of that, there are other reasons why you should stop using dryer sheets, for example, reducing the waste you produce.
This article will dig deep into various aspects concerning dryer sheets, such as their purposes, alternatives of dryer sheets, and whether they’re necessary. But before that, let’s see if you need dryer sheets, to begin with.
Do You Need Dryer Sheets?
No, you don’t need dryer sheets. Though they have some benefits, dryer sheets are well-known for containing harmful chemicals that can cause illness in humans. For this reason, many people avoid using them.
Later in this article, I’ll walk you through some alternatives that you can take advantage of. Heck, they will give you almost the same results you would have got with dryer sheets.
However, it’s ok to do your laundry without adding any fabric softener. Your clothes and linen will be clean but will lack the benefits that come with the fabric softeners—softness and sweet-scent.
Dryer Sheets vs. Fabric Softener—What’s the Difference?
Dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners have the same purpose of reducing the static electricity in the fabrics, thereby preventing the clothes from sticking to each other during the drying cycle.
But what’s the difference that lies between the two? While dryer sheets are directly added to the dryers with clothes, liquid fabric softeners are usually added to a small chamber in the washer to be released during the washing cycle.
Besides reducing static in the fabrics, both dryer sheets and fabric softeners are reputable for adding a pleasing scent to clothes and linen. Unfortunately, many people buy fabric softener to have a good fragrance on their clothes, not realizing that their primary purpose is to reduce static.
Another difference between the two is how your clothes take them in. The liquid softeners infiltrate the fabric. This usually results in softer clothes but can also cause staining.
On the other hand, dryer sheets coat your cloth when heating. This has the same result but is often less effective than the liquid fabric softener. Some people use dryer sheets and fabric softeners together, which is unnecessary since they serve the same purpose.
Purpose of Dryer Sheets
1. Removing Soap Scum
You can use a dryer sheet to clean off soap scums on your shower doors, bathroom tiles, or any other place. To use the dryer sheet, slightly wet it and scrap the surfaces you need to clean. They’re more effective than the commonly used heavy-duty spray bleaching agents.
2. Loosening Food Residue
Dryer sheets can be used to remove stuck food residue and irritating spots that are found on utensils. Follow this procedure for proper cleaning:
- Place your dryer sheet at the center of the pan
- Add warm water and add some soap
- Leave it for one hour
- Remove the dryer sheets from the pans
- Drain the water
- Wipe off the stains with a sponge
3. Picking Up Pet Hair
Some of your lovely pets experience hair-dropping problems at least once in a while. In addition, the sight of hair remaining on your sofas, carpets, clothing, and so on can be annoying.
Dryer sheets are the best remedy for this. So rub a new dryer sheet against the surfaces you want to clean. The hair remains will stick on the sheets leaving your surfaces looking great again.
Besides, dryer sheets are the best remedy for pet hair—it’s more effective than the lint rollers and saves you money.
4. Shines Your Screen
Television and computer screens attract dust particles since they are electronically charged. However, you need not stress yourself because dryer sheets can reduce static cling. Therefore, dryer sheets can remove the specks of dust and neutralize their charges to prevent them from resettling.
5. Used to Clean Windshield and Bumper
Your car does not need a hose-down wash at the auto-wash all the time you need to clean it. That said, some issues such as dirty windshields and bumpers have quick home remedies.
If you only need to clean the windshields and bumpers, gently run a dryer sheet along with these parts—it’s fast and easy.
6. Removing Melted Wax Off Hard Surfaces
Dryer sheets can bring a new life to your candlesticks or any other hard surfaces that have melted wax stuck on them. Soak the candlestick in a bucket or sink with hot water and a dryer sheet for an hour, and then use the dryer sheet to wipe off the melted wax.
7. Removing Deodorant Marks
Deodorant marks (sweat marks) on clothes can hurt your confidence, especially in social gatherings. Dryer sheets come in handy as a solution to the deodorant marks on your clothes. To remove these marks, dab unscented dryer sheets on the marks until they’re gone.
8. Sharpening Your Scissors
Gently running a dryer sheet against a blunt blade can restore some of its sharpness. Although this method is a temporary solution, it can help you when you’re in dire straits—meeting deadlines and things of the sort.
9. Taming of the Do
Besides all its laundry and hygiene purposes, dryer sheets can be used for beauty purposes—flyaway remedy. By running a dryer sheet from the front to the tip of your hair, you’ll be solving problems caused by frizz and static.
What Happens if You Don’t Use Dryer Sheets?
While the dryer sheets give your clothes some benefits that you may find hard to do without, your clothes will be excellent if you decide not to use them anymore.
Reducing or eliminating the use of dryer sheets can cut down on your expenses or, better yet, protect you from potentially harmful chemicals.
Can You Skip Using Dryer Sheets?
Even though dryer sheets give your towels a soft touch, they significantly reduce the towel’s absorbency levels. This reason is enough to make you avoid using dryer sheets on such materials.
Additionally, dryer sheets reduce the development of static electricity, resist future stains, making ironing easy and make your clothes smell fresh.
Dryer sheets can be used for non-laundry purposes, such as dusting screens, freshening up drawers, and luggage.
However, dryer sheets are not needed in all wash loads. One of their shortcomings is that they reduce the absorption properties of clothes and linen—the reason why it’s advisable to avoid dryer sheets while cleaning wicking sportswear.
What’s more worrying is that the dryer sheet damages your dryer machine is used for some time. Just as the dryer sheet leaves residue on the clothing, they also leave some on your dryer—the residue that can reduce circulation and clog the screen of the lint filter. It’s therefore essential to empty the lint filter after every load of clothes.
If you use the dryer sheet frequently, clean the lint filter at least once a month. Use a fine brush and warm water mixed with a small amount of dish detergent, rinse it well and let it air dry before returning the lint filter.
When Not to Use Dryer Sheets
As mentioned earlier, dryer sheets come with benefits such as reducing wrinkles, softening clothes, and removing static. However, they achieve this by overlaying the clothing in a waxy substance. Plus, they contain harmful chemicals (this makes it a bad idea to use them)
It’s also advisable not to use dryer sheets while drying towels. When the dryer sheet is heated, the chemical substance in it melts and is transferred to your clothes. The chemical substance reduces the absorbency levels of your towel.
Since the primary purpose is to absorb liquid, using dryer sheets is not a good idea. Dryers should also not be used when drying fire-resistant clothes as the chemical coats on the fabrics can reduce their effectiveness.
Alternative to Dryer Sheets
How does having an alternative to dryer sheets with the same results but less harm sound? Well, there are alternatives, and most of them are chemical-free.
Fabric softeners are the most used alternative. But most modern washers come with small compartments to add fabric softeners before loading the clothes.
Though some of the issues with the dryer sheets also relate to fabric softeners, they’re generally perceived as the better options.
Wool dryer balls are also a popular alternative. They come with tons of benefits, such as having ero-chemicals substance in them and can last for over 1000 cycles. Besides, they offer good options from financial and health perspectives.
Air drying is another way to dry your clothes (cheapest method), but not suitable in all situations. It has some advantages, such as reduced static effect and zero-chemical use. However, air drying is both a time and effort-consuming method.
These are just a few drying alternatives, and there are tons that I’ve not included, such as vinegar, tennis ball, foil, and baking soda. With a quick online search, you will find more alternatives.
Dryer sheets come with benefits that make it hard to do without them, mainly if you use them often. However, stopping to use dryer sheets won’t have any negative impacts on your washing experience.
The dryer sheets have some shortcomings, such as chemical contents that can cause respiratory problems such as asthma and lung cancer. For these reasons, you should consider some alternatives such as liquid fabric softeners and wool ball dyers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Dryer Sheets Worth It?
No, they are not worth it. By leaving residues on your dryer every time you use it, dryer sheets will reduce your dryer’s operating efficiency. In addition, this damage will increase your utility bill, making them an expensive remedy in the long run.
2. Are Dryer Sheets Optional?
Yes, using dryer sheets is optional. As mentioned before, deciding not to use them has zero harm to your clothes. However, you’ll not enjoy some of the benefits that they come with, such as the soft touch on your clothes, reduced static effects, good smell, etcetera.
3. Is It Better to Use Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets?
Yes, it’s better to use a fabric softener instead of a dryer sheet. Both dryer sheet and fabric softeners remove static and wrinkles while giving your clothes a soft touch. However, the fabric softeners have lesser harm to your health than the dryer sheets.
4. Is Inhaling Dryer Sheets Bad For You?
Yes, inhaling dryer sheets is bad for you. This is because the dryer sheets emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after being used. These compounds are related to respiratory issues such as asthma and cancer.
5. What happens if you don’t use dryer sheets?
There are pros and cons to avoiding the use of dryer sheets. Some of the advantages include cutting down on expenses. On the other hand, some notable shortcomings include exposing you to the harmful chemicals in the dryer sheets.