When you put laundry in a dryer, static builds up on the clothes, sheets, and towels that bounce and tumble in the heat. Throwing in a dryer sheet can reduce static cling and leave your clothes smelling fresh.
That said, dryer sheets have gained a bad reputation because they contain quaternary ammonium compounds that can irritate the skin and worsen asthma. Dryer sheets are also said to ruin your clothes and linens over time because they reduce the absorbency of cotton, and decrease the moisture-wicking abilities of athletic wear.
Maybe you’ve decided to eliminate dryer sheets from your laundry and have found yourself with excess sheets you don’t want to discard. Or, maybe dryer sheets are a must-have in your laundry routine, and you’re looking for ways to reuse them before you toss them in the trash.
Regardless of whether or not you like dryer sheets, they can offer more benefits than just softening and freshening a load of laundry. They have a number of uses; 40 of which we’ve listed below.
1. Insect Repellent
Ward off a variety of bugs with dryer sheets. Stuff them in your shirt pocket while working or playing outside to keep mosquitoes from feasting on your blood.
2. Freshen Gym Bags
Your stinky gym bag doesn’t have to be that way. Banish unpleasant odors from your bag by popping a few dryer sheets inside. Stick them in the main compartment and various pockets to avoid lugging around an offensive scent.
3. Freshen Your Laundry Hamper
We’d all love to do laundry as soon as it piles up, but we don’t always have the time to spare. Avoid ending up with a stinky hamper by adding a few dryer sheets to the bottom of the receptacle.
4. Remove Pet Hair From Clothing
You love your pet, but your pup or kitty is notorious for leaving clumps of hair behind. Your white-haired pooch sheds tiny white hairs that consistently ruin your evening look, and your black cat ruins anything cream or light-colored. Use clingy dryer sheets to snatch up stray pet hairs and make your clothing look good as new.
5. Remove Pet Hair From Other Surfaces
No matter how diligent a duster or vacuumer you may be, you’re bound to spot stray pet hairs in your home at any one time. Keep a few dryer sheets on hand to quickly scoop up pet hair without hauling out the vacuum, broom, or duster.
6. Freshen Clothing Drawers and Closets
Keep your closet, dresser drawers, and clothes smelling fresh for longer with a few dryer sheets in your favorite scent. The strong scent may also function as a deterrent for moths.
7. Freshen Your Car
The small, enclosed space of a vehicle is the perfect environment for everyday odors build up and cling. That fast-food treat you enjoyed a few days ago? The smell is probably still lingering in your car. Hide dryer sheets around your vehicle to banish stubborn stink.
8. Dust Surfaces Around Your Home
The clingy material of dryer sheets is perfect for picking up dust around your home. Keep used dryer sheets on hand and double their life by using them to dust furniture and other parts of your living space. It’s cheaper than investing in a fancy duster.
9. Freshen Rooms In Your Home
If you’re unable to open windows to let in fresh air (because you don’t want to let cool air escape in the summer or it’s below zero outside), freshen up your living space by putting dryer sheets in front of a fan or near air vents.
10. Deodorize Your Trash Can
No matter how hard you try, your kitchen waste bin eventually starts to smell. Even if you’re diligent in taking out the trash, the area is a haven for odors.
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Keep the offending smells from permeating your home by sticking a few dryer sheets in the bottom of the receptacle.
11. Get Great Smelling Luggage
Give TSA inspectors a burst of freshness by stocking your luggage with dryer sheets. Instead of opening a stale, stuffy suitcase upon arrival, you’ll enjoy the delightful scent of your favorite dryer sheets.
12. Use Them To Clean Your Pots And Pans
Soak your super dirty pots and pans with a dryer sheet to help loosen grit and grime. This trick is especially useful for cookware that has burned bits of stuck-on food. The longer the soak, the easier it’ll be to wipe the surface clean.
13. Wipe Away Deodorant
Trying to get rid of white deodorant stains on your little black dress? Water will temporarily disguise the mark but may reappear when your garment dries. Swipe away the stain with a dryer sheet instead.
14. Use Instead Of A Dust Mop Pad
Did you run out of Swiffer pads and need to dust your floors pronto? Are you fed up buying replacement pads for your mop? Whatever your need, try swapping a dryer sheet for the regular pad. It’s an inexpensive solution when you’re in a pinch or don’t have the budget to buy new.
15. Wipe Down Your Baseboards
Cleaning baseboards is an annoying task. A vacuum can’t reach the odd-shaped crevices. A duster isn’t powerful enough to grab all the dirt, and if you use anything damp or wet, you’re likely to spread grime rather than clean them. Use a dryer sheet to wipe away dust from baseboards, and stand back to inspect a job well done.
16. Clean Your Bar Cart
I don’t know about anyone else, but my bar cart picks up dust like nobody’s business. It’s such an annoying chore to clean everything that I often put it off. When I do mark it on my calendar, I make it the only cleaning chore for the day, and when I’m done, I never want to dust it again.
That’s because so many dusting tools are inefficient. Dryer sheets, however, are the perfect dusting solution for glassware on your bar or bar cart. They easily pick up dust and don’t leave behind offending streaks.
17. Tackle Dry Spills
I love baking but hate the floury mess. A wet sponge clumps the flour and turns it into a glue-like substance. If only there was an easier solution. Dryer sheets to the rescue! They’re exceptionally adept at picking up dry spills so next time you spill flour, salt, or sugar, set aside your sponge and grab a dryer sheet.
18. Freshen Your Stinky Shoes
Are you a runner? Or dealing with extra sweaty feet? When stowing your shoes, slip in a few dryer sheets to banish the stink.
19. Get Rid Of Stubborn Carpet Odors
Before vacuuming, place a dryer sheet in your canister to help get rid of carpet smells, and freshen your home as you pick up dust and dirt.
20. Handle Kid-Related Messes
Dryer sheets are an efficient choice for cleaning up messes left behind by little ones — like crayon marks on the wall or furniture.
21. Add Them To Plant Pots
Add a dryer sheet to your potted plants to keep away pests. A dryer sheet placed at the bottom of a pot will also prevent soil from spilling out at the bottom, so you can transport your plants without leaving a trail of dirt in your wake.
22. Bring Them To The Beach
Heading out on a day trip to the beach? Going on vacation? It might be wise to bring along a few dryer sheets to brush off stray sand. The clingy material is excellent at picking up left behind bake good crumbs, so why not sand, too?
23. Toss One In Your Diaper Hamper
Immediately put a stop to diaper smells by throwing a dryer sheet or two into the baby’s diaper hamper.
24. De-Static Your Hairbrush
Using a staticky brush will leave you with flyaway hair. Free your hairbrush of static with a dryer sheet.
25. Start A Fire
Making a DIY emergency kit? Add a few dryer sheets to the mix. They’re super flammable and the perfect kindling when nothing else is available.
26. Scrub Your Oven
Another chore I hate with a passion is cleaning my oven. I don’t use the self-clean setting because I share my home with a pet parrot, so how else am I supposed to get rid of nasty, stuck-on stains? As with pots and pants, a dryer sheet can help you tackle dirty oven racks and get them looking almost good as new again.
27. Clean Up Paint Brushes
Use dryer sheets to get rid of paint buildup on brushes, and keep your arts and craft supplies clean.
28. Wipe Your Smartphone Or Tablet Screen Clean
Your smart device screen is full of fingerprints and left behind grime. Swipe it all away with a dryer sheet.
29. Scrub Your Toilet
Dryer sheets are equally useful for cleaning your porcelain throne. The thin sheets are surprisingly great at getting out stubborn toilet bowl stains.
30. Have A Sparkly Clean Shower
Did you know that dryer sheets are excellent in battling soap scum?
Use them to scrub your tub or shower and rid the surfaces of buildup.
31. Wrap Delicate Items In Dryer Sheets For Long-Term Storage
Putting away seasonal decor and worried about things getting damaged in storage? Use dryer sheets to gently wrap Christmas ornaments and other knick-knacks for next year.
32. Tidy Up After Woodworking
If you’re often in the garage enjoying a host of DIY tasks that involve wood, prevent splinters using dryer sheets to pick up sawdust.
33. Remove Dead Bugs From Your Car’s Grill
Do you know how nasty your car or truck gets after a road trip? Rather than scrubbing those dead bugs from the front of your car, wipe the grill with a dryer sheet or two.
34. Deodorize Your Bathroom
Stick dryer sheets behind towels (or wherever there’s a hiding spot) to keep your bathroom smelling fresh.
35. Wipe Down Chrome Surfaces
Clean faucets and other chrome plumbing fixtures with a dryer sheet, and leave behind a sparkly, sleek surface.
36. Refresh Your Library
Over time, books take on an old, stale scent. Some people love the smell, but if you’re not a fan of that stuffy odor, slip dryer sheets between the pages of your library books to tone down the old book smell.
37. Clean Off Melted Wax
When wax melts onto surfaces, it’s notoriously difficult to clean. If you’re a candle lover, tuck a few dryer sheets in your kitchen junk drawer so you’re ready to clean up wayward wax spills.
38. Clean Scissors
Wipe sticky residue and grime from your kitchen and garden shears with a dryer sheet. Just be careful not to cut yourself.
This is perhaps the most creative use of dryer sheets.
40. Clean Your Glasses
Throw a few dryer sheets in your purse for times you need to clean your glasses on-the-go.
Drawbacks To Using Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are mainly used in a clothes dryer to minimize static cling. They also help soften fabrics and reduce the chance of lint building up on clothing.
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While dryer sheets have many uses and a variety of benefits, they have a few significant drawbacks to consider.
The residue left behind by dryer sheets actually makes clothing more flammable.
When using dryer sheets, your dryer may not work as efficiently. Residue from the sheets can clog your lint collector which (if not regularly cleaned) can lead to reduced appliance performance and fires. Sometimes, thin dryer sheets can also clog your filter, so be sure to inspect your dryer’s interior and fish out the remaining sheets.
Decreased Moisture-Wicking Abilities
Avoid using dryer sheets with your towels and sportswear as the residue limits the water retention properties of fabrics.
Dangerous For Pets
My dog loves to roll around in anything with a strong scent — be it nasty, mildewed towels, or freshly laundered clothes. She goes absolutely bonkers for dryer sheets so if your pet is prone to munching on random stuff around the house, be careful not to let them eat dryer sheets. Consuming them may be fatal.
Potential Toxicity Concerns
Dryer sheets leave behind a residue on your dryer and clothes that may cause irritation in individuals with sensitive skin or with odor sensitivities.
If you’re concerned about any of the above, consider using non-toxic, gentle dryer balls to soften laundry, reduce static, and lower drying time.