Something my parents stand by is their use of dryer sheets. Since I started doing my own laundry, it was something I have also picked up simply because I have always used it and have never done my laundry without it. Laundry softener is said to use lubricating ingredients that help coat and soften fibers, making your clothes softener and have less static.


From personal experience, I can't confirm that this makes them better since I haven't done enough loads without the sheets to tell a difference, but what is intriguing is how vehemently my grandma is against them. She is very anti-dryer sheet. She claims they are actually bad for your dryer, and it turns out she isn't alone.


Photo by PlanetCare on Unsplash
Photo by PlanetCare on Unsplash

Dryer Sheet's Harmful Properties

Shop Today interviewed experts in various segments of garment care about how these softeners are bad for your dryer. Dryer sheets, like fabric softener, coat your clothes with a "waxy substance" that makes them softer and more static-resistant. The problem with this is that the waxiness is not exclusively attached to your clothes, but is getting all over the interior of the dryer and the lint screen.

James Copeland, a Michigan native and the director of technical services for Prism Specialties, suggested this:

You can tell if your lint screen has that coat by running water over it...the water was unable to run through the screen due to the coat of wax...cleaned it with dish soap and a toothbrush checked to make sure water could properly flow through the screen and then let it air-dry.


Dryer Sheet Alternatives

To avoid potentially damaging your dryer here are four alternatives to dryer sheets:

  • Wool dryer balls: a reusable, natural softener that can also assist with absorbing moisture
  • Silicone dryer balls: Offers the same perks as wool dryer balls, but just aren't from an animal product.
  • A cloth dampened with distilled white vinegar: a little bit of vinegar will soften the clothes, and the scent will fade eventually.
  • Aluminum Foil: Perhaps the most intriguing alternative of the bunch, is aluminum foil rolled into a "3-foot long ball" to keep the clothes from getting statically charged.


Man Doing Laundry Reaching Inside Washing Machine


Ultimately, using dryer sheets appears to be helpful, but you should be mindful of how they are affecting your dryer.


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