We all enjoy static-free, soft laundry, but dryer sheets are not the only way to accomplish this. This guide is about alternatives to dryer sheets.
I have been told this before, but I tried this last weekend. I was not happy with my dryer sheets; I would rather not use them. Our sons use them so we have lots of them. Our clothes and towels were not coming out very soft and had a bad smell. So I tried wetting a washcloth with vinegar and putting it in the dryer with the towels.
Wow, when I took them out of the dryer they were soft and smelled so good. From now on I will use vinegar on a cloth.
Source: I read this from a book also called "Jerry Bakers Old-Time Vinegar, Garlic, Baking Soda, and 101 More Problem Solvers".
If you don't have fabric sheets or just don't want to buy them, try using aluminum foil instead! Crumple up a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball and toss it into the dryer. It eliminates static cling, lasts a long, long time, and costs practically nothing!
By Marilyn from Colfax, LA
Toss 1/4 cup of vinegar in your washer. It's a natural softening agent and helps remove soap residue. Then toss clean clothes in the dryer with a large wadded up ball of aluminum foil to act as a conductor to attract the static electricity. When clothes are done, they not only smell good, socks don't stick to the t-shirts, etc.
By 2ggmsmolly from Katy, TX
By blueeyes27 4
To save money and time when drying your clothes, instead of using dryer sheets or dryer balls, put three tennis balls in the dryer with your load. This saves you money by not having to buy dryer sheets and cuts drying time in half. The tennis balls can be used over and over. They also make your clothes softer. I do this every time.
By blueeyes27 from Peru, IN
Instead of buying expensive fabric softener sheets, I put fabric softener in a spray bottle diluted 1:1 with water, spray Pellon interfacing material or a soft washcloth with about a dozen sprays, and throw it in the dryer.
I use Amway fabric softener which must be diluted but some brands may be OK to use without diluting. (If it doesn't spray easily, it may need to be diluted.) Wash the cloths every few loads to prevent buildup of fabric softener.
If there are a lot of pile fabrics or nylon garments in the wash that collect a lot of static electricity, try putting two or three sprayed cloths in the dryer. For garments that are dried on a line, just swab the surface of the garment with the cloth by hand. This method works especially well for my rubber-backed pile bathmat.
By Judy from Valley City, ND
By Deb 1
What can I use in place of dryer sheets?
Deb from NE
January 27, 2009
This came from the Duggar Family recipes. Buy a large container of fabric softner and 4 or so inexpensive sponges. Use a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Pour the fabric softner into the bucket. Fill the original fabric softner container twice with water, pour both into the bucket. Cut the sponges in half and put into the bucket. When you fabric softener, squeeze one of the sponge halves out and throw it into the dryer. Works better than a dryer sheet and is much less expensive! I'm sure it works with the more green fabric softners also.
No need for those expensive tumble dryer sheets, just use a ball of tin foil. It works just the same but without the chemicals. If you want fragrance, a few drops of your favorite perfume or essence on a flannel will make your clothes smell wonderful.
By Monique from Somerset, UK., Weston-super-Mare
By nancy 1
Avoid using fabric softening sheets in your dryer, because the build up on your lint catcher becomes dangerous and keeps air from flowing properly. You can take your lint catcher out and run plain water through and see where it will not go through after use of these softener sheets for awhile. It becomes a fire hazard. This is not something I discovered. A friend told me to try and it seems to be true.
By Nancy from Shelby, NC
In a pail mix 1 gallon water and 1 cup concentrated fabric softener. dip a sponge or dry washcloth in the liquid, squeeze out the excess and toss in the dryer with your laundry. Seal the pail when not in use. Re-soak the wash cloth when needed. It should be good a few times. Flannel pieces can also be used more than once before soaking again.
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
I bought a new dryer and continued using those fabric dryer sheets. This dryer would kick off with the clothes not dry. I was thinking the timer was bad so called out a repairman. He changed the sensor in the dryer and told us those "dryer sheets" had coated it, causing a false signal that turned off the dryer. He told us to stop using them. Now we only use liquid with our wash and no more trouble.
By Christie 3
Didn't get the liquid softener into the washer with the clothes? Easy fix is to grab one of those orphaned socks from the pile and squirt a couple drops of liquid softener on it. Throw in the dryer with the load of clothes and voila! I often do this for every load of clothes since I discovered I use much less softener and the bottle lasts a very long time. BTW, if the missing sock shows up, just wash the 'softener sock' and make a pair again.
By cmoore from Poulsbo, WA
Should I use dryer sheets in my new Kenmore washer and dryer? I seem to remember hearing, some years ago, that dryer sheets caused some kind of dryer damage.
I finally had to replace my old work horse Amanas, I don't know if I should start out using a dryer sheet in each load. Is there some advantage to using the liquid softener?
Ruth Counter from Salt Lake City,
My husband has been fixing appliances for the last 35 years and he can tell you that dryer sheets are not harmful to dryers no matter what make or model. I figure he would know better than anyone! (01/27/2008)
I stopped using dryer sheets years ago when I read this tip. I pour some fabric softener on an old face cloth that I always keep in my dryer. Just think of the money you save by doing this little trick. Also I keep a big bath towel in my dryer and it helps dry the clothes faster, because it helps absorb water from the clothes. (01/27/2008)
Dryer sheets can clog up some kinds of screens. I believe it is the kind that looks like thin nylon. Therefore if you have this kind of screen you need to wash it with soap, water, and scrub it with a toothbrush. If the water is going through the screen it is clean. Apparently if it clogs up the little holes it can then heat up the dryer and burn it out. (01/27/2008)
I use dryer sheets but have found I can save buildup on my dryer walls and clothing and save money by cutting them in half. Half a sheet seems to work just as well as a whole one to soften and reduce static. I am sensitive to smells and this helps cut down on the mixed aromas from laundry and bathing products. (I do buy unscented whenever possible.)
Sheets do put some buildup on the dryer walls since they essentially are a type of "wax" that coats the clothes. I just take a vinegar soaked (and wrung out) cloth and wipe down the dryer walls about twice a year when I also clean out the dryer hose and machine of lint. Has worked well for me so far. The wiping out is especially important if your dryer has "sensors" to measure how damp the clothes still are. (01/28/2008)
Each appliance guy will tell you something different. One guy told me they were harmful and another said that was nonsense. Matter of opinion I guess. Some will tell you liquid is bad. That is interesting about the amana's being a workhorse. Mine were always breaking down and I finally got rid of them after 7 years as I was tired of it. No more amana's for me! I just bought new front loaders and they are great. I have not tried the dryer sheets yet, I only use the liquid, but I have cut everything in half (even what HE recommends) and everything comes out beautiful! I would say cut the sheet in half and try that. (01/28/2008)
For years I used the fabric softener on a rag thing but now I use vinegar as fabric softener in my washer and only use dryer sheets occasionally for nylon or other static synthetic clothing. I use vinegar and baking soda for most cleaning around the house now. (01/28/2008)
I used dryer sheets since they came on the market in my Westinghouse dryer which lasted over 15 years and was still working when I sold it and moved to the East Coast. I never had one problem with the dryer (or the sheets). They are used in commercial dryers and serve a lot of other uses around the house, so I wouldn't worry about them. (01/28/2008)
This is the actual link to Snopes.com. http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/dryer.asp
INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS
,P>he heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load of clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink, ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material -- I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. WELL...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over the mesh and that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free - that nice fragrance too! You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box; well, this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to catch fire and potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot, soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!
How about that ! ? ! Learn something new every day! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!
I am concerned about our new dryer because my neighbour told me that she had heard that dryer sheets damage dryers. What 1Marilyn! said on January 29, 2008 makes perfect sense. I will wash my lint filter with hot water, soap and an old toothbrush.
I was getting a rash around my underwear line on my legs. My nurse practitioner told me it was due to using liquid fabric softener. She said the liquid fabric softener stops the fabric from absorbing moisture i.e. perspiration. She recommended using a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle instead. That was almost 20 years ago and I haven't bought liquid fabric softener since. I have stopped using vinegar in the rinse cycle also but the rash never returned. We have front loaders now so I just add an extra rinse. It doesn't cost much different since they hold so much laundry I do it less often and the front loader washer automatically adjusts the water levels to the size of each load.
I can't see me giving up dryer sheets because I have been pre-menopausal for some time now and wear a lot of synthetic things to keep cool. I find the sheets control the static and Static Guard doesn't seem to do a thing. I've replaced all my metal hangers with plastic ones years ago.
Thanks for all your information. I'm very glad I was able to find it. (06/30/2008)
I have been married 34 years and I have had 2 dryers. My first dryers was fine we moved into a new home and decided to start off with a new washer and dryer so we sold the first and bought the second washer and dryer 22 years ago. I use dryer sheets everyday and have never had a problem. (06/23/2009)
By Teresa Kay
They might because it is said that your lint screen gets clogged. You need to wash it with dish soap and very warm water and dry well. About once a month, you can put a little water on it to see if it runs through. If not, wash it. (07/10/2009)