Dryer Sheets Contain Toxic Chemicals

While it is great to be thrifty, there are certain things that should never be re-used. It amazes me how many tips are submitted for using or re-using dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets)! Unfortunately, dryer sheets are highly toxic, and trying to wring more uses out of them is dangerous, as well as going too far to be thrifty.


Please just throw the dryer sheets away! Dryer sheets contain loads of toxic, even carcinogenic, chemicals, such as benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, and chloroform, among others, some of which the manufacturers don't even have to reveal to the public! Some of these chemicals cause the softening, and others are used to perfume the sheets to give them their "lovely" aromas.

These chemicals cause liver damage, hormone disruption, nervous system problems, cancer and other serious or chronic health problems. Adults should not expose themselves to these toxins, let alone their children or pets, who are prone to licking everything or putting things in their mouths - an even more direct and more toxic method of exposure than through the skin.

Any time you handle these sheets, whether doing laundry, putting them in lingerie drawers, using them for crafts, hanging them from a ceiling fan, or using them to wipe TVs, etc., you have these chemicals on your hands. You should never touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes after touching dryer sheets, and should wash your hands thoroughly after touching these things.


Please do not use fabric softener sheets in A/C systems, behind fans, or in any similar way. The chemicals in those things are no joke; they're POISONS. You do NOT want to breathe them. Better not to use them at all.

Many of these chemicals are also present in other consumer products like dish and laundry detergents, soaps, air fresheners (especially deadly), shampoos, deodorants, creams, etc. There is a false assumption by the FDA and other regulatory agencies that these chemicals are safe and are not absorbed through the skin. However, this wrong, as these chemicals can be found in the blood of nearly every citizen. This is how nicotine patches work, by absorption through the skin. If nicotine is absorbed through the skin, you can bet these other chemicals are too.


You are exposed to them because your clothes are covered with these chemicals from the laundry detergent and fabric softeners (liquid or sheets), and you are absorbing them all through your skin. Add to this the chemicals from all the other products mentioned above. We have been exposing ourselves to a lot of dangerous stuff over the years, folks.

There are safer, more natural alternatives to these products. Many TF members have contributed tips for alternatives to dryer sheets or fabric softeners, such as white vinegar or Epsom salts in the rinse water, or dryer balls in the dryer. Please, please do not wipe your pets, their bedding, or anything else, with dryer sheets. Don't let your children suck on their chemically fabric softened "blankies".

Here are links to just two articles about dryer sheet chemicals; there are many more - just Google the words "dryer sheet toxic" in any order. Also check out articles on the chemicals in air fresheners - they're pretty scary.


Source: Natural News, Care2, and many other sites.

By Pixiedust7 from Wantagh, Long Island, NY

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January 27, 20130 found this helpful

Thank you for posting this. You are absolutely correct! I'm horrified every time I see someone recommending using dryer sheets for anything, including putting them in a dryer!

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January 28, 20130 found this helpful

A couple of tennis balls in the dryer are less expensive than the dryer balls and work just as well. I also tried aluminum foil balls; but the compress and then start to fall apart.

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December 16, 20150 found this helpful

Great read. Thanks for all this information!

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December 17, 20150 found this helpful

I recently saw a "tip" using dryer sheets.... using them on a wet dog to make it smell good.


Made me angry to think people are doing this. So many 'tips' are not safe to use.

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December 17, 20151 found this helpful

I don't use dryer sheets at all. Not only is it an unsafe chemical concoction, it makes your clothes dirtier.

Here's why: Dryer sheet buildup stays on clothes sort of like a waxy coating and attracts dirt. Your clothes will be cleaner and you'll need to use less detergent to clean them if you don't use the sheets.

Another thing: Towels dried with dryer sheets are less absorbent because of this coating. At my parents' house I always notice this. It's almost impossible to dry dishes because the towels practically repel water.

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April 3, 20160 found this helpful

Not only dryer sheets do this to towels but regular liquid fabric softener does as well.

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April 3, 20160 found this helpful

What is the comparison toxic wise to liquid fabric softener?

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April 18, 20161 found this helpful

I don't know if it's more or less, but I gave up using dryer sheets on a regular basis years ago, and the one bottle of fabric softener I've got is probably from 1990. The only time I will use a sheet, cut in 3rds, is when I've left a tissue in a pocket.


I really don't think we need fabric softener, but there are alternatives like vinegar in the rinse water if people think it's necessary.

My mother-in-law douses EVERYTHING with fabric softener, and using one of her towels is like trying to dry off with a plastic bag.

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February 7, 20210 found this helpful

When I checked my research on the chemicals in dryer sheets/fabric softener sheets, the sources all said the chemicals in both the sheets and the liquids were toxic, many were the same chemicals in either choice, and many chemicals were used that were not required to be listed on the labels. Don't forget that many of these chemicals are also used in laundry detergents (liquid and powder), air fresheners, and many other consumer products.

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October 2, 20170 found this helpful

I know a lot of people agree with you on that and I've even heard some say don't put them out for birds to use for nesting material because of them being harmful. I use mine in a load of clothes and then most of, if not all, the fragrance is gone afterwards. I then take them and rinse them out very thoroughly with hot water and set them outside to dry. I think it helps some for the birds that roost in my yard for the winter. Better than nothing and there's no nestlings in winter so birds should be ok to have them in bottom of roosting box along with other things to protect them from the cold. You just have to know what and what not to do.

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May 9, 20181 found this helpful

You are overreacting. If dryer sheets were the apocalyptic nightmare you described, lawyers would be all over this.
Many people have unjustified phobias over little things that lead to an overarching desire to rid the world of whatever they think is causing the harm, but in reality it is just a figment of their imagination and dwells mainly in their mind.
I definitely do not espouse eating dryer sheets or washing your privates with them, but using them for their intended purpose or reusing them with a coating of air freshener or whatever your creative thoughts lead you to do is worth a try.

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February 7, 20210 found this helpful

I am NOT over-reacting. Remember, these companies all have lawyers (lobbyists), who are well-paid to soothe the worries of congressmen and regulators, to convince them that their products aren't as harmful as they eventually are proven to be. Pay attention to product labels and you will see loads of chemicals in consumer products, and those are only the ones that are listed. Have you noticed how many traditional laundry product manufacturers have come out with scent-free, color-free, non-allergenic versions of their products in the last few years? They must have gotten some flack from someone about the itching and rashes some people got from the original formulas! Chemical over-exposure is a real problem in modern society, and the issue will never get the attention it deserves while special interests control the media and the government!

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