Dryer sheets are probably a part of your routine when washing your clothes. Here’s the thing, though: It’s time to give them up. While they may make your clothes feel and smell nice when you take them out of the dryer, they are actually doing a fair amount of damage to your favorite garments and to your appliance.
It’s worth knowing exactly what dryer sheets are to understand what the issue with them is. Dryer sheets, believed to be invented in the 1960s, are sheets of fibers that are coated with either stearic acid or fatty acids. They are often scented and contain a number of other chemicals that help to produce the clean feeling that your clothes end up with after a dryer cycle. When the acid melts from the heat of the dryer, they mix in with the clothes and coat the fabrics. The end result is a soft, freshly cleaned feeling. They also help to reduce static and keep your clothes from sticking together as you pull them out of the dryer.
Unfortunately, that acid doesn’t just mix in with your clothes. It also coats the inside of your dryer, which can result in a build up in your lint filter. That takes its toll over time, adding a film to your filter that can lead to lint getting stuck in holes and making it hard to remove. Over time, that lint will find its way to your clothes. So much for that fresh, clean feeling.
On top of that, the acid from the dryer sheets can do some damage to your clothes. For one, it’ll make your towels less absorbent. That’s going to make your bathroom and kitchen towels considerably less useful to you. If you have kids, or just like wearing pajamas yourself, you’ll want to avoid washing them with dryer sheets because they make them less fire resistant. Finally, the acid can ruin the sweat-wicking abilities of activewear, making your workouts considerably more sweaty.
For all of those reasons, it’s time for you to ditch your dryer sheets. Don’t worry, there are alternatives out there. You can just toss in some baking soda or white vinegar with your rinse cycle and your clothes will come out feeling soft as can be — just don’t mix the vinegar with bleach. For static, a couple of aluminum balls can make all the difference. Just toss them in the dryer with your clothes and they should come out static-free.