Dryer sheets are super-thin pieces of paper or polyester. The sheets coated with a slick substance infused with fabric softeners and fragrances. The heat of the dryer melts the substance and allows it to spread to the other items in the dryer.
Why Dryer Sheets Are a Bad Idea
Dryer sheets are woven sheets of fibers coated with stearic acid or fatty acids, scents and a cocktail of various chemicals. In the dryer, the stearic acid melts from the heat, coating the clothes to make them soft and reduce static.
Unfortunately, the film from the dryer sheet also coats your entire dryer. This typically isn’t a problem, except when it comes to the dryer’s lint filter.
The residue from the fabric softener sheet builds up on the filter, load after load. Eventually, you’ll find that lint is hard to remove because the sticky film has blocked the holes in the filter and adhered to some of the lint.
Lack of Transparency
Don’t let a long list of ingredients fool you. While dryer sheets are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, manufacturers still aren’t required to disclose all the ingredients they use on their labels. This means that the clothes going on your skin, the sheets you’re sleeping in, and towels you’re using to dry your body, could be coated in toxic chemicals exerted from drying with dryer sheets.
The average American family does 8-10 loads of laundry each week. With typical dryer sheets costing anywhere from .05 -.10 a sheet or load of laundry (at a minimum because let’s be honest – sometimes we throw in 2 sheets), households spend over $50 a year on dryer sheets.
The Downside To Dryer Sheets
There are four major drawbacks to dryer sheets:
- Fragrance and softening chemicals coating dryer sheets can irritate sensitive skin or sensitivities to fragrances.
- The coating can affect some fabrics. Towels can become less absorbent and some studies show it can make flame retardant treatments in kids’ clothing less effective.
- Dryer sheets can leave a coating of residue inside your dryer. The residue can get on your dryer’s sensors and interfere with its ability to properly dry.
- Sheets are disposable, that means you have to keep buying them and they create waste that goes into landfills.