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4 Reasons to Skip Dryer Sheets (and What to do Instead)

by Appliance Center

Dryer sheets help cut down on static and make your clothes smell nice but should you really use them?  There are at least three reasons experts say you might want to skip adding dryer sheets to your next load of laundry, though there is one very good reason to keep using them.

Let’s look at the pros and cons plus a possible solution that could save you a lot of money.

What is a Dryer Sheet?

A hand holding a dryer sheet in front of dryer.

To understand the downside of dryer sheets, it’s important to understand how they work. Dryer sheets are super-thin pieces of paper or polyester.

The sheets are 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.

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.

The Advantage To Dryer Sheets

Aside from leaving fabrics smelling fresh and feeling soft, dryer sheets provide an important safety service. They help eliminate static on clothing.

Woman shrugging and sitting by dryer.

Static can cause dryer fires if a spark ignites debris in the lint trap. (An important reason to keep the lint trap clean.) 

An Eco-Friendly Alternative

There is an affordable and fragrance-free alternative to dryer sheets. Reusable dryer balls made from wool or plastic reduce static and wrinkles, soften clothes, and speed drying time - all without any additional chemical coating to leave a residue.

Dryer balls sitting in empty dryer.

Best of all, they normally last for years and years. Prices start at $10 for sets of multiple drying balls. 

If you have concerns about your dryer’s performance, Appliance Center’s trained service professionals are here to help you schedule a service call or find a new model from our large in-stock inventory of electric and gas models.