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Are you wondering if the DIY reusable dryer sheets really work? I’ve put them to the test this last month and I have all the details on what works and what doesn’t. There are three requirements I have when I decide to go all DIY and make my own things.
- Is it cost effective?
- Is it easy to do?
- Does it work?
Let’s find out.
Why Make the Switch?
First let’s look at why you would want to switch to reusable dryer sheets. There are a few really good reasons, including less waste and less cost. (I’m all about budget friendly) But the main reason I wanted to switch was the chemicals in regular dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
Healthwyze.org has an article going into more detail on the toxic chemicals that are found in most commercial laundry products. The dryer sheets and fabric softeners work by coating our clothes with chemicals to make them feel soft and less static-y. The problem is the chemicals stay on our clothes and then are absorbed through our skin when we wear them. Anyone with sensitive skin has learned this the hard way.
How to Make Non-Toxic Reusable Dryer Sheets
These reusable dryer sheets pass my “Is it easy” test with flying colors. You will need
You can repurpose any jar to store these in. I went with my favorite, a mason jar. Pour one cup of vinegar into your jar. If you want to add scent, put in about 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Though this is not necessary, it will leave a faint scent on your clothes.
Next, put your washcloth or any fabric that will absorb liquid into the jar. I have seen a few people use multiple cloths and fabric scraps, but I only dry one load of laundry at a time, so I just went with one. When you are ready to dry a load of clothes, pull your cloth out and wring out the excess vinegar. Toss into your dryer with your wet clothes and dry as normal.
After the clothes are dry, return your reusable dryer sheet to the vinegar jar until next time.
So you can see they are cost effective too. A gallon of vinegar is what? two bucks? That should last you at least 6 months, if not longer. The jar and washcloth you probably already have. The essential oils can get pricey, but again they are totally optional.
Do they really work?
In my one month test, I say yes. I am happy with the results and I am going to keep using them. Though I may have to do some tweaking for certain loads, for the most part they get the job done.
I am going to answer some frequently asked questions for you based on my experience.
Will my clothes smell like vinegar?
Yes, some of the will. Most of them won’t though. The fabrics that seem to hold onto the vinegar smell are towels and spandex. (gotta love those stretchy jeans and leggings) And that is where I will probably do some tweaking.
A good alternative for towels is to add the vinegar to your rinse cycle of the wash. The vinegar will still soften them, but the rinse will help remove the smell. Forgo the vinegar soaked dryer sheet and toss a couple of balls of tin foil in the dryer with them to help with static.
Is it worth it to add the essential oils?
This will probably be a personal preference. It’s not like pulling clothes out of the dryer that you used a Gain dryer sheet for. The smell from the essential oils is pretty faint. Of course this may vary by brand too, but I will probably skip the essential oils in the future. My clothes smell clean, but the lemon and lavender I added just wasn’t that noticeable.
Will the essential oils stain my clothes?
In my experience, no. Be sure to wring the excess fluid from your reusable dryer sheet so it’s not dripping wet. But I haven’t seen any oil stains on our clothes.
Does it really remove static?
Yes! It might need some extra help though in really dry climates. We are just entering the cold dry season now. I have been running my furnace for about a week. I have washed all of our fleece sheets and jammie pants once so far using the reusable dryer sheet and there was minimal static. And who can stand static-y fleece jammies?
But I am still questioning if that will hold up all winter long. If you are noticing you still have static grab a sheet of tin foil and wad it up into a ball. Toss that into the dryer too and it should take care of any remaining static issues.
How long will the mix last?
This will totally depend on how many loads of laundry you do a month and how big and absorbent your cloth is. At the end of one month, I needed to add more vinegar to my jar. So 1 cup a month. We have a family of four and I just used a standard size washcloth.
Will the vinegar fade my clothes?
Not in my experience. Actually, the opposite should be true. The vinegar will help break up the coating the commercial dryer sheets left.
How long will the reusable cloth last?
Since I am using a washcloth, I imagine it will last a long time. Where I have seen issues is with the fabric you cut yourself. The edges begin to fray and the loose threads start to tangle everything up.
So overall reusable dryer sheets are easy to do, and they are cheaper than buying a commercial brand. I think they work well enough that it is worth it to ditch another source of chemicals from my house. What do you think? If you have any other questions I haven’t covered feel free to leave them down in the comment section.
If you are looking for more non-toxic cleaning ideas check out my post on DIY Carpet Refresher. And my friend Marie has a great post on how she uses lemon essential oils for cleaning her house over at My So Called Crunchy Life.