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Why You Should Avoid Using Dryer Sheets with These Items

A person puts a dryer sheet in a dryer.
Shotmedia/Shutterstock.com

Popping a dryer sheet in with your laundry (at least, a load without towels) is a no-brainer, right? Well, it turns out you might want to re-evaluate, because that dryer sheet could be damaging your clothing and other items.

There are certain items and materials you should never toss a dryer sheet in with, and it’s more than just towels.

First, let’s talk about what makes dryer sheets damaging. These laundry accessories are typically made from a synthetic fabric coated in a silicone soil-based fabric softener or quaternary ammonium salt, which also has a softening effect.

When clothes are tossed around in the dryer with the sheet, it releases that coating, which softens fabrics and makes them smell nice. However, it’s the coating that can damage a variety of fabrics, including your towels, which collect the coating over time.

Then, there’s microfiber and athletic wear—the coating on the sheets strips away the moisture-wicking abilities on both of these. So, if you love a particular workout shirt or can never have too many microfiber towels for cleaning, keep them away from dryer sheets.

Then, along the same lines, you’ve got water-repellent fabrics, like rain gear, as well as outdoor clothing, like ski jackets. The chemicals in the dryer sheet wears away those repellents, making them useless in the long run.

Finally, there are kids’ pajamas. Yes, this one does sound quite strange, but there’s a reason. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission requires kids’ pajamas above size 9 months and up to size 14 to be flame-resistant and self-extinguishing. However, dryer sheets affect their ability to do so.

Instead of sheets, you might want to consider using dryer balls. Typically made of wool, they’ll eliminate static and soften clothing without leaving a residue. Plus, they’re reusable, so you’ll be helping the environment, too.

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

An excellent alternative to dryer sheets.

Next time you’re tempted to toss a dryer sheet in with your laundry, just double-check that none of the items we included above are in there, too.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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