9 Dryer Sheet Alternatives You Can Use Now With Household Goods
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
A lot of you out there might believe that you need dryer sheets to use your dryer, but that thought is largely driven by the power of marketing. They aren't a must, but are nice to have, and thankfully there are dryer sheet alternatives that work just as well you can use right now.
Hence, we will give you a list of substitutes to dryer sheets that will do everything from preventing exposure to extra unnecessary chemicals, cleaning your clothes, to even saving your money.
9 Dryer Sheet Alternatives
It was in the 1960's when Conrad J. Gaiser and Audrey got sick of trying to time their runs down from the top floor of their duplex down to the laundry room to add fabric softener at the right point in the cycle that they invented dryer sheets.
They started soaking cotton flannel with fabric softener, calling this Tumble Puffs. In 1969, Conrad obtained the U.S. patent for the invention and then sold it off to Procter& Gamble, which then released Bounce dryer sheets. That's a little history for you.
But all of that can get pricey. Here, we'll now go through our list of options to find the ideal alternative for dryer sheets. And if you ever find yourself in a bind, here's our list of options to use as a substitute for laundry detergent, as well.
It must seem like every article you click on about cleaning your household items always mentions baking soda in one way or another. Well, that is because baking soda is truly an amazing ingredient, even for laundry.
This popular natural item is a must-have for your laundry day, and it works perfectly as an alternative for dryer sheets. In fact, it does a better job.
Baking soda will suspend the mineral deposits from your water supply which would otherwise make your clothes quite stiff. Furthermore, it also does a great job of modulating the pH level of the water.
Based on an average-sized washer, you will have to scoop out precisely a quarter cup of baking soda. After that, you will have to evenly distribute it on your clothes. Before you wash your clothes, you will also have to put baking soda into the detergent dispenser.
Then, you will have to turn on your washing machine and let it do its job, or you can even hand wash your clothes. Finally, you just have to toss your wet clothes into the dryer without any dryer sheets, and they will come out soft and won’t have much static cling either. This helps to get rid of static on blankets, clothes, and anything else.
If you use baking soda during your washing cycle as a substitute for dryer sheets, then you must be aware that it won’t give your clothes any scent, unlike regular dryer sheets do when used in dryers. However, if you want your clothes to have a slight scent, then you could add just a few drops of essential oil of your choice.
This option might have caught you off guard because this is an item that is rarely used outside the kitchen. However, if you have very limited options for dryer sheet substitutes, then aluminum foil is definitely worth consideration.
You may not believe this, but aluminum foil helps in making your clothes feel softer; although not a lot, but it still does a decent job, though not as good as some of these other dryer sheet alternatives.
The strongest point of using aluminum foil in place of dryer sheets is that aluminum foil does a fantastic job at reducing static build-up between clothes. Furthermore, it will even decrease the time needed for your clothes to dry.
To use aluminum foil as a dryer sheet alternative, you will have to make a ball out of the foil which is around the same size as a regular baseball. Then, you just simply throw it into your dryer with your clothes and let your clothes dry with the regular settings that you use.
After your clothes are dry, you can take out the aluminum foil ball and keep it for future uses since you can use them more than once, especially as plastic wrap alternatives since it'll be clean still.
Much like baking soda, vinegar also seems to be a favorite natural household item, and this item also lives up to its reputation. Many of you might be thinking that using vinegar instead of dryer sheets might make your laundry smell like a salad, but in reality, it does not leave any scent at all.
Vinegar does an excellent job at reducing the static build-up from clothes drastically and works even better when it comes to softening your clothes. It dissolves the soap residue in the laundry, which can make your clothes stiff, and hence vinegar can make your clothes feel softer.
The first thing you will have to do to use vinegar as a dryer sheet substitute is to take a piece of a washcloth and dampen it completely with either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Remember to dampen the washcloth and not soak it in the vinegar, or else your clothes may smell like vinegar or even get damaged. That's the one drawback of this among the replacements for dryer sheets, you need to be careful. More is not better in this case.
For the next step, you will have to simply put the dampened washcloth into the dryer with the rest of your laundry and let the dryer do its job in normal settings. After the cycle is complete, take out the washcloth, and there you have it, clean and soft clothes.
While I've never used borax before in my life (like at all), I read online that you can add about a quarter of a cup of borax to your washing machine before starting a load of laundry, and that it will eradicate static and leave a fresh scent in your clothes after drying. Borax works as fabric softener alternatives, too.
The benefit of this alternative to dryer sheets for you is it's a lot cheaper and takes up less space to store. It's good too because there's much less concern with wasting materials and recycling and all that, too.
Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls as dryer sheet alternatives are actually used sometimes in place of dryer sheets during laundry, so you might have heard of them. Nonetheless, they do a tremendous and even better job than dryer sheets at keeping your clothes soft, bouncy, and reducing static like most of the alternatives in this list.
The way that these wool dryer balls work is by increasing the flow of air in the dryer, which gives you softer and fresher clothes and even reduced drying time.
All you have to do is toss in a few wool dryer balls with your laundry into the dryer and use it as you would usually do with your regular settings. When the cycle is finished, take them out and store them because they are reusable.
Sometimes people make wool dryer balls on their own at home, but that can be a very complicated process so we would highly suggest you just them.
These wool dryer balls are generally unscented, but if you like your clothes to have a distinct smell after you have done your laundry, you can get scented ones, although they aren’t always available. You can add a few drops of essential oils to them if you wish.
Make Them on Your Own
After reading this article, you may still think that the conventional dryer sheets might still be better than all the other alternatives. Then we have a brief guide on how you could make dryer sheets at home that would also work great.
Take several wash cloths and fold them one by one. After that, you will have to stack them on top of each other inside a container.
To a separate bowl, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil, then mix. Pour this solution over the wash cloths inside the container, but not too much since you only want them to be damp.
To use these DIY dryer sheets, you will have to take a damp washcloth from the container, pat off the excess vinegar mixture, and put it inside the dryer along with your laundry.
Let your dryer run normally, and after the dryer cycle has finished, take the wash cloth and put it inside the container with the vinegar mixture again. These dryer sheet alternatives are really a combination of several of the replacements above, made more convenient.
Hanging Your Clothes to Dry
For this option, you will have to use a time machine to go to a time where you don’t have a dryer. Not using the dryer means you don't even need dryer sheets.
Hanging your clothes to dry might seem like a very primitive way to dry clothes, but to be fair, it's very effective. You will have to hang all your clothes on a line and let them dry for hours under the sun.
It's obvious that this will take much longer than just simply using your dryer, but one perk of not using your dryer is that your clothes will have almost zero static clings.
If the sun doesn't shine much in the location where you live, you might want to hang your clothes on a line in a warm room instead, although it will take even longer. Still, this method is one of the great clothes wringer alternatives for getting your clothes dry.
One thing you must note with hanging your clothes to dry is that you can only use this alternative if you have enough space in or outside your home. The sun does manage to act as a disinfectant and kill a lot of the bacteria that ends up causing any odors in your laundry.
Weather is also a key factor in deciding whether this option is suitable for you or not. If you live in a cool climate or where there is a lot of rainfall, hanging your clothes dry might not be the best option.
Reusable Lavender Dryer Bags
While this alternative to dryer sheets won't do much for any static cling issues, it will absolutely have your clothes smelling as fresh as a grass field. Making this lavender bag is easy with household items.
Suggestions online say to make a pouch out of fairly thick and tightly woven fabric. This is so you don't use up all of the ingredients in one go. You want bits of the fragrance to come out but not all at once.
You want to gather some dried lavender flowers and crush them or buy scented lavender powder. Take 2 cups of this powder and mix it in equal parts with baking soda. Shake or stir this mixture until it's evenly mixed.
Then you'll pour half of a cup of white vinegar into it and stir some more so the moisture gets evenly soaked up. Put all this in your pouch you made, tie it shut, and toss it in with your laundry. You should get several uses out of each mixture you create.
We point out again that dryer sheets are largely the product of marketing. There was no demand for them, it was invented. While you have a wee bit less static cling or a slight nice scent in your clothes after drying, you don't have to use these things.
In fact, I never use dryer sheets or any substitutes for dryer sheets. I rarely use fabric softener though I admit it does make your clothes feel nicer when wearing them, it again isn't a must. My clothes are clean and smell fine without either of these items. That's just some food for thought!
Dryer Sheet Alternatives for Cheaper & Good-Smelling Laundry
From the variety of substitutes in this list for dryer sheets, try to go through all of them thoroughly so you can decide which one is the most feasible option for you.
As you now probably know, conventional dryer sheets sold in the market aren’t particularly great for your body, so avoid using them. However, all the dryer sheet alternatives in this list are eco-friendly and will give you soft clothes from the dryer.
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