Easy Dryer Sheet Alternatives

Dryer sheet alternatives that will keep your laundry smelling fresh and free of the toxic chemicals in traditional dryer sheets.

Easy Dryer Sheet Alternatives // www.mindfulmomma.com

How is it that we have come to rely so heavily on putting a sheet of artificially scented paper in our dryer every time we do the laundry?

I did a little research and discovered that scented dryer sheets were an invention of the 1970’s as a way to deliver fabric softeners more effectively. Today, we know that scented laundry products contain toxic chemicals and even known carcinogens – not that that’s stopping anyone from selling them. YUCK! Don’t you wish we had left the dryer sheets behind with the pet rocks and the purple shag carpeting?

Fortunately, there are safer ways to scent, soften & reduce static in your laundry if you so desire*:

Scent:

  • Toss a lavender sachet into your dryer. You can easily make your own or buy them on Etsy here or here. They also sell them at Trader Joe’s.
  • Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a reusable cloth in the dryer.

Soften:dryer balls

  • Add 1/3 cup of salt or baking soda in with your detergent in the wash cycle. Both are natural water softeners.
  • Vinegar is also popular for softening laundry. About 1/2 cup in the fabric softener container should do the trick.
  • Soak a cotton cloth in your favorite eco-friendly fabric softener. Squeeze out any excess liquid and toss in the dryer.

 Static:

  • Dry synthetic fabrics separately from natural fibers as synthetics tend to create more static cling.
  • Dryer balls help eliminate static and also reduce wrinkles. I just love these handmade, wool dryer balls from Etsy – they come in so many cute colors (and they make great gifts!) but you can also find plain ones on Amazon.
  • Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Don’t worry, your favorite shirt won’t smell like a pickle – the vinegar smell dissipates in the wash!

Happy drying!

Do you use dryer sheets or have you come up with an alternative that works for you?

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*Disclosure: Affiliate links mean that if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Mindful Momma if you do!

About Micaela

Micaela Preston is a marketing and communications consultant specializing in natural, organic and eco-friendly products and the health and wellness space. Micaela is available as a social media manager, green lifestyle writer, public speaker, brand ambassador and marketing manager.

Comments

  1. I just totally stopped using dryer sheets and I don’t miss them at all. Not sure why I ever used them.

  2. I don’t use dryer sheets. I actually prefer that my clean laundry have no smell. I also don’t have much trouble with static, probably because we wear few synthetic fabrics. I don’t worry too much about softness either, I guess. I wash with Biokleen detergent, and haven’t felt the need to add any baking soda or vinegar or anything else.

  3. I stopped using dryer sheets a while ago and don’t miss them. I used to have a real problem with static so I was apprehensive. At first I used a product from Shaklee – it’s a concentrate that you dilute with water and spray into your dryer. Then I made some dryer balls and threw them in. I normally use baking soda with my laundry det. and vinegar in the rinse. I have stopped using the Shaklee product as well and no real issues with static. Not exactly sure what helped, but I like it!

  4. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says:

    Oh what great tips!! We have been using wool dryer balls for about four years now and love them. Not only do they eliminate the use of fabric softeners but cut our drying time by 30%!!

  5. Betsy – how nice that you haven't had much of an issue with static! Things get pretty dry here in Minnesota during the winter – so I need a little something to combat that static cling!

  6. Kristina – how awesome that you have found inexpensive, completely natural products to replace a commercial product (even if it is naturally based)!

  7. Hi Alicia – Cool – I didn't know that wool dryer balls reduced drying time – what a bonus!

  8. Hello! I was so excited to see my dryer balls on this blog- I’d love to offer a special coupon code for readers of Mindful Momma! Use code: mindfulmomma to get 10% off at checkout. Be well!- Brooke

  9. Thanks so much for offering a discount Brooke! I'm heading off to place my order right now!

     

  10. NO dryer sheets here. They are really bad for your dryer. They leave a residue that covers your lint trap which could eventually become a fire hazard. I even stopped using fabric softener in the wash since I started cloth diapering and I don’t want any residue getting on my precious diapers. I usually add vinegar to my Downy ball.

  11. I’ve been eyeing wool dryer balls for a while now and just made my purchase with Brooke’s etsy shop and used the coupon code! Thank you Brooke! Now to decide which essential oil to use as my fragrance…

  12. Hi Amanda – so true about the residue from dryer sheets – and have you heard that some dryer sheets contain animal fat – gross!

  13. So glad you bought some dryer balls Tracy! I just placed an order yesterday too!

  14. Great post. Thank you for sharing. I remember a friend years ago telling me about the toxic nature of dryer sheets but I never knew what a good replacement was. Now I do.

    Dani @ ONNO organic clothing

  15. Are we making a toxic chemical cocktail in our dryer even when we choose the unscented dryer sheet? Is it the fragrance or the dryer sheet itself?

  16. That's a really good question Karen. The fragrance is a big part of the problem, but unscented dryer sheets may contain other not-so-great
    ingredients. I recommend Seventh Generation's unscented dryer sheets – I have used them myself and they do the trick without a bunch of unwanted chemicals!

  17. I’m with the don’t use them or any substitute group. Though I did try aluminum foil to prevent static once (didn’t work), I’ve found I only get static when I dry things for too long.

  18. I use vinegar with eucalyptus essential oil in a spray bottle. I spritz about 15 sprays inside the dryer before it starts. It works great!

  19. Love the eucalyptus spray idea Cindy – thanks for sharing!

     

  20. Dryer sheets are nasty….greatnpost!

  21. This is awesome! Yeah, I stopped using dryer sheets when our little girl was born and totally don’t even miss them, but I like your tips in case we want extra soft or non-static clothes, we have some more options.

  22. Great post. All wonderful ideas! 🙂

  23. Hi even one sparrow – good for you for giving up dryer sheets! Thanks for stopping by Mindful Momma!

  24. Thanks GGGG – glad you liked the post! Stop by again sometime!

  25. Hey, Thanks for this article! I’ve always used unscented sheets just to soften my clothes but would rather be safe and was thinking about cutting them out anyway. Does anyone know about the wool dryer balls, how long do they last and how many do you use per load? Can I keep three for myself and give three to my mom or should I use all 6 every time? I’m also thinking about switching to a natural detergent as well and am currently researching cloth diapering for the little bundle who is expected to join us in May!

  26. Hi Amie – funny you should ask about the wool dryer balls. I bought a package of 6 but I only use 3 at a time. I am planning to give the other 3 as a gift! My understanding is that they last forever! They certainly haven't changed since I purchased them and they work like a charm! Best of luck with your little one!

  27. I heard that you can eliminate static by hooking a safety pin on to your garments before putting them into the dryer. Since the pin is made out of metal, it will attract the static leaving your clothes static free!

  28. I never cared much for dryer sheets, an expense I really did not want to pay and the fire hazard in dryers is another reason. I started using the plastic (or whatever they are made of)dryer balls when they came out about 25 or so years ago. If I had my druthers, I would hang clothes outside to dry all the time. Love the smell of clothes and especially sheets hung outside. I have many times started to dry clothes in dryer to get wrinkles out and then finish on the line outside.

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