Non-Toxic Dryer Sheet Alternatives For Naturally Soft & Fresh Laundry

Dryer sheet alternatives to keep your laundry soft, static-free and smelling fresh, but free of the toxic chemicals in traditional dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

Dryer Sheet Alternatives that are Natural, Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly

How is it that we have come to rely so heavily on putting a sheet of artificially scented, chemical infused 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 – but that’s not 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?

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Why You Should Ditch Conventional Dryer Sheets

Conventional dryer sheets start out with a polyester material that is non-biodegradable. The material is coated with fabric softening agents and other chemicals designed to make fabric feel softer, reduce static cling and add fragrance. Unfortunately studies have linked chemicals used in dryer sheets and fabric softeners to endocrine system disruption, skin irritations, asthma and even cancer. 

Plus that “dryer sheet” scent that we know all too well, comes from a mix of chemicals that can cause allergies and hormone disruption. And you won’t see an ingredient list on a dryer sheet box because companies are not required by law to disclose ingredients for cleaning products – so you have no idea what you are using!

One more point – dryer sheets are wasteful! Why use a single-use product when a reusable alternative is even better? 

Dryer Sheet Alternatives that are Natural, Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly

Non-Toxic Dryer Sheet Alternatives

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Fortunately, there are safer, natural, more eco-friendly ways to scent, soften & reduce static in your laundry if you so desire:

Natural Ways to Soften Laundry:

  • 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.

RELATED POST: Favorite Green Cleaning Brands

Natural Ways to Reduce Static in Laundry:

  • 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 (and these too). Dryer balls 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!
  • Line dry and you won’t have to worry about static cling at all.

Natural Ways to Scent Laundry:

  • 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 (I use lavender essential oil) on a reusable cloth or on a wool dryer ball in the dryer.
  • Add a scoop of my homemade laundry scent booster directly in the washer. 

RELATED POST: Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener Brands

If you prefer the convenience of dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners, here are few natural brands that are non-toxic and more eco-friendly than conventional products:

More Favorites from Mindful Momma

Do you use dryer sheets or have you come up with a non-toxic alternative that works for you?

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature

P.S. Find more sustainable laundry tips here!


  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. 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.

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

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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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