Apparently, I’m a slow learner. I can’t think of another reason why it took years to associate my sons’ and husband’s itchy skin problems with the dryer sheets I used in the clothes dryer.
While we didn’t experience respiratory problems that are often associated with fabric softeners, the medical website, WebMD.com, reports that the perfumes and additives in laundry products may also cause respiratory problems in some individuals.
One would expect that such a life-impacting revelation (all the skin problems disappeared once I stopped using any fabric softeners or dryer sheets) would have banned those pesky sheets from our home. But that’s not true.
Dryer sheets have so many other uses around that home—indoors, outdoors, and in the garage too—I keep a box of fragrance-free dryer sheets on hand for many other uses. (Even without fragrance, dryer sheets pose a problem for my family when used in the dryer with clothing, sheets and towels).
A used dryer sheet is ideal for many of the applications that follow. However, if you, like me, don’t end up with used sheets from the dryer, simply soak a new sheet in water and then wring it out. Most of the time you want to the sheet to be damp anyway. Hint: If you are sensitive to dryer sheets, be sure to wear rubber or latex gloves when handling a new sheet.
Dryer sheets make great dusting and cleaning cloths for television and computer screens. Not only will they clean the screens, but the antistatic properties will also treat the screens to repel rather than attract dust. Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static cling, so they remove the dust and help keep it from resettling from television and computer screens.
To add luster and restore the surface of a dry-erase memo board, polish it with a dryer sheet.
There’s nothing like static electricity to turn a fan blade into a dust magnet. But that’s no match for a dryer sheet. Just take one of those gems and wipe down the blade to release dust, pet hair and cobwebs, too.
GUNKY OVEN RACKS
To clean your oven racks or grill grates, rinse them off then soak them overnight in a tub of warm water with a little dishwashing liquid and a handful of dryer sheets (four or five should do it). Lay the dryer sheets on the floor of the tub, then place the racks and grates on top. Add 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid plus enough warm water to cover the racks.
Hint: For really messy grill grates, use a large black plastic bag to mimic a tub. Lay it out flat where it will be in the sun for a few hours then proceed as described. Tie the bag shut and walk away.
Here’s a quick and easy way to get rid of the gunk that can build up on the soleplate of a steam iron: Place a dryer sheet on the ironing board, set the iron to low, and run the iron over the sheet until the tacky buildup is gone. Once clean, your iron should glide smoothly over your garments. You can use this same technique to clean restore your curling iron and flat iron, too.
Swipe of dryer sheet under a skirt that won’t hang freely or a clinging sweater to counteract the effects of static cling.
Rub a dryer sheet on the inside of winter hats to avoid “static hair syndrome” once you get to your destination and take your hat off.
To fix dull scissor blades that stick and won’t cut easily through paper, wipe the blades periodically with a new or used dryer sheet to clean and prevent the shears from dulling over time.
Anytime you’re outdoors—whether playing, gardening, hiking, or just picnicking in the park—consider slipping a dryer sheet in your back pocket. Research has shown that a couple of chemical compounds commonly found in the sheets (linalool and beta-citronellol*) will deter the gnats and mosquitoes from hanging around, making this a reasonable and easier-to-use alternative to spray-on bug repellent.
REPEL MORE BUGS
Place dryer sheets in the rafters, basement corners or other places that spiders and bugs are prone to nest.
There are reports out there that say new dryer sheets when cut into one-inch strips and tied to the tips of greenery or in trees, will repel plant-munching deer. I would deerly (!) love any reader reports to either confirm or deny.
CLEAN PAINT BRUSHES
Love to paint a room or other project but hate the clean-up, especially the brushes? Then you’re going to love this: Fill a sink, basin, or bucket with warm water, place the gunked-up brushes in the water, and add a dryer sheet. Soak for a few hours while you take a nap.
The remaining paint should come off almost like magic, making it easy to just rinse and allow the brushes to dry so they’re ready for the next job.
Swiffer mops are great, but those refill sheets can get pricey. Or just when you go to clean the floor you realize you’re flat out of refills. Try a couple of new or used dryer sheets instead. Also works on bookshelves, blinds, and baseboards.
A used dryer sheet can turn the art of appliqué from tedious to so-easy! The “fabric” of dryer sheets is similar to interfacing but thinner, which makes it ideal for applique (also for backing a quilt block). By sewing the appliqué to the dryer sheet fabric and then “turning” it completely, you encapsulate all of the raw edges making the appliqué neat and clean. Here is a photo tutorial from AFewScraps.com to explain and illustrate each step.
Dip a dryer sheet into water so that it becomes saturated and then use it to remove bugs from your car’s windshield and front grill. The fabric is just slightly abrasive, which makes it ideal to scrub away the insects but not at all harsh as to damage the finish.
Dryer sheets can help to get rid of soap scum in the bathroom—from the walls of the shower, the shower door and the chrome faucet handles as well. All it takes is just a few drops of water on a dryer sheet (used or new) and soap scum build-up nearly slides off.
WHTIE DEODORANT MARKS
You know those ugly white marks that show up on your fresh clean shirt? Use a dryer sheet to wipe them away, quick and easy,
*Linalool is naturally found in lavender and basil, which cosmetic and perfume companies use in their products for its flower-like odor. Linalool is toxic to some types of insects. Beta-citronellol, is found in citronella and repels mosquitoes.
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