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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: Can I Recycle Dryer Sheets?

By Recyclebank |

These wispy little sheets can do more than soften your clothes and reduce static cling.

Dear Recyclebank,

Can I recycle dryer sheets?

Laura D., Toledo, OH

Dear Laura,

Dryer sheets are usually made of thin polyester that’s been covered in a fabric softener chemical and fragrance chemicals. Unfortunately, the wispy polyester isn’t recyclable.

There are some brands such as Seventh Generation and Method that do make dryer sheets from unbleached paper. However, they typically contain essential oil, which smells great on your clothes but contaminates paper recycling. The good news is that essential oil (and paper) is safe to add to your compost pile..

This is probably a good opportunity to also talk about alternatives to these disposable dryer sheets. Besides being unfit for recycling, the chemicals on the polyester sheets can be an irritant to those with allergies or sensitive skin. Wool balls or even an old woolen sweater are safer bets that can be reused again and again. These dryer balls don’t contain toxic chemicals and perform the same functions as disposable sheets: they get rid of static cling and wrinkles, and soften clothes.

If you really like your dryer sheets or need to use up the ones you already have, it’s worth making them go further by reusing them before tossing them out. There are some pretty creative alternative uses to expended dryer sheets out there. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Scrub dirty pots. Clean stubborn messes off dirty pots and pans by placing a dryer sheet on the bottom and letting it soak in water overnight.
  • Remove pet hair. Wipe dryer sheets over rugs, furniture, clothing, or anywhere pet hair accumulates to quickly remove it.
  • Deodorize garbage cans. Line the bottom of garbage cans with old dryer sheets. They'll help absorb leaks and odors when you switch bags.
  • Repel bugs. Dryer sheets have insect-repelling properties; place them in the corners of rooms, on rafters, or anywhere you tend to see spider webs.
  • Freshen your shoes. Stuff a dryer sheet into the toes of your shoes to minimize odors and prolong the just-purchased smell.

SOURCES
Sierra Club
Seventh Generation
EcoWatch
Howstuffworks

Do you reuse or repurpose your dryer sheets? Or have you found a greener alternative? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Barbara C. 5 months ago
    I don't have a dryer, because I heard they ruin clothes. I hang my laundry outside in good weather. In inclement weather, I hang the laundry in an upstairs room where I've set up clotheslines. Much cheaper than spending money on a dryer and using so much electricity to run it.
  • Alicia W. 5 months ago
    I never use them since I'm allergic but I've heard aluminum foil can work for the static part... Haven't tried it.
  • karen s. 5 months ago
    I put used dryer sheets in my trash pails underneath the reusable trash bags.
  • Virginia S. 5 months ago
    I have been hanging out clothes for the last 49 yrs. The only time I use the dryer is for towels in the winter and o course socks. Takes.

    Takes too long to hang them. It is inconvenient, but planning ahead works. I believe we need to give evaporation a chance. Maybe that wlll help the drought areas!
  • Kate K. 5 months ago
    Or, you could make your own dryer sheets. All it takes is some white vinegar, essential oils of your preferred choice, fabric squares, measuring cup, and an air tight container. Look it up on Pintrest.
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