Note: This article on ways to reuse dryer sheets has been updated for 2022.
I have to admit that I enjoy figuring out new ways to use things. I’ve never thought much of the lowly dryer sheet (sometimes referred to as a fabric softener sheet), but have come to learn that it can do a lot of wonderful things — even after it’s been used. You may be surprised at the wide variety of ways to reuse dryer sheets and have them still be useful even after doing a dryer run. So, before you throw that dryer sheet into the trash, see if any of the following ways to reuse dryer sheets is one that makes sense for you.
It’s important to note that all of the following suggestions can be done with used dryer sheets. Because they have already gone through the dryer once, the fragrance they give off won’t be nearly as strong as new dryer sheets, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any fragrance at all (most will still retain quite a bit after a run through the dryer). Obviously, using new dryer sheets would defeat the purpose of coming up with ways to reuse them. If for some reason the used dryer sheets aren’t giving the fragrance that you desire, you can combine a few used dryer sheets together to create a stronger scent. It simply takes some experimenting on your part to see what works best for you.
First Step, Cut Your Dryer Sheets In Half
Since this is an article on ways to reuse and save money, the first step you probably want to take with your dryer sheets is to cut them in half while they are still new. Even half a sheet should adequately perform its duty in the dryer without any issues. If it doesn’t, you can go back to full sheets. If it does, you instantly save 50% on the cost of them since you only will have to use half as many dryer sheets as before. You may even want to experiment further to see if cutting them into thirds or fourths works for you and to save even more money.
Consider Buying Your Dryer Sheets in Bulk
If you are buying dryer sheets new consider getting them in bulk from an online retailer – you’ll save in gas costs and the time it takes you to get to the store and back. In this case, the Bounce Outdoor Fresh Dryer Sheets 320 Sheet Pack
is a good value, as is the 240 pack of Gain Dryer Sheets. These both retail for under $30 bucks on Amazon.com. If you cut these in half you’ll have 640 and 480 sheets respectively.
While all of these reuses probably won’t apply to you, even if you find a few where you can use them, you have given something that you would have thrown away a new life. Here are 50 possible ways to reuse your old dryer sheets:
Use It Again
This tip is one that will depend a lot on how you prefer your clothes as to whether it makes sense for you. Personally, I find that even after cutting a dryer sheet in half and using it once, I can use it a second time and still have my clothes come out fine (I don’t like my clothes overly soft although I do like them static free).
An important thing to remember is that if your clothes come out with a lot of static cling without a dryer sheet, you are probably drying your clothes too long (and wasting energy) When I don’t over-dry clothes, the dryer sheet works fine a second time, but not nearly as well when I accidentally over-dry them. Experiment a few times and you will quickly be able to determine how many times you can use a dryer sheet and still be satisfied with its effectiveness.
Freshen Diaper Bag
Keeping a few used dryer sheets in your diaper bag makes a lot of sense. Not only will it help keep the diaper bag fresh, but if you’re ever in a situation where you need to change a diaper and there’s no place to immediately throw the diaper away, you can stick one of the dryer sheets into the diaper when you roll it up. This will help to minimize the smell until you have a chance to throw the diaper away.
Reuse Your Dryer Sheets And Clean Paint Brushes
Used dryer sheets can be an effective way to clean paint brushes. Simply place the paintbrushes into a container with warm water and then place in a used dryer sheet. What can be a difficult time getting latex paint off of the brushes becomes amazingly simple, and the brushes should be clean within a few minutes.
Alternative Swiffer Mop Sheet
One of the most innovative and cost effective ways to reuse old dryer sheets is to use them in your Swiffer mop. The dryer sheets tend to be rather thin, so you may have to use a couple layers to make them more effective. Once on, they will pick up dirt, dust, and hair off the floor just as effectively as the sweeper mops do.
Create Art Pieces
Most people when looking at used dryer sheets can’t imagine that they could become something beautiful, but they can. With a little bit of work, they can be a wonderful medium used to create mix media art cloths or other art pieces. Don’t believe me? Take a look:
Make A Fire Starter
If you combine used dryer sheets with dryer lint, they can make an excellent fire starter. There are a number of ways these fire starter devices can be created, but one of the easiest is to take an old toilet paper or paper towel tube and fill it with the dryer sheets and lint. Once filled in the middle, fold the ends inward so that the contents are kept inside. You know have an instant fire starter. These work great in the fireplace or when building a camp fire.
Dust Your TV Screen
One of the nice benefits of dryer sheets are their anti-static properties which remain even after they have been used. because of this, they make for a wonderful way to remove dust and other particles from glass TV screens (do not use them if your TV screen is not glass). An added bonus is that using the dryer sheets
will help to repel dust from the screen in the future.
Wipe Up Messes
Dryer sheets are an effective way to clean up many types of dry messes. For example, if you accidentally spill flour while baking in the kitchen, it can be difficult to clean it up because it it so fine. Dryer sheets seem to attract the flour making the clean-up that much easier. They can be used on many dry spills like this.
If you have shoes that give off an odor that you aren’t particularly proud of, sticking used dryer sheets into the shoes after you wear them. This can help reduce the bad smell. While they may be less effective on really bad smelling shoes, they should eliminate or greatly reduce the odor of most mild shoe odor cases.
Keep Closets Smelling Fresh
If you want to keep the clothes hanging in your closet smelling fresh, simply add a few used dryer sheets to the closet. Instead of the clothes losing that fresh, newly dried fragrance, the used dryer sheets will have your clothes still smelling that way even after hanging in the closet for long periods of time.
Keep Clothes in Drawers Fresh
In the same way that dryer sheets will help the clothes in a closet to remain smelling fresh, you can also place used dryer sheets in the drawers of your dresser. Again, this will help all the clothes that are stored there to remain fresh and smell as if they have just come out of the dryer.
Freshen Up A Dirty Laundry Hamper
The reason that you have dirty clothes in your laundry hamper is because they need to be cleaned. Chances are that more than a few of them don’t smell all that great. By placing use dryer sheets into the laundry hamper after they have been used, this can help to reduce any smell emanating from the laundry until the dirty clothes in it can be washed.
Store In Luggage
The thing about luggage is that for many people it isn’t used very often. During those long absences between uses, luggage can begin to spell musty. By placing in a few used dryer sheets inside the pockets of any luggage you have, the luggage will remain smelling fresh until the next time you need to use it.
Create A Travel Barrier
Even better, the dryer sheets that you store in your luggage can then be used when you travel as a sort of scent barrier. Much like the laundry hamper, you will have a used clothes bag for all your dirty clothes when traveling. Place the dryer sheets into this dirty clothes bag to reduce smell and make sure that your clean clothes don’ take on the odor of the dirty clothes in the suitcase.
Keep Gym Bags Fresh
By far the best way to keep gym bags from smelling to to wash them regularly because they will absorb the smell and sweat from clothes placed in them over time. In between these washes, however, placing used dryer sheets into your gym bag can help keep the smell of the sweaty clothes to a minimum.
Make A Dress
While there are a lot of things that you may have imagined you could do with dryer sheets, creating a dress out of them probably didn’t cross your mind (it certainly didn’t cross mine). That didn’t stop someone from creating one. Seriously:.
Tangled threads often frustrate avid sewers. If you take a needle and thread and run it through a used dryer sheet, doing so will help to keep the thread from tangling or getting tied up in knots. For this reason. it makes sense to put a used dryer sheet or two with your sewing kit.
Pet Hair Remover
If you have pets, you know that one of the constant battles is the large amounts of pet hair that accumulates all over the house. Used dryer sheets can help solve this problem. If you have pet hair on your clothes, you can swipe a used dryer sheet
across them and it will pick up any pet hair on them. You can also use used dryer sheets on cloth furniture, and they will help capture any pet hair that has accumulated on it.
Computer Screen Cleaner
Any computers that has a glass screen is another good candidate to use use dryer sheets to clean it off. It’s important to remember that you do not want to use dryer sheets on non-glass screens as they can damage them. Used dryer sheets are also good to use to clean out any tiny hairs and particles that have settled around the keys in your keyboard.
Take Away the Musty Smell of Books and Magazines
Anyone who collect old books or magazines knows that many times when they’re picked up they’ll often come with a musty smell. There is an easy and effective way to get rid of this smell with used dryer sheets. Simply place a dryer sheet and the book (or magazine) inside a plastic bag and seal it shut for a few days. When you take the book out, all the musty odor will have disappeared.
If you want to freshen up your house a bit, you can do so while you are vacuuming killing two birds with one stone. Place a used dryer sheet in the bag of your vacuum or where the air is released. As the air flows through the vacuum and is released back into the air, it will go through the dryer sheet and make the whole house smell like newly dried clothes. Just remember – safety first. Don’t place the dryer sheet anywhere where it has the potential to start a fire or clog the vacuum airflow.
Some people claim that dryer sheets make a wonderful bug repellent. Due to the chemicals in the dryer sheet, you definitely don’t want to rub the used dryer sheet directly on your skin. Instead, place a dryer sheet in a belt loop or sticking out of a pocket when you are outdoors. This can help to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects.
Used dryer sheets do an amazing job at cleaning and polishing chrome. You can use them to touch up and clean the chrome on your car or any other chrome that you may have around the house such as faucets, shower heads and other chrome trimming that you want to sparkle.
Remove Soap Scum
One of the best places to use dryer sheets is in your bathroom. If you have a glass shower door, shower tile. plastic shower curtain or ceramic sink that has developed a layer of soap scum, a used dryer sheet will clean this right up. Simply put a few drops of water onto the dryer sheet and you should be able to easily rub away all the soap scum with little effort.
There really is no need to buy any car deodorizers when you can use your old dryer sheets to get the exact same fresh smell effect. Place a few old dryer sheets in hidden places around the car such as under mats or in seat pockets to help your car retain a clean and fresh smell.
Clean Glass Lenses
If you wear glasses and you have glass lenses, you can use the dryer sheet to clean them (if your lenses aren’t made of glass, don’t use dryer sheets as they can damage them). An added benefit is that the dryer sheets will help repel dust so that the glasses remain clean longer than if you simply wipe them off with a paper towel or other cloth.
Another craft that you can make out of old dryer sheets are flowers which can be used in a avariety of ways in your craft projects:
Hair Static Remover
If you ever find that you’re having one of those terrible static air days where your hair is flying all over the place, you can use an old dryer sheet to tame down your hair. Tucking one in your purse will not only help your purse remain fresh smelling, but you’ll also have it as an emergency hair static remover anytime that you need it throughout the day.
Dryer sheets make wonderful dusters on wood furniture. Because of all the nooks and crannies that the dryer sheets have (see photo at top of article), they are wonderful for picking up dust and other particles that gather on wood furniture. Many people feel that they are one of the best tools for dusting, and you can use them with or without dusting spray.
Window & Blind Cleaner
Old dryer sheets are also wonderful for cleaning blinds and windows. Due to their anti-static properties, not only do you get the blinds and windows clean, you also help to prevent them from getting as dirty in the future. People usually do not clean windows and blinds as often as they should, so this is a nice way to reuse dryer sheets.
One of the things that is always a problem, is trying to get all the dirt and dust that gathers in the corners by the baseboards in your house.
Old dryer sheets repel dust and dirt. Just wipe up all the hair, dirty and pet dander that accumulates around your baseboards. This will keep the dirt from accumulating on your baseboards. This makes mopping or vacuuming easier because the dirt isn’t stuck to the baseboard.
There are some people that swear that old dryer sheets are a great scissor cleaning tool. If your scissors aren’t cutting as well as they should be, a quick cleaning with an old dryer sheet may help refurbish them so that they cut clean again.
Removing Static Cling
This one should not come as a surprise. One of the main reasons that people use dryer sheets in the first place is to reduce static cling in clothes. Even after they have run through the dryer, the used dryer sheets still retain this property. If you find that clothes have developed some static cling, you can lightly wipe the old dryer sheet over these clothes and it will get rid of any static that the clothes may have.
Work Area Cleaner
It may be strange to think about this considering that dryer sheets tend to appear to be fairly delicate, but they are a great item to keep around the garage workplace. If you do any type of wood work, old dryer sheets are great at picking up sawdust. Keep a stash where you do your work and you’ll always have them handy when you need to do a quick clean-up.
One of the more unusual ways to use old dryer sheets is to clean off pots and pans that have well cooked food residue stuck to them. Fill the pots with warm water and then drop an old dryer sheet into the water. Leave the pots to soak overnight. The chemicals in the dryer sheet that help to soften clothes will loosen the baked on food particles on any pots or pans. If you do use this method, be sure to thoroughly rinse these cookware after you have finished because of these chemicals.
Cleaning The Dryer Lint Trap
For those of you who want to use the dryer sheets again, but don’t want to make much of an effort in doing so, there is a simple solution. Empty the lint trap once your clothes are finished drying. After you empty the trap, wipe out any hard to get lint using the used dryer sheet. Voila! Your dryer lint trap is clean!
You can also clean the top of your dryer with the used sheet. Just add a few drops of water to the dryer sheet and use it to wipe down the inside and top of the washer. By getting into this habit, your washer and dryer will always be sparkling clean, and you have reused the dryer sheet in an effective way without a whole lot of effort.
Removing Deodorant from Clothes
Some people claim that used dryer sheets are an effective way to remove the white deodorant dust that sometimes sticks to your close while you are dressing. Lightly swipe the sheet over any area of the clothes that has the white deodorant residue, and the dryer sheet should pick it right off the clothes.
Preventing Trash Odors
If you are one of those people who don’t take out your trash quite as often as you should, placing a used dryer sheet into the bottom of the trashcan can help to prevent food odors from filling the kitchen until you have a chance to take the trash out. It’s important to note that this odor prevention will not work on a long-term basis, but it should keep your garbage from smelling too badly in between trips to the outside garbage can.
Removing Bugs on Windshield
Anyone who has taken a long road trip knows that when you finally make it back home there is usually an abundance of bug splats on the car windshield. Old dryer sheets are an effective way to clean away these bug splats. Simply put a few drops of water on to the dryer sheet and you can scrub all those dead bugs away with little effort.
Reuse Dryer Sheets In Your Scrapbook
For those who enjoy doing scrapbook projects, used dryer sheets can be a wonderful way to add texture to a scrapbook. If you reuse dryer sheets you can also make the scrapbook smell fresh after its been in storage for a while.
Keep Pillows Fresh
There has probably been a time when you have accidentally had a dryer sheet get into a pillow case while clothes were drying where it unknowingly remained after you had taken everything out. You end up going to bed with an amazingly fresh smelling pillow every night. If you are one of those people who enjoy this fresh from the dryer smell, you can create it on purpose rather than by accident. Place a used dryer sheet into the pillowcase before putting over the pillow. Every time you go to bed it will smell like the pillowcases has come straight out of the dryer.
Fresh Sleeping Bags
A wonderful way to help keep sleeping bags smelling fresh, and not like campfire smoke or dirty tents, is to place used dryer sheets into the sleeping bag each time you pack them away. This is especially effective for those who don’t use their sleeping bags very often, and helps keep the sleeping bag from developing a musty odor.
Fresh Smelling Tents
Just like sleeping bags, you can help to keep your camping tent fresh by placing a few used dryer sheets into it every time you pack it away. This will help keep your tent properly stored as well as prevent rodents or other vermin from living in it.
For those of you that have kids, some say old dryer sheets can be an effective way to get crayon marks off of wood furniture. If you try this, just be sure to be careful not to rub too hard because you don’t want to damage the wood.
Clean Hair Clippings
If you trim your hair from time to time in the bathroom, you know what a mess small hair droppings all over the sink area can make. An old dryer sheet will easily wipe all those hair droppings away. It’s also effective in cleaning up any gunk that may have built up in the sink or on the countertop.
Old dryer sheets are an effective bathroom freshener. Take the used dryer sheet and place it inside the toilet paper roll tube as it hands on the toilet paper dispenser. Every time that you pull sheets of toilet paper off the role, the roll will spin sending out some of the dryer sheet fresh scent into the bathroom.
If you would like to have your bed smell fresh all the time, place some old dryer sheets onto the bed before you put down the mattress cover or the bottom sheet. This will give your whole bed that fresh dryer scent each and every night.
Another great way to reuse dryer sheets is to repel rodents. Apparently, most rodents do not like the smell of dryer sheets. Because of this, you can use dryer sheets to keep squirrels, rats, mice, and any other small rodents away from areas where you don’t want them to be. This is especially effective if you have small spaces where these rodents tend to squeeze into. Simply place some old dryer sheets into these cracks and you should no longer have that rodent problem.
Office Cubicle Freshener
You don’t have to keep all your dryer sheets for use at home. If you want your office cubicle to the smell fresh, bring some of your old dryer sheets to work and place them in a inconspicuous places around your cubicle to keep it smelling fresh. This way you won’t need to go out and buy expensive air freshener.
For More Great Saving Advice Articles, Consider These:
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(Photo courtesy of seannaber)
Jeffrey strain is a freelance author, his work has appeared at The Street.com and seekingalpha.com. In addition to having authored thousands of articles, Jeffrey is a former resident of Japan, former owner of Savingadvice.com and a professional digital nomad.