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 that used dryer sheets can be reused to still be useful even after doing a dryer run. I thought I might be able to discover 10 ways to reuse dryer sheets, but was surprised to find there were many more used than that. So before you throw that dryer sheet into the trash, see if any of the following 50 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 how many work best for you at the task you are trying to complete.
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 you did before. You may even want to experiment further to see if cutting them into thirds or fourths works for you and saves even more money.
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.
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 take them out of the dryer and then use them on 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 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.
For those who enjoy sewing, one of the most frustrating aspects is when the sewing thread gets tangled. 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 making sewing a lot more enjoyable. 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. Use 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 keyboards and clean out any tiny hairs and particles that have settled around the the keys.
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, it will smell as fresh as new and 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 make sure that if you are doing this, you don’t place the dryer sheet anywhere where he 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 and 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. Since windows and blinds usually don’t get cleaned as often as they should, this can be a nice benefit.
Base Board Cleaner
One of the things that is always a problem, especially houses with pets, is trying to get all the dirt and dust that gathers in the corners by the baseboards in your house. If you use an old dryer sheet to clean all the baseboards, an added effect is that the dirt, dust and pet hair that gathers around them will be repelled away so that most of it ends up being an inch away from the baseboard. This makes it much easier when you’re mopping or vacuuming to get clean-up all the dust than if it was stuck close 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 and eliminate 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 at your workstation.
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. Once you’re clothes finish drying, empty the lint trap. Once this is done, take the used dryer sheet to wipe out any hard-to-get lint that remains trapped inside the lint trap. You can also dust off the top of your dryer, and if you add a few drops of water, you can clean any soap residue that was left in 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 garbage can outside.
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.
For those who enjoy doing scrapbook projects, used dryer sheets can be a wonderful way to add texture to a scrapbook. They also have the added benefit of making the scrapbook to smell fresh even when it is tucked away for long periods of time.
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. If this is ever happened to you, you also know that when this happens, 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 and 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 smelling fresh by placing a few used dryer sheets into it every time you pack it away. This will ensure that the next time you use your tent it will smell fresh rather than smelling like all the old things which happened to get dragged into it on your last camping trip.
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 after you’re done. 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 can be used as 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, whichever you prefer. This will give your whole bed that fresh dryer scent each and every night.
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 without having to go out and buy expensive air freshener.
(Photo courtesy of seannaber)