Dryer sheets….do we really need them?

Dryer sheets? Do we even need a dryer? I grew up in a household where we never used dryer sheets and hung our clothes on a clothesline. My husband grew up using both.

He’s been a real champ when it comes to a lot of the things I do–like refusing to dry clothes in the dryer or demanding we use grey water to flush the toilet. (He also eats everything I cook!) Many men wouldn’t go along with my green ways. My man was green in other ways when I met him. He preferred to use the Metro in D.C. (which made me horribly nauseous) rather than drive and was the one who introduced me to the world of composting. So, I feel when we married, amateur environmentalism was born.

We’ve been nurturing this baby and watching it grow between us. It’s exciting, rewarding, and quite the challenge. I would equate it to having a child or following a religion–in extreme terms of course. I do realize raising a child is a much tougher feat!

But there are still things we argue and struggle with.

Like dryer sheets.

I see absolutely no need for them. I see no need for ever using a dryer either.  My clothes rarely have static cling, and I think ironing is relaxing. My husband complains his cotton t-shirts he wears for work  get stretched out and need to be shrunk so we don’t have to turn around and buy new ones. I can see his point. Constant, new t-shirts would be a lot of waste. I’ve also heard it’s good to dry sheets and towels on high heat to kill bacteria. And I do….though not every time. We haven’t died yet.

So, in an attempt to compromise, I decided to try the Bounce bar. I figured it would last longer and not have all those wasteful dryer sheets that can’t be composted. Because we rarely ever dry clothes, the thing has lasted well over a year.

The package can be recycled, unless your town won’t recycle paper board, which ours does not. I guess the thing that bothers me is that our sheets, towels, and his t-shirts are still getting chemicals in them. And the plastic when the bar is finally finished is not recyclable. Granted, they do offer refill bars, so there is no plastic after the initial purchase. But do we really NEED this? I mean, my grandparents and their grandparents lived just fine without dryer sheets or Bounce bars.

What do you think? Is it a consumer trick to make us feel “comforted” because our clothes smell “clean?” Is it cleanliness we’re actually smelling or some sort of chemical perfume that smells like rain or sunshine? Is it needed? Are dryer sheets something you’d rather not give up? Does the smell bring you fond childhood memories like it does for my husband? What can you do with them once they’ve served their purpose? Do they make compostable ones?

And my biggest qualm: is it waste?

The darn thing lasts forever, but that's not the point.


20 responses to “Dryer sheets….do we really need them?

  1. I don’t use dryer sheets, I think they put a weird “film” on clothes… plus in addition to weird chemicals, most are also made with animal fat, which is just kind of gross.

    You can make clothes smell good without dryer sheets by putting soap bars or little satchels of potpourri type stuff (you can get them at Trader Joe’s, they have scents like lavender, jasmine, etc) in dresser drawers, closets, etc. I have some friends who even put the potpourri satchels in the dryer with their clothes and tumble on low heat to make sure they smell a little.

    They do make eco-friendly dryer sheets. You can buy vegetable based and bio-degradable ones. They aren’t cheap, though.

    • I never thought of putting the satchels in the dryer with the clothes….very interesting idea there. The satchels last forever, why not use them in the dryer?
      So, they do have bio-degradable ones. I bought bio-degradable trash bags, and they aren’t cheap either. But that’s good that they make them! Thanks for that info!

  2. I do not like using my dryer at all. I do have one but it is only used in the middle of winter if I really need to get something dried quickly. I don’t use dryer sheets, possibly because they are not available in BG, but also because I love to see my weekly wash fluttering in the breeze, all pegged out on the line. Nothing smells sweeter than fresh air.
    Hiya, Jennifer, hope that you are both keeping well…love P

    • I don’t like using mine either. I think it’s a waste of energy when you have free wind outside. I read a post from a woman who claimed if it’s both a windy and sunny day, your clothes will even dry in the snow. I would have never thought! Mental note–I’ll have to do a post about laundry!
      Thanks for reading Misswhiplash. We’re doing great here. The weather is finally cooling down. I’m still reading your weekly posts. You post so much more than me!! (My inspiration!)

  3. I am actually the opposite of the previous commenters. I do use dryer sheets and until I read your post never thought of them as being completely wasteful! We grew up on using dryer sheets, not really for the smell but because of the static cling. We live in Colorado and it can be extremely dry. My hubby also likes to dry his clothes on high heat. I think he feels like pulling warm clothes out of the dryer is what makes them feel clean. The problem, however, is his shirts fade quickly, and any stretchy material dries up and cracks. What we do is use a dryer sheet multiple times. It is rumored that a dryer sheet will also help reduce static cling in your hair 🙂

    • Pulling on warm clothes in winter is nice and toasty. I grew up in south GA and the winters did get cold. I remember my mother warming our clothes over the space heater when we were little before we put them on, or placing our pants in the oven while she made toast. (Just to get them warm.) I was about four. Once, while she was in the back tending to my baby brother, I put my own clothes in the oven, feeling very grown-up. I either forgot about them or I turned them up too high and they caught on fire! I do remember that! ha! ha! I can laugh now. But it was not funny at the time!
      I also used the dryer sheets mulitiple times until there was almost nothing left before I switched to the bar. I never really had a problem with static cling though unless I put stuff in the dryer. If I dry it on the line, I don’t have any. Though I realize, not everyone likes to iron! Good to hear you use them more than once. 🙂

    • Oh, and I liked the static cling in your hair bit! 🙂 Made me smile.

  4. Pingback: Assessment: Hot Tools Skilled Ionic Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer | Hairdryers

  5. you’re welcome 🙂 Have you thought about making your own laundry detergent as well?

  6. Ingredients:
    1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap ( Ivory and Zote will also work)
    ½ cup washing soda
    ½ cup borax powder
    2 gallons water

    Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda (NOT baking soda) and the borax. Stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into a 2-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours until it gels. Use a ½ cup detergent per load of laundry.

    I pour the gel into my old loundry detergent bottles. I actually need to make a blog post about it. I haven’t done that yet 🙂
    Today I found out how to make your own washing soda instead of buying it. Don’t know if it works. will see when I make my next loundry detergent (it seems like tomorrow) 🙂

    Here is the link for making washing soda:

    good luck!

    • Oh, this is so fun! Thank you so much! When I run out, I’m SO going to try making this! Thanks. :)Let me know how the washing soda turns out for you! And yes, do a post about it. I’ll link it to my next post about laundry.

  7. I’ve used baking soda in my previous batch but it didn’t work good. It’s really hard to get washing soda in my area, so when I found out about making it I was thrilled… . I’ll let you know how it turned out.
    Have a great evening!

  8. do you really even need drier sheets? seriously.

  9. Fabric softener disgusts me

    I hate dryer sheets. When we were growing up my mom insisted we use them, but I saw no difference in the static cling levels in the loads we put them in and the ones we forgot to put them in. They all came out with static. I also hate dryers all together. I have one and quite honestly only really use it a couple times a year at most (when I get sick and can’t keep up with chores). I can actually smell the rubber in clothes burning even when I have the dryer on low heat. It was the same with every dryer I smelled from the time I was little until now. The clothes coming out of the dryer stink ESPECIALLY with the smell of fabric softener. After a while of using fabric softener, it starts to smell rancid to me and no amount of washing will get that smell out.

    Needless to say, as soon as I left home, I gave up fabric softener in ALL its evil forms. Besides, fabric softeners have way too many dangerous chemicals in them that could get in my body. No thanks.

  10. John Morgan

    Dryer sheets, and fabrics that have been treated by them, make me sick. I never use them. I also have no static problems because I only buy 100% cotton or as close to 100% as possible. Polyester is what builds up static electricity.

Tell me what you think. I don't get to answer comments like I did before baby but I read every single comment. And they really make my day!

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