Giving "Bounce" Dryer Sheets the Bounce!

At the risk of annoying you with yet another “tale from my laundry room”, I have one more D.I.Y. laundry idea I have been using for a couple of weeks now that I just have to share. I’m hoping you will humor me. :-)

I have been buying Bounce Dryer Sheets as long as I can remember. LOVE the smell! Never really even considered an alternative until I started making my own laundry detergent. This cast a rather unflattering light on all those little dryer sheets I was using and throwing away each week.

I had seen a couple of D.I.Y. fabric softener sheets ideas before…but they all seemed to me to be just a bit too much work than they were worth.  So, I actually came up with this idea all by my little self!  (Although I realize that most likely it is not an original idea…I’m sure it’s floating around out there on the internet somewhere…I just haven’t come across it yet.)

A drawer full of new dishcloths!
One of life’s little pleasures!

I got the idea when I decided to “splurge” on a new stack of bar mop dishcloths. (I know, I’m wild and crazy sometimes!)  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE these things!

I started using them several years ago and I’ll never go back to fancy dish towels. They are super absorbent and I love that I can buy a whole stack of them for cheap and not feel guilty about grabbing a clean one whenever I feel like it.  I tend to go through a lot of them.  I have this “thing” about using “dirty” dishcloths for too long.

But I digress…………

My OLD dishcloths don’t look that bad in this picture,
but trust me, they were nasty!

So, because I had a whole bunch of OLD dishcloths to get rid of, I decided to cut them up into small squares and toss them in a container with some fabric softener to use as dryer sheets.  I had a bottle of Febreeze scented Downy hanging around, so I used that.  (LOVE Febreeze!)

Now each time I put a load of clothes in the dryer, I just grab one of the little DIY dryer sheets out of the container, wring it out little bit, and throw it in with the load. When the load is dry (including the dryer sheet) I just drop it back in the container.  No need to even wash these babies.

Since it was my own idea and not from some “expert”, I hesitated to share it before I thoroughly tried it out, but I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now and am super happy with the results.  I think they are even better than the disposable dryer sheets.  My towels, etc feel softer and, of course, smell wonderful!  I’m sold.

So there you go….once again I have written probably WAY more than necessary about this particular topic, but I know there has to be others out there that obsess about laundry as much as I do. :-)

I promise to lay off the laundry blogging for awhile. Well, I’ll try.

And that’s…..

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  1. Anonymous says

    I started making my homemade detergent, fabric softener sheets, etc last year and I use pieces of scrap fleece I had leftover. I also have started using an old fork to get it out of the container (which I use the exact one you are using) and I wrap it around the fork to squeeze out the excess. You only need to use your thumb and finger to do that. And I am so OCD that I kept track of my use. One container like what we use can do 65 loads of laundry and for me that's only 1 cup of softener and the rest water. I would also like to point out that I use white vinegar for my rinse cycle.

  2. MsCupCakeGirl says

    I think you could use some sort of perfume oil to your laundry detergent and fabric softner… Then the whole house and your clothes would smell like Vanilla Cupcakes which is my fav… I'm STOKED about this idea… Homemade laundry stuff, here I come!!! Wooo too the Hooo

      • Bonnie says

        Really good idea…why DO we hang on to those socks anyway?! I just threw a bunch out because we moved and I was in that kind of mood…but it doesn’t take long to have a few laying around. Thanks for the idea!

        • jenny says

          I don’t keep the socks. I just toss them and buy new ones. I am OCD about soft new socks. I think the world should be slippered in soft white new socks. LOL. wish I was rich enough to buy new ones once a week. wear and toss. LOL. dang lazy. OK really though if you want to soften clothes like t’s and socks… do this… disolve once cup sea water in the HOT HOT HOT water and put what you want softened in the washer. RUN a small load on HOT for wash and when the tub fills before it agitates dump the salt water in there and let it sit for an hour or so. OK… run the washer the rest of the way through the spin cycle and start it over with a larger tub of water and your detergent. IF you have a new fancy washer that don’t let you do the above… use your sink plugged. YOU will just need to squeeze excess out to drag to washer for the wash load.

          • Leslie says

            Lol… that’s funny. I had an ex who did that. He worked at Big Lots at the time, and every paycheck bought a bag of their super cheap socks (I’m pretty sure he was getting a dozen for a buck or so). He’d wear them once and throw them out because he felt like all people should have a chance in their lives at least once to wear nothing but fresh, clean, new socks right out of the bag…. and it was his time.
            I took to grabbing them out and donating them at least! But, it was still funny.

    • AMoore says

      I’ve been using a sock for 10 years. I just pour on a little fabric softener, perhaps a tablespoon, rub the material together to soak up the liquid and toss it in the dryer. I don’t care too much for most fabric softener scents (too flowery), so I don’t reload it every time, maybe every 4 or 5 washes. Eventually the sock will get stained all grey, but it makes it easy to pick out of the whites and all those other socks that way. And after a LONG, LONG time (like I’m on my third sock), the sock will fall to pieces, but there is never a shortage of unmatched socks just waiting their turn to be useful. This also makes your fabric softener last for a LOT longer than pouring it into the washer.

  3. Anonymous says

    I can't remember a time my Mother didn't do this, and she passed away 10 years ago. Just a quick note, when using this method, wash your dryer vent on a regular basis. The softener can build up on the vent reducing the air flow and making your dryer work harder.

    • Margery says

      Had a repair man out recently to work on my washer and gave me some helpful hints about things. One of the things he told me about was the film that builds up on the dryer vent from fabric softeners. He said it reduces how well your dryer performs in addition to being a fire hazard. He ran water over mine to see how much beading there was and thankfully there was little but he told me to be sure to rinse it on a regular bases to avoid having to replace parts that burned out having to work overtime to dry. He also said he does more house calls and replacements for people using those pods. He said they will desolve in water but it takes really hot water to do it effeciently or quickly and even with heating elements they do not wash away well and end up clogging the pumps in dishwashers and washers.

  4. zoe says

    can i just ask, because its not really a "normal"thing here in australia to use dryer sheets, ( actually most people rarely use the dryers unless its rainy season) why dont you just put your softener in the washing machine?
    if the softener is "in"the clothes before they get to the dryer you wouldnt need the sheets
    we never do?

  5. Jill Nystul says

    zoe…I think the reason dryer sheets became popular in the first place is because not many washing machines had an automatic fabric softener dispenser in them and so you would have to "babysit" your load of laundry waiting for the last rinse cycle so you could add the liquid softener. Dryer sheets just became much more convenient. Unfortunately, convenience usually means we end of sacrificing somewhere else.

  6. CAS says

    I've kind of been doing this. I just took an old soft cotton dishtowel (didn't cut it up), soaked it in some fabric softener, squeezed out the excess, & then toss it into the dryer with towels (I only use it for towels & sheets). When the clothes are dry, I just fold up the softener towel & stow it away until the next batch. It will last through quite a few loads without re-soaking. I just toss it in the load dry. I may try your method, too!

  7. Cindi says

    I have seen this idea on Pinterest but some say you don't have to keep resoaking the towel in the fabric softener…It's suppose to last for several weeks ???? Maybe you could try it and that could save you a little on the fabric softener.

  8. Lexe says

    I love this idea! You are inspiring me to go paperless, aside from toilet paper. Paper towels, paper napkins, dryer sheets- bye bye.
    Recently found your blog from Pinterest, bookmarked you and started following. Thank you!

  9. Jill Nystul says

    CAS and Cindi…that idea definitely has merit. I'm definitely going give it a try and see if I notice a difference. Wow…that would mean I would NEVER finish using this bottle of Downy I've been using for MONTHS!!!!! :-)

    Lexe….Thank you! I'm so glad you like the blog (yay for Pinterest!). You will not be sorry you tried the paperless thing. I wish I'd done it long ago. Thanks for leaving a comment and I hope you keep coming back! :-)

    • jenny says

      liquid softener… try this and you will use it up quick as a flick… lol…
      2 cups hot water
      mix in 2 teaspoons baking soda
      add 1/2 cup fabric softener.
      swish. Pour into a water bottle that has a mister. Walk around and spray your drapes or furnature or rug just like you would fabreeze… BY BY pricy air fresheners… hello my new world. Found that over at Lizzies tips for everyday living on facebook.

  10. AZSUN says

    I gave up bounce sheets years ago. I just mix 2 parts water, 1 part softener in a spray bottle, put clothes in dryer, a few sprays and dry away. Clothes are soft, and never a stain. My dryer is 18 years old. No problems.

    • Suni says

      This sounds so perfect. I have a 9 month old and a new baby due in 8 weeks. I’m always looking for the EASIEST way for my older kids to help. (by older I mean 5, 6 and 9) I can’t ask them to wring fabric softener out of socks and washclothes (although those sound like great ideas also) because I would end up with Downy EVERYWHERE and it would be gone in days. But I can say “three squirts of this and press start.”

  11. Anonymous says

    i went to walmart to get a few thing to make the laundry detergent and went through the checkout and the cashier said "someones making their own laundry detergent" it surprised me. lol. she said she does it and loves it!

    • Carol says

      The reasons I went homemade was to eliminate commerciali and chemicals so was disappointed your hade bounce was just going back to fab softener chical build-up and buying the first item I started making. Will try the homemade version of fab softener spritz in dryer as I am getting stiff towels

  12. Anonymous says

    this is awesome! I am just about out of dryer sheets, and earlier today thought "uugghh" when I looked at the 1/2 bottle of liquid sitting there and thinking I need to get sheets fast so I don't need to mess with the stuff! LOL so I will definitely be trying this!

  13. The Crazy World of Donna* says

    Ok you all have inspired me…I hate I didn't see this yesterday as I purchased detergent and softener yesterday…But I will be gathering my ingredients and making my clothes washing supplies over the next month…I have thought for years that the containers and the prices were just ridiculous on these items…Thanks Ladies and please keep sharing ;)

  14. Amanda says

    I use a pack of sponges instead of dish cloths and water my downy down 2 parts water and 1 part downy and it works wonders, clothes come out smelling like downy, static free, and my downy last a little longer. When they come out of dryer I just throw the sponges back into jar.

  15. Angela says

    Just wanted to pass on some knowledge….using softner on towels isn’t recommended because it coats the towels (it never get rinsed out) and slowly makes the towel non-absorbent. I used dryer balls in the dryer to make my clothes and towels soft! I haven’t noticed them more “rough” since I have started using the dryer balls instead of the softner! I love all your ideas, thanks!

      • Tamsyn says

        I have 2 kinds of the dryer balls. The ones with “spikes” eventually break down and the ones with sponges inside are still intact but I use all four balls in every load anyway because they sometimes get caught in pant legs or shirt arms, so I figure it doesn’t hurt to have a couple more. As for the fabric softener, I use white vinegar in a Downy ball in my washer. My clothes are soft enough for our sensitive skin (even our 2 year old). :)

        • naomi winkel says

          I’ve used the same tennis balls since last year that I use in my dryer. I tried the dryer balls for many years and the spikes kept breaking off. I thought why not try tennis balls, so I did. Walmart only sells tennis balls certain times of the year, so buy them when you can. I think I bought 3 tennis balls in a tube for $2-$3. I try to have at least 4-5 tennis balls in the dryer at a time, that way if a tennis ball gets in clothing I always have extra to spare.

    • Liz E. says

      White vinegar works wonders in too-soft/smelly towels. I started having a similar problem with my washcloths a few years ago when I switched to a creamy body wash–they reeked and definitely had a “coat” of residue on them. I put about 1/2 cup (I don’t measure) of white distilled vinegar in every load of towels. If a particular batch needs an extra boost I’ll add in more. Vinegar is cheap and it’s a towel-saver!

    • Sarah says

      I totally agree. I have super sensitive skin and switched to dryer balls about 5 years ago when I found out fabric softener is among the most toxic house hold chemicals and can cause serious skin irritation! Now I use a natural lavender scented laundry detergent and the plastic dryer balls now. My clothes still come out soft and static free and my skin is irritation free :)

    • Lisa says

      Impressed with you, Angela. As a former textiles student, I kept asking myself — why is everyone making their towels less absorbent! The dryer balls are great — I used them all the time.

      • Cindy says

        I use dryer balls that I made myself from 100% wool yarn. I found the directions on the Internet. The balls work great. I also made a spray bottle with 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water with a few drops of essential oil that I spray on an old cloth and put in the dryer with the homemade balls. I love not using any chemicals. I want to try the homemade laundry detergent. I have been using Soap Nuts liquid for a couple of years, it works great too.

  16. Anna says

    I love the dryer sheet idea and have been using it for a couple of months now. But, Ive notice the sheet will stain my clothes with the blue downey and/or leave what looks like grease spots. Anyone else have this problem? Am I doing something wrong?

    • Sharon says

      Hi Anna.. Yes, I had the same results with stains from the dryer sheets.. They look like a grease stain.. I had to re-wash the stained ones a couple times and it did come out.. just to make sure, I tried a new load and same thing… so, I am going to stick to the homemade fabric softener in the rinse water and not in the dryer.. My husband says his shirts are softer than the Downy with the homemade softener… so happy with that….

      • Melissa says

        I also had the grease stains. Another good way is to soak the towel in the diluted mixture (2:1) and remove the towel. Wring it out and allow it to DRY COMPLETELY. Then you can throw it into the dryer and reuse it until you feel it’s no longer working its magic. Keeping a couple of dry ones on hand also helps out.

    • Anna says

      I have about 20 sheet squares in an ice cream bucket with 3/4 bottle of Downey in it. I take a sheet and ring it out and throw it into the dryer. I do not dilute the Downey. Should I?

  17. says

    Anna and Charlotte….I dilute my Downy because it is so thick and I just don’t think you need that much softener to make a difference. I use roughly 1/2 and 1/2….Downy and water.
    When I take a rag out that has been soaking in the solution…I wring it out REALLY WELL and then place it in the dryer, making sure not to set it on top of any clothes, then start the dryer. I have not had any problems with stains or spots. Hope this helps!

  18. Lynne N says

    I was thinking that this could be diluted, since the fabric softener is supposed to go in the rinse cycle, and part is run down the drain anyway. The canning jar is a great way to try this one out. I will let you know how this goes. It should be a real cost saver.

  19. Sharada says

    just an FYI I have learned over the years don’t use fabric softner on towels use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead and they will still be soft but absorbant- ths fabric softner builds up over time and takes some of the absorbancy away – I know lots of spelling errors but I am not worried baout that right now-LOL

  20. Hannah Mullen says

    My friend gave me a great recipe for fabric softener:

    2 cups of conditioner – I used white rain (99cents) Ocean Mist scent
    3 cups distilled white vinegar
    6 cups water
    shake shake shake
    It really smells great!!!

  21. Ashley says

    I love these ideas! I can’t wait to try them. I have been telling my fiance’s mom how I want to start making my own things to save money & since I have a family that is always a good thing! I found everything I want to on your site with out having to go to 100 different websites! Thank you! :)

  22. Marlo says

    This also works well with a sponge. The only thing I don’t like is the wringing. My husband also does laundry, and I don’t see him getting his hands all goo-ey and stinky to do this. But, it does work- I did our laundry this way this weekend. I like the sponge because it obviously doesn’t belong in the laundry…so it’s chances of making it back into the container are much better than a white washcloth- that in this house is likely to just get folded up and put back in the drawer!

  23. Kelli says

    You all probably already know this, but I just discovered that you should NOT put fabric softener in a metal container. I made up a batch of your homemade fabric softener and stored it in a #10 can with a lid. NOT a good idea. The softener corrodes the metal. Best to use only plastic containers!
    Also, I’ve been using old baby washcloths and I soak them, wring them, and stick them in a Ziploc. Then I don’t have to wring them out every load. I only have to get my hands dirty once in a while!

  24. Jennifer Ward says

    Like the idea of the bar towels. I have tried this where you take and mix part fabric softener, part water and store in a closed container. Then you use cheap sponges that have been cut in half. I usually add about three sponges to a large dryer load. Just wring them out a bit and toss them in with the load, then when done put them back in the bucket and use the additonal sponges that remain in the bucket for the next load.( Too much fabric softener will reduce the cling of the lint in the lint catch, so using these methods you have to make sure the lint isn’t falling off and going into the machine and wall vent. Fire hazard!)

  25. Jayne McGinnis says

    What are bar towels.?checked out the amazon website in the UK but the towels weren’t listed.absolutely love this site – I’m getting addicted to cleaning so it’s no bad thing.

  26. Regina says

    Thanks for the idea. I’m going to try to make the mixture using Aveno products. My daughter has very sensitive skin and we are very limited on what we can use to wash/dry our cloths. Excited!

  27. Susie says

    I have been mixing just vinegar & downy…….the conditioner wasn’t doing the job and since I was using vinegar in the rinse I just diluted the downy about 1 part concentrated downy to 4 parts vinegar in the rinse cycle. Its working fabulously !

  28. Nancy D says

    Love your blog. I had trouble with “grease spots” on dark clothes. DD works at Walmart so I have a lot of Navy Blue tops…:). Your bar mop and others sock ideas are great! (I understand the addiction by the way). But I thought I’d share what I ended up doing. I filled a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 fab softener and I got Trader Joe’s Amazing Kitchen Cloths (they’re thick and absorbent) and cut them in 1/2. I’m lucky enough to have a cabinet over my washer and I have a normal clothes hanger on the knob. What I do is spray the cloth with the spray and put it on the hanger (the two 1/2 cloths fit perfectly on the hanger). It dries a bit (or completely)…then throw one in when I dry clothes, when it comes out, hang it back up. They don’t need resprayng for a couple of loads. I like the cloths because I was also having problems with lint on dark clothes too if I cut up rags or used something like terry cloth.

  29. Sarah says

    I grew up with my mom doing this! She would mix 1/2 softener with 1/2 water in an old margarine tub. Then she would put in sponge pieces (a pack of sponges from the $1 store cut into quarters). For each load she would grab a sponge, squeeze out the excess, and toss it in the wash. We thought it was fun to help her find the sponges later while folding the laundry ;) They would get tossed back into the tub to soak until the next load.

  30. Crystal says

    hi there! I’m a new house owner and LOVE your ideas!! I have a question regarding the DIY dryer sheet: so you just use liquid softner soaked in used washcloths then tossed them in? how much softner do you soak them in?

  31. says

    Thank you so much for your amazing posts like this! I have a blog I’ve been working on, so that I can build a community (eventually) and later set up my own home business. Tips from your site are amazing, and have really helped me out many a time when I wasn’t able to come up with something to post that day! Of course, I always credit back to you though :)

  32. Kristen Kiersey says

    Hi Jillee!
    I love your posts and all your great ideas!
    I hate however the new backdrop. It’s hard to read your blog with all the different colored background. Please restore the old backdrop!!

  33. Sis Kinney says

    I LOVE your homemade solutions! I’ve been doing the cloths soaking in a tub of fabric softener + water for many, many years. Unless one has a new fancy front-loading dryer that prohibits dryer sheets, these are great and very economical!!

    Keep up the great writing!


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