Saturday, May 19, 2012

Make Your Own {Reusable} Dryer Sheets!

I’ve been using my own homemade “dryer sheets” for about 9 months now and have been very happy with the method.

But even though I may be an “old dog”…I can be taught “new tricks”. :-)  When I saw this idea from Heather at Living On Love and Cents recently I decided it was worth trying something new.

The thing that appealed to me most about this idea was it eliminates the fishing out and squeezing dry step. Which, to be honest, doesn’t really bother me, but then again…it’s not necessarily my favorite thing either. :-)

 

So, here is my updated version of “Homemade Dryer Sheets” for your consideration.

I decided to start with 4 white dishrags I already had on hand in my stash. (I have a “thing” for white dish towels and rags from Walmart. It’s just one of those things I can’t really explain.)

I happened to have JUST ENOUGH Downy Fabric Softener left in this bottle to make this work. I have literally had this bottle for over a year because I dilute it so much I hardly use any of it.

I thoroughly soaked all four dish rags with full strength Downy. (You can use whatever kind you want. I think next time I will try my Homemade Fabric Softener. Don’t know why that didn’t occur to me until just now!  DUH!)

Allow the towels to dry THOROUGHLY!  I took mine outside and draped them over a plastic chair.  Even in this uber dry state I live in…they took awhile to dry COMPLETELY.  Of course it didn’t help that a RAINSTORM came through and blew the chair over and got the towels WET!  ugh.  I finished the drying process indoors. :-)  Here they are hanging from my mini-clothesline in my laundry room.

Throw one sheet in with a load of clothes. You should be able to use each dryer sheet a dozen times or more, before it needs to be dipped and dried again

So I have used this new method on about 4 different loads of clothes now and have been very pleased with the results. Clothes are VERY soft and VERY nice smelling. :-) But MORE importantly (and the MAIN reason I use fabric softener) NO STATIC CLING!

 

Another PLUS about using these “dry” cloths vs. the kind that are wet is there is less worry about getting any “spots” on the clothing that you are drying. I’ve never had that problem…but I know others have complained about it.

So give it a try and let me know what you think.  I think you’ll like it too. :-)





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62 thoughts on “Make Your Own {Reusable} Dryer Sheets!

  1. savannah

    can i say i love your blog!! Its the best site ever!! Man all your posts are really helping to change my home to just where i have always wanted it to be cheaper wiser less wasteful and fun : )

    Reply
  2. Michelle

    Hi, I just wanted to add one thing here. For people who use fabric softeners (I don’t. I have soft water, and static cling has never been a problem for me), make sure that you CLEAN your lint filter regularly. Do you know that a clogged lint filter is one of the reasons dryers fail? They can’t breathe. By cleaning, I don’t mean, removing lint. What I mean, is, take out your filter, take it to your sink, and run some water on it. If the water runs through, you are ok, but if the water sits on top, your filter is coated with fabric softener, and it doesn’t allow the air through it like it should. Just wash it with some soapy water, rinse, and you are good to go again.

    Reply
    1. Beth

      Lint filters not being cleaned regularly and thoroughly is the cause of many house fires.
      It is not just the filter that you pull out that need cleaned you need to clean the space under the dryer where the remaining linty air passes up into the dryer hose that leads outdoors. As the air is pushed up the hose lint falls and collects at the base near the floor. If you are doing alot of drying in the dryer it can get pretty hot and very dry and combustible. Get your vacuum hose down in there or even a ‘snake’like long wire brush to reach and pull this stuff out. Also, harder to do, pull out the dryer and detach the hose and clean out from there. You could be surprised! I used to be a homemaker and the dryers in the senior apartment building always smelled so hot. It’s a wonder we don’t hear about fires in these residents.
      We like our outdoor fresh line dried laundry and dry minimally through the winter and hang on racks to finish drying. :)

      Reply
  3. Ashley Gaetano

    Hi Jillee!

    I was just wondering, would you use the same soak-and-dry method with your homemade fabric softener or do you recommend the spritz method for that? I’m completely new to fabric softener of any kind…I usually just use dryer sheets, but I still have a lot of static cling problems and am looking for a solution, preferably homemade :}

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Jillee

      Ashley….I think you could TOTALLY use the homemade fabric softener in the exact same way. I’m going to give it a try next time I make these. I figured I would use up what I had left of my year old Downy bottle. :-)

      Reply
      1. Angela

        Hi Jillee,

        i just made the homemade fabric softner from the other post and did this method with it. I have five washrags drying in my laundry room from soaking them in the new homemade fabric softener and my entire upstairs smells like vinegar and i’m just wondering if my clothes are going to come out of the dryer smelling like vinegar? Should i use a more heavily scented conditioner? i just used what i had on hand which was actually a kind of expensive brand, and i even added lemongrass essential oils because when i was mixing it up i found that the vinegar scent was so strong. anyway i’m a little nervous to put any of the dry rags in the dryer with actual clothes for fear i’ll walk around smelling like vinegar! :) your thoughts would be great.

        thanks!
        p.s love love LOVE your site!

        Reply
        1. Neely

          The smell of vinegar vanishes when dry. This is why you can use vinegar for your clothes, hair, dishes and not have a residual smell.

          Once dry, the vinegar smell will dissipate.

          Reply
        2. Jennifer

          I had the same problem. I used coconut scented conditioner so the coconut/vinegar scent was pretty overpowering and gross as I was making it. I have no problem with the vinegar smell once I use the homemade dryer sheets though. I don’t really smell much of the coconut either but mostly the homemade laundry detergent. :o)

          Reply
  4. Elisabetta

    It’s only a month I “ereditate” a dryer, I am onest and I used it only once.
    So, my question is, what is the reason why you use these sheets? don’t you use softener when you wash? or it’s only because clothes smell good after drying in machine?
    thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Megan

      For me, I’ve used dryer sheets my whole life, I don’t really know why, nobody has ever asked before. Hubby bought some liquid softener by mistake (thought it was detergent) so we bought a Downy ball and tried to use it. Even with it sitting right there we forgot more often than not to use it. I have a little left still that I want to get rid of and this is perfect, thanks Jillee!

      Reply
    2. Debbe

      I’ve always used dryer sheets, and my mom always used dryer sheets. The reasons why are because they’re more convenient than using softener, and the clothes smell good, afterward, and feel nice and softer, and the main reason, to get rid of static cling caused by using the dryer. I have a major problem with static cling, even when I use TWO dryer sheets per load! I only do that when I know there’s a few pieces in my laundry that will cause static. Or if I really don’t feel like dealing with the static. I never use softener in the washer. In the “olden” days, you used to have to “remember” to add it after the rinse cycle started, and I never remembered.

      Reply
  5. Erika from Italy

    I wish I could use this, but I hang all my clothes out (or inside if the weather is bad). My hubby may hate how everything is “crunchy,” but I love the fresh smell AND the huge savings. (Electricity is taxed at 51% here.) Plus, it’s great for the environment.

    Reply
    1. Kari

      An easy way to get rid of the crunchy (though it does use the dryer a little bit!) is to just throw in your dry load on just the air setting (no heat) for a couple of minutes. It helps to fluff, but saves you the money of using your dryer to dry your clothes. I do this with the towels I dry outside, makes a world of difference!

      Reply
  6. Dawn

    Dryer sheets irritate me. I’ve tried disposable and reusable. The end result was I still had a sheet to find in the clothes and either dispose of or get back into the fabric softener bowl. Now I just put fabric softener in a small spray bottle and spray 6-8 sprays into the dryer full of clothes. A bottle of fabric softener will last me 9 months or so. Just my two cents!

    Reply
  7. Lauren

    Oooo, love this idea! I didn’t love the idea of getting my hands in the fabric softener every time, so I folded my cloths up baby wipe style, soaked in a little fabric softener, and store in an old baby wipe box that has a small slit to wring out the extra softener for me. I like that these have more than one use before having to resoak them, though. :)

    Reply
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  9. Megan

    I live in a very dry climate & have had lots of issues with static, but then I tried a tip I found via Pinterest of loosely crumpling a fabric-softener-sheet-sized piece of aluminum foil and tossing it in with the dryer load. I was amazed at how well it took care of the static! And you can reuse the foil ball a few times, just uncrumple it each time. Hope that helps!

    Reply
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  11. Lynette

    I just put about 2 tablespoons of fabric softener in about 2 cups water in a spray bottle and spritz my clothes before tumbling in dryer. A bottle of fabric softener lasts years! I’ve been doing this for about 15 years and have never had a problem.

    Reply
  12. Joy

    I’ve been using this method for about 6 months now and love it! One day I needed to refresh the dryer sheet and didn’t have time to let it hang and dry before I needed to use it. I threw it into the dryer by itself until it was completely dry (which took no time at all). So much easier and quicker than waiting for it to hang dry when you are in a hurry to use it. If I do have the time to let it hang, I love to hang it on a line in the laundry room because it makes my whole house smell wonderful.

    Reply
  13. Andrea

    I use a Bounty dryer bar. I can never remember to add softener to the wash or sheets to the dryer. The bar usually can last several loads past when it says it needs replaced, which gives my absent-minded self plenty of time to get a new one and remember to change it out!

    Reply
    1. Audrey

      The main benefit of them for me is that they don’t contain chemicals. I get terrible headaches from scented products, even natural ones. We went chemical-free in our house about 9 years ago.

      Reply
  14. red curl

    Jillee:
    I usually use your Homemade Rosemary-Mint Fabric Softener, but when I saw this I went about dunking old rags in the homemade softener and line drying them because I personally like using dryer sheets as opposed to a liquid…. but there’s a problem.
    With the Jillee-brand (ha ha ha) homemade softener after the cloth dries it smells predominantly of vinegar and little to no fragrance. Not saying this method doesn’t work, but I really would rather NOT buy Downy just to get a nice scent when your fabric softener works nicely (especially with a few scent beads! LOVE those little magical drops! one bottle will last us MONTHS!), but I hate having to add ANOTHER thing to my wash. Should I try adding less vinegar to my fabric softener recipe or cut it out all together when making dryer sheets? I really want to give this another go, but don’t want the vinegar scent!
    Thanks Jillee!

    Reply
    1. Neely

      No response has been given so I thought I would chime in.

      The vinegar smell should be nearly gone by the time it dries. I’m not sure why you’re having the issue of it smelling too strongly AFTER use. In fact, vinegar kills/absorbs other smells! I can completely understand how overwhelming the smell of vinegar is when wet, though. Eegads! Do your clothes smell of vinegar after using your homemade dryer sheets or is it the smell of the sheets themselves, hanging in your laundry room while they dry that is bothering you?

      Either way, my advice is to play with the recipe and trust that the smell will dissipate once the clothes are dry. Add less vinegar, find a complimentary smell you enjoy, do what you need to to make this work for you! I’m not sure if the vinegar helps with static but it is the ingredient that is causing the softening and removing smells (good or bad).

      Reply
  15. Eileen

    I’ve been using the homemade fabric softener (in a Downy ball) recently, and I’m having a terrible time with static (normally it’s only during the Winter when I have this problem). I also use dryer balls. Makes no sense to me. I might buy some Downy and see if the “dryer sheets” work better for static. Thanks for the tip! (Bounce dryer sheets can get mighty expensive)

    Reply
  16. MammaTimesThree

    I did these and LOVE them! I bought dollar tree fabric softener (since I hadn’t made your FANTASTIC HM Fabric Softener yet) and they smell wonderful. I’m sure trial and error will find the perfect type of fabric softener for me to use but this is a great money saver :) Thanks Jillee!

    Reply
  17. Jen

    I have tried this withd the homemade softner, the scent does not last more than a couple loads. I would like to test out however using the spritz method. I think it would make life a bit simpler without having to worry about grabbing the rags and/or making sure they are still able to be used.

    Reply
  18. carol

    I like your idea of the cloth reusable dryer sheets, going to try it out today. My questions is if you are still buying fabric softener your not really saving any money are you? Would this not be like double duty being that you can still put the fabric softener in the washing machine? Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Lyndsay Withey

    I have loved loved loved reading your blog. I have been making my own laundry soap for a while now and just started making my own fabric softener. I have been using the ring it out method for the dryer sheets and knew that there was a better way for the dryer sheets. Can’t wait to try this method of drying them first!

    Reply
  20. Angie

    I have to say that I am sold on this. My husband came home after being gone for 9 weeks and found that I had changed many things in the laundry room. He was kinda of leary at first. Then he just shut up and let me do my “thing”. He has been very impressed with everything!! This one the most because of how much longer your fabric softner lasts. You use so much less by doing this and not washing to down the drain. He now knows to leave the “heavy washclothes” in the bottom of the dryer. I have 6 of them and I made what would have been about 30 loads of fabric softner last for about 70 loads. I also love the Laundry Brightner Trick, it has saved some my husbands work clothes that I was pretty sure was toast and so was he. Thank you for all of your tips. They have been helpful.

    Reply
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  22. christina

    I haven’t tried this idea yet since I hang clothes outside for the summer but come fall and winter when it’s time to use the dyer again, I’m going to try a wadded up ball of aluminum foil. I’ve heard several different places that it works to take out the static at least.

    Reply
  23. Kelsey

    I LOVE YOU! I’ve made a few of your products, and tried a few of your methods. THANK YOU! You have helped me save some money. My Husband was sceptical about me making my own laundry detergent..I think he may have even thought I had gone daft! (I am a laundry product snob) I too made the dryer sheets with some leftover fabric softener, and they are lovely. How many times can you use a sheet before you need to re-soak it?

    Reply
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  25. B.F. Biddix

    I found you in looking for a way to do my own dryer sheets. Thanks. I also make my own liquid laundry detergent. Using a large bucket:1/2 c. each of borax and washing soda disolved in 2 gal. water. add 1/2 bar of soap ( beauty bar size- your choice) also fully dissolved in abt 1/2 gal water. stir regularly for abt 2-3 hrs. Pour or ladle into containers. Makes about 3 gallons. Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. You can add fragrance or degreaser if desired. Great for sensitive skin. Make enough for a year on cost of one large bottle of Tide or All.

    Reply
  26. Daniela

    What a great idea, I am going to try something similar soon. Thank you this is very inspiring. I just recently became a stay at home mom and try to save money:)

    Passionmom31

    Reply
  27. Robin

    Tried this yesterday and it was awesome. Clothes were so so soft! I made the homemade fabric softener with just vinegar and water and added some fragrance oils to combat the vinegar smell and it worked perfectly as a softener in the wash and for the dryer sheets. Another keeper!

    Reply
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  29. Kim

    Hi. My homemade dryer sheets that I made with your homemade fabric softener are hanging in my bathroom above my tub as we speak. But I was wondering, should I have wringed them out before hanging them up or do I just let them hang there soaked and dripping? I didn’t want to wring them out if it was going to take away all of the effects of the fabric softener. Thanks!

    Reply
  30. Kathy

    is there a way to make your own bounce dryer bar? I have been using homemade powdered detergent since March and really want to make the transformation complete. I am allergic to the dye used in fabric softner and dryer sheets make me break out in a case of hives something awful. I really would love to know if there is a way to do something as simplistic as the powdered soap to combat these commercial brands sticker price for something that probably only costs $2.00 to make and has a price tag for almost $7.00 which is just ridiculous. I would really appreciate experience and or ideas on this.

    Reply
  31. Christina

    So, I have the energy efficent front load washer and dryer. Will the homemade laundry products (dryer sheets and detergent) still work with that? If so, would I add it directly to the drum with the clothes or would I add to the tray provided for the detergents?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  32. Telina

    A trick that I learned from my grandmother years and years ago.

    Pour about a teaspoon of fabric softener on an old facecloth (or whatever works for you) and toss it into the dryer. After 10-15 loads of doing this you can wet the facecloth and toss it into the dryer as usual.

    A bottle will last an extremely long time like this. I was fortunate enough to buy some Gain Fab Softener on sale for $1 a bottle. I bought 5 of them 4 years ago and just opened the third bottle.

    In the summer I use a downy ball filled to the line with vinegar, hang my clothes out, toss them in the dryer for 10 minutes on air with the facecloth. Soft, fragrant and static free every time.

    Reply
  33. Sharla

    I am going to give this a try. I eventually want to get rid of my usage of the store bought fabric softeners. As a store owner of a mom’s & baby shop, washing diapers is something we know a lot about. The fabric softeners AND the detergents cause a LOT of build up on clothing AND the machines!!! I’m finishing up the detergent I have and either going to homemade or using the phosphate free ones we sell. I find that I get a lot of stink in my top loader washing machine and have to clean it out several times a year. We have very hard water here. I quit using liquid fabric softener in my washer as I felt it made it worse, and then that gets into the diaper cloth when washing them, then that gets build up on it….. and it goes on in a vicious circle. I have a downy ball, and am going to put vinegar in it and throw it in, this way I don’t have to remember to add it to the rinse cycle!. It’ll do several things : it will soften clothes, it will work on getting rid of the built up gunk, it will clean, it will sanitize. note: don’t use vinegar or baking/washing soda in washing of diapers if they have pul covers on them, it breaks it down. I’m sure that I’ll have to eventually replace my downy ball due to it breaking down from the vinegar. Looking forward to trying out several of your recipes, I was a pinning fool the other day, made myself a list of ingredients that I need!!

    Reply
  34. Virginia

    I have been making reusable dryer sheets for about 2 years by soaking old washcloths in liquid fabric softener and the wringing out a lot of the liquid. I make them wet but not drippy then leave outside on the fence to dry. When they are dry I can use one repeatedly for weeks before having to replace it. I have learned to not use the cheap “store brand” fabric softeners – the dryer sheets last a lot longer when I use the good stuff, Snuggle or Downy. The only drawback is the sweet smell permeates the house when I reload the washcloths, my boys complain about it, but they don’t complain about the lack of static or rough towels. Whatever is left in the bottom of the bowl after soaking the washcloths is poured back into the bottle for the next time. I haven’t done a cost analysis in long time but last time I did it was something like $.08 per load.

    Reply
  35. Kate

    I’m going to try this very soon. But I’m going to use socks instead of washcloths since I have a bunch of unmatched onesies. Love your blog!

    Reply

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