Dryer sheet chemical awareness

Dryer or fabric softener sheets can be found in almost every laundry room. Tossed in with every load, they add fragrance, make the fabrics softer to the touch and reduce static cling.  How does this work and are dryer sheets safe for clothes dryers?

How Do Dryer Sheets Work?
Dryer sheets are synthetic fabrics coated with a solution containing benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen)1. The heat of the dryer softens the coating, transferring it to the clothing to make it feel softer to the touch and adding the pleasing fragrance. Keep in mind that everything that touches your skin is absorbed by your skin.

Are Dryer Sheets Good for All Fabrics?
The coating that is left on clothes is not ideal for all fabrics. Children's sleepwear is required by law to be flame-resistant. The coating left by dryer sheets will make nightwear more flammable. It also greatly affects a towel’s ability to absorb water.

Do Dryer Sheets Harm My Dryer?
The use of dryer sheets won't permanently damage your dryer, but they may affect its operating efficiency. And, when efficiency is reduced, your utility bills increase.


Just as the dryer sheets leave a residue on your clothing that makes the fabric feel softer, they also leave behind a residue in your dryer. The residue is sticky to the touch. It attracts lint, causing the lint to build up over time to create blockages, leading to poor air circulation throughout the dryer exhaust system, equipment overheating and a dryer fire. Good air circulation is essential for proper drying and dryer exhaust safety.

Important Note on Dryer Sheets and Electronic Moisture Sensors
Almost all dryers—both electric and gas-powered—have a cycle that promises to prevent overdrying of clothes by detecting moisture levels and turning off the cycle when the load is dry. The cycle operates using an electronic moisture sensor that is embedded in the dryer drum.


Dryer sheets can cause the electronic moisture sensor to become coated with residue. The coating prevents the sensor from working correctly and can cause your clothing to overdry (and increase your utility costs). If you use dryer sheets, locate the sensor and use a cotton ball or swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean it once a month.

Avoid All of The Above
You can achieve softness and eliminate static cling without the harmful chemicals and residue in the process.  Smart Sheep® Wool Dryer Balls are the safer choice. Made from 100% wool, these balls bounce between the items of clothing, separating the fabrics to increase the flow of hot air, lessening the drying time.


Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls are reusable, lasting up to 1,000 loads of laundry. Save money, reduce drying time and make your laundry room safer by trying a pack of six today. Visit the Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls product page.

Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/greener-laundry/1

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