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Are dryer sheets bad for your dryer?

Person putting dryer sheet in dryer

On laundry day, many of us automatically reach for a dryer sheet and throw it in the machine before every load. But did you ever wonder, “Are dryer sheets bad for the dryer?” Let’s discuss! 

How do dryer sheets work? 

Dryer sheets are coated with chemicals that make your clothes feel softer and reduce static by leveling out the fabric's electric charge. When you toss a sheet in the dryer and start the cycle, the sheet heats up and releases fabric softener onto your clothes as they tumble. 

Will dryer sheets damage your dryer?

Dryer sheets are so convenient—no need to measure and pour liquid fabric softener into your washer. But there are a few concerns when it comes to your appliance and what dryer sheets leave behind: 

  • Waxy buildup can accumulate in the dryer vent, increasing drying time and straining your dryer. 
  • Residue can clog the mesh screen of your dryer’s lint filter, which may restrict airflow and cause overheating.  

Maintaining your dryer while using dryer sheets

If you like using dryer sheets, regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your dryer works its best and lasts as long as possible. Here are a few tips: 

  • Follow manufacturer guidelines. Some dryer models may not be compatible with dryer sheets. Check your owner’s manual to find out whether the manufacturer recommends using them. 
  • Clean your dryer lint filter after every load. This easy task will improve your dryer's efficiency, save money on your electric bill, and may even prevent a fire. 
  • Clean your dryer vent. At least once a year, give your dryer vent a full cleaning, decreasing the chances of a fire and ensuring your machine is running its best. 

Consider alternatives

Try using dryer sheets less often or reusing the sheets to minimize the buildup they leave behind. Or, switch to dryer balls which soften clothes and reduce static with no leftover residue. Bonus: dryer balls are kinder to the environment as you will eliminate household waste with no dryer sheets to throw away.

Hearing too much banging and clanking? Check out our guide on how to fix a noisy dryer

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