If your family is one of the millions who love stuffing fabric softener sheets into the clothes dryer, we’d like to share some observations based on our experience. Almost every day we repair dryers which have stopped heating, stopped drying efficiently, or stopped running altogether because customers just can’t get enough dryer sheet fragrance. If you don’t feel that you can give up or curtail your dryer sheet habit, you can stop reading now and we, or technicians like us, will see you soon with tool bag and invoice book in hand. For the rest of you, here are some facts to consider:
1. Dryer sheets leave a film on your garments. It does reduce static cling and makes fabric feel softer, but it also builds up on your lint filter, thermostats, blower and vent system.
2. This film is gummy and causes the very fine lint, which should pass through the filter and blow harmlessly outside, to adhere to surfaces that it should not. The result is reduced airflow, reduced sensitivity of temperature and moisture monitoring devices, blown thermal fuses, and excess wear on fabrics due to long drying times. In severe cases, it can also create a fire hazard.
3. Dryer sheet film blocks the absorbancy of towels, underwear, and other items, and some sheets interfere with fire retardancy in children’s clothing. Warnings are posted on the packaging but almost no one reads the fine print. Check yours.
4. The fragrances are artifically produced with chemicals and may induce rashes and other health issues in some people. There are articles on the internet describing how to rid your home of a rat infestation by wiping down surfaces with dryer sheets. If the chemicals are harsh enough to repel rats, do you really want them next to your family’s skin?
If you must use dryer sheets, read the packaging and cut back. Don’t use them on sheets, towels, sleepwear, or underwear. Keep an eye out for lint build up in the vent system and wash the lint filter regularly with a soft brush, soap and water.
Best bet: Stop using dryer sheets except to eliminate rodents.
Bob and Dave