Dryer Sheets Come Out On Top for Softer Towels—But I’ll Never Use Them Again

published Mar 2, 2020
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I recently tested name brand dryer sheets against two other fabric softening alternatives: homemade essential oil paper towel DIY dryer sheets, and wool dryer balls and the results were clear: The load dried with dryer sheets came out significantly softer than the others. While the difference in softness was significant, it wasn’t enough to convert me to start buying dryer sheets. I’ve read too much.

For a few years now, articles have been circulating discussing the potential harmful effects of chemicals found in those sweet-smelling dryer sheets. Non-believers like to point out that not all chemicals are toxic, and realistically, the jury is out on how bad they truly are, but it’s true that not all dryer sheets are made the same and that they add substances to your clothing you might not want on there.

I tend to lean towards the simple side when it comes to cleaning agents and laundry supplies, so here’s my take on the whole issue: There are so many “clean” options when it comes to drying laundry—why risk it using potentially harmful, chemical soaked dryer sheets?

Before performing the test, my family rarely used dryer sheets. I have to admit, I do love slightly fragrant laundry, but the scent of most dryer sheets has always been overwhelming for me, and they just aren’t something I want to spend my money on. We now have wool dryer balls that I am very, very happy with—a purchase that is a winner on the eco front, and easy on the budget. I’m happy excluding myself from the “toxic or not” conversation by just… not buying dryer sheets anymore. I mean, c’mon, who really wants to play asthma roulette?

So what do we believe? What do we know? All we really know for certain is that there is more research that needs to be done, but the safest bet for my family is to avoid them completely. Dryer balls for the win!