Few household events are as satisfying as having a big pile of clean clothes and a completely empty hamper. Dryer sheets are an essential component of any laundry cycle, both for their antistatic properties and for their fresh aroma, but throwing dozens of them away every year seems like a waste. Fortunately, their life span doesn’t have to end when the dryer’s off-signal buzzes—whether you’re at home, on the road, or dealing with a pest problem, recycling these little squares comes in handy in a wide variety of unexpected applications.
Retire your dust cloth and try dryer sheets instead; the chemicals they contain repel static electricity and thus make them ideal for picking up stray dust and pet hair from wooden furniture, TV and computer screens, and baseboards.
Place a sheet inside your vacuum cleaner bag; as you vacuum, the aroma will fill and linger in the air in your home.
Wipe the individual slats of window blinds with a dryer sheet; the sheet will not only collect the existing dust on the surface but also create an antistatic barrier on the blinds that prevents additional dust from building up as quickly.
To de-gunk a pot or pan with baked-on food, place a dryer sheet in it, fill it with water, let it sit overnight, and wash it clean the next day. The sheet’s chemicals weaken the bond between food molecules.
Lightly wet a dryer sheet and use it to wipe soap-scum buildup off shower tiles and glass doors.
Tape a dryer sheet over each of the heating and air-conditioning vents inside your home. The hot or cold air will distribute the aroma throughout each room.
Instead of using sachets, line your dresser drawers with a few dryer sheets. They’ll keep your clothes smelling fresh for weeks.
Wrap a dryer sheet around the rolling pin on your toilet paper holder. Each time you spin it, a little of the sheet’s fragrance will waft throughout your bathroom.
Hide a dryer sheet inside each of your pillowcases and under your mattress pad for a gently scented sleep.
During mosquito season, tie a dryer sheet around your belt loop or stick it partway into your pants pocket when you’re outdoors. The smell repels mosquitoes, bees, and other winged pests.
If you have an ant infestation at home, lay a dryer sheet down in front of their entry point; they’ll flee at the mere sight of it.
Spread dryer sheets around the foundation of your home, plugging any chinks or holes large enough for mice, rats, squirrels, and other animals to squeeze through—they don’t like the taste of the sheets and will therefore not want to bother chewing through them to get inside your house.
Dryer sheets work wonders at keeping your vehicle’s chrome gleaming; just lightly rub it down whenever you wash the car. (This technique is equally useful for cleaning chrome kitchen and bathroom fixtures.)
Lose the tacky pine tree–shaped air freshener; you can achieve the same deodorizing effect in your car’s interior by placing a dryer sheet under each seat.
Spray your car thoroughly with water, then use a dryer sheet to wipe dead bugs from the windshield and the body—no scratches.
Store used dryer sheets in your diaper bag; whenever you have a dirty diaper that you can’t dispose of right away, insert one sheet in the diaper before you roll it up.
Stuff a dryer sheet into the toe of each of your shoes to prevent lingering foot odor.
If you’re bringing wet, stinky pets into your home, wipe them down with a dryer sheet beforehand. Cat owners can place a dryer sheet in their litterbox to prolong the litter’s effectiveness.
Have you recently purchased musty secondhand books or noticed that your home library is beginning to smell a little stuffy? Place the offending volumes and a dryer sheet in a ziplock bag, seal it, and let it sit for a couple of days. When you remove the books, their odor will have returned to neutral.
If you’re storing your empty luggage, camping gear, or sports equipment in your basement or attic, where the scent is likely to permeate these items, insert a dryer sheet inside each suitcase, sleeping bag, and so on before you stash it.
Good Clean Fun
You wouldn’t just toss a nice potpourri or a full bottle of cleaning product, so why would you get rid of your dryer sheets after only one use when they’ve still got a lot of mileage left in them? The next time you finish off a box of them, don’t recycle the empty container; instead, use it as a receptacle for storing your used sheets when you pluck them from your loads of laundry. Soon, your clothes won’t be the only clean, sweet-smelling items in your house; everything from your floors to your pets to your running shoes will be positively glistening and radiating enticing scents—without a single static electron in sight, to boot.