DIY

15 Handy Uses for Dryer Sheets Around the House

Dryer sheets are handy far beyond their original function as static-fighting clothing softeners. The next time you need to dust, deodorize, or repel pests, grab a box of these laundry essentials.
Person putting dryer sheet in an empty mailbox
Photo: Jenny Stanley

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Few household products are as underrated as the dryer sheet: They’re cheap, portable, and much more versatile around the home than anyone expects a laundry product to be. From repelling insects to cleaning hard-to-reach spots, here are some surprising reasons to stash a few extra boxes of dryer sheets in your cupboard.

1. Polish Chrome Fixtures

close view of chrome fixture of faucet
Photo: istockphoto.com

Bathroom fixtures in need of a quick shine before guests arrive? A used dryer sheet works wonders on faucets, shower heads, and other plumbing fixtures. Just moisten slightly with water, rub the sheet over fixtures to remove cloudy soap build-up and calcium deposits, and make chrome fixtures sparkle.

2. Care for Your Clothes Iron

woman ironing yellow shirt on ironing board
Photo: istockphoto.com

As if ironing isn’t enough of a hassle in and of itself, there might come a time when you notice that your iron’s soleplate is full of gunk. To clean it up, place a dryer sheet on your ironing board, set the iron to low, and run the iron over the sheet until the tacky buildup is gone. Once clean, your iron will glide smoothly over your garments.

RELATED: 19 Laundry Mistakes You’re Probably Making

3. Stop Static Cling

dryer sheet on top of staticky clothes
Photo: istockphoto.com

Though curbing cling is one of the intended functions of dryer sheets, there are other ways they can be used to reduce static that don’t involve a trip through the dryer: A swipe of dryer sheet under a skirt that bunches or over your clothes before you dig through a package stuffed with Styrofoam packing peanuts can save you from suffering the effects of static—and from a pile of pesky peanuts hugging your clothes well after you’re finished unpacking.

4. Get Cleaner Cuts

hands of woman cutting brown paper with scissors
Photo: istockphoto.com

Have you ever tried to cut a sheet of paper with dull scissors? Never worry about that again with this one-step blade refresh. Simply wipe the blades periodically with a used dryer sheet to clean and (inadvertently) prevent your shears from dulling over time. Then go ahead and snip away.

5. De-Gunk Oven Racks

view inside oven with drying rack
Photo: istockphoto.com

Baked-on grease and grime is the bane of cooks everywhere. Oven cleaners can be smelly and messy, and self-cleaning ovens warm up the entire house in the process. To clean your oven racks easily, rinse them off, then soak them overnight in a tub of warm water with a little dishwashing liquid and a few dryer sheets. When you pull them out the next day, any remaining residue should wipe off easily.

RELATED: How to Clean an Electric Oven

6. Leave Sand at the Beach

pov angle of two pairs of legs on the beach with little girl playing on the shore line
Photo: istockphoto.com

After a day at the beach, no matter how much you rinse, you always manage to track some sand home with you. Next time, try wiping the stuck grains off your skin with a dryer sheet. Your carpet will thank you for your quick thinking!

7. Deter Insects

boy surrounded by mosquitos
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you plan to be outdoors—whether gardening, hiking, or just picnicking in the park—slip a dryer sheet in your back pocket before you head out. Research has shown that chemical compounds commonly found in the sheets (linalool and beta-citronellol) will deter the gnats and mosquitoes from hanging around, making this the next best thing to spray-on bug repellent.

RELATED: 15 DIY Solutions for a Pest-Free Home

8. Wash Out Paint Brushes

mason jar with water and pink paint from paintbrush
Photo: istockphoto.com

The worst part of painting your walls is cleaning up—cleaning paint brushes is a particularly big pain. To make the task easier, fill a sink or basin with warm water, place the gunked-up brushes in the water, and add a dryer sheet. Soak the brushes a few hours while you admire your freshly painted space. The remaining paint should come off in a snap.

RELATED: How to Paint a Room in 9 Steps

9. Dust Just About Anything

woman dusting coffee table
Photo: istockphoto.com

Swiffers are great, but frequent refills can be costly. To save money, dust with a used dryer sheet. It does double duty by attracting dust like a magnet and imparting a subtle, fresh scent after a sheet has been activated in the heat of the dryer. There’s no need to need to limit your sheet-cleaning to floors; it also works on bookshelves, blinds, and baseboards.

10. Deodorize the Trash Can

overhead view of full trash can
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you’ve got smelly trash (and who doesn’t?), this nifty trick can tone down the stink: Place a couple of dryer sheets at the bottom of the trash can, under a new trash bag. The sheet will absorb any funky odors and emit a fresh scent, keeping your trash can smelling clean and pleasant.

11. Clean Glass

woman wiping mirror
Photo: istockphoto.com

Dryer sheets are strangely effective at cleaning glass: Dampen a dryer sheet with water and use it to wipe down glass or a mirror surface. Its slightly abrasive texture helps to remove built-up grime and streaks. Finish by using a dry cloth to buff the surface clean.

RELATED: How to Make Homemade Window Cleaner

12. Keep Linens Fresh

stack of bed linen in closet
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you want to keep your linens smelling fresh when they’re not in use, dryer sheets are the perfect helper. Place a few sheets between your folded linens or at the bottom of a stack of bedsheets in your linen closet. The dryer sheets will infuse your sheets and blankets with a subtle yet sweet scent.

13. Clean a Burnt Pot

high angle view of burnt pot on stove
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you’re left with a scorched pot or pan after cooking, dryer sheets can come to the rescue. Fill the burnt pot with warm water and drop in a single dryer sheet. Allow it to soak for a few hours or overnight. The sheet’s fabric softening properties will help loosen up the caked-on grime. Use a sponge to scrub away any remaining food bits. When you’re done, be sure to clean the pot thoroughly with your normal dishwashing method to remove residue left by the dryer sheet.

RELATED: 11 Ways You’re Accidentally Ruining Your Cookware

14. Repel Rodents

small mouse on wood slats
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you’re looking for a safe method to deter rodents from your home, dryer sheets are a nontoxic and practical alternative. Place a few dryer sheets in areas where rodents may sneak into your home, like attics, door entryways, and basements. The scent of the dryer sheet is a natural deterrent.

15. Keep Wasps From Nesting in Your Mailbox

Woman putting dryer sheet in mailbox with mail
Photo: Jenny Stanley

A 2021 Reddit post by a postal worker claims that the scent of dryer sheets repel wasps and yellow jackets, and keeps the insects from nesting in your mailbox. Though Snopes isn’t sold on the efficacy of anti-cling laundry products as insect repellents, they allow that “there appears to be some anecdotal evidence that dryer sheets repel wasps.” We still think this hack is worth a try—what’s the worst that could happen, your outgoing mail is a little more fragrant than usual?