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How To Make Homemade Dryer Sheets: 3 DIY Methods

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Have you ever wondered about how much synthetic fragrance and other harsh chemicals it must take for a dryer sheet to leave clothes smelling fresh for weeks? That’s why I started making homemade dryer sheets years ago: I like knowing what’s touching my skin.

The three DIY dryer sheet methods below are all easy and affordable. They’re also a great way to repurpose old clothes, so you’re being eco-conscious in more ways than one.

In all fairness, the third recipe isn’t all-natural, but I provide it for those seeking a cost-effective solution since that’s a valid concern, too.

Tips to Make Homemade Dryer Sheets

Using undyed, lint-free fabric prevents dye transfer from your DIY dryer sheets to your clothes and ensures they won’t cause clothing pills.

Use cotton fabric because synthetic fabrics won’t absorb liquids. Old white t-shirts, tank tops, and sheets all work great.

Don’t dry them in a wad for methods 2 and 3. You want your homemade dryer sheets to have the greatest amount of surface area when you’re adding them with your clothes so they can eliminate static cling.

Did You Know?

Pets are highly sensitive to fragrances, and some scents are toxic for them. Avoid using essential oils when laundering pet bedding.

How to Make DIY Dryer Sheets

Three ways to make homemade dryer sheets to soften clothes and eliminate static cling.
Type of Recipelaundry
Keywordsclothing care, laundry
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Equipment and Materials

  • Glass jar with non-metallic lid
  • 6×6-inch squares of lint-free, undyed cotton fabric for example, cut up white t-shirts or sheets
  • Air-tight storage container methods 2 and 3

Supplies

  • White vinegar methods 1 and 2
  • Essential oils method 1 and 2
  • Organic hair conditioner, colorless method 2
  • Fabric softener method 3

Steps

All Methods

  1. Make sure your container and fabric squares are absolutely clean so your DIY dryer sheets don't get moldy.
  2. Put as many squares into the container as you like, just be sure to leave the recommended space at the top so you have have room to shake and saturate them.

Method One

  1. Fill a container with vinegar, leaving a couple of inches of space at the top.
  2. Add 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  3. Put the lid on and shake well to combine.
  4. Open the container and add your fabric squares. Stop when there's still a couple of inches of room at the top of the container.
  5. Close the container and shake well.
  6. To use, grab a wet square and add it to the dryer with your clothes. There is no need to wring it out.

Method Two

  1. Add 3 parts organic hair conditioner and 1 part white vinegar to the container. Add 2-3 essential oils you want more fragrance. Make sure there's at least 3 inches of space at the top.
  2. Put on the lid and shake vigorously to combine the ingredients.
  3. Add your fabric squares, stopping when there's still 3 inches of space at the top.
  4. Remove the squares from the liquid. Squeeze them out and let them air dry.
  5. Store the dry squares in an air-tight container.
  6. To use, add a DIY dryer sheet with your clothes.

Method 3

  1. Put your fabric squares into the container, leaving 2 inches at the top.
  2. Pour fabric softener into the container and close the lid tightly. Shake vigorously.
  3. Remove the squares, wring them out, and let them air-dry.
  4. Store your homemade dryer sheets in an air-tight container.
  5. To use, add a square to the dryer with your clothes.

FYI

Reusing DIY Dryer Sheets

To reuse your homemade dryer sheet squares, put them in a mesh laundry bag and add them to a hot water wash cycle. Or, hand-wash them in hot, soapy water in the sink. Lay them flat to dry and they’re ready for re-use.

Pro Tip

Vinegar is a fantastic laundry aid, but its strong initial odor can be off-putting. The twist? Its scent fades as it dries, so don’t write off Method One.

Storing DIY Dryer Sheets

Keep your homemade dryer sheets in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. If they lose their scent, whip up a new batch of your chosen recipe. Replace the squares when they start to fray to avoid lint issues, and enjoy your eco-friendly savings.

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10 Comments

  1. Can you use a fragrance oil in place of the essential oil?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tested it with fragrance oils, so I don’t know if they’ll leave spots on clothing or not.

  2. Patricia Vinarski says:

    Will either of these recipes for dryer sheets help reduce pet hair on clothes? I currently use dryer balls and furzappers but still have a lot of pet hair on clothes.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Dryer sheets, including these homemade ones, help reduce pet hair on clothes by reducing static electricity, so the hair winds up in the lint trap. But I’ve found the very best way to remove pet hair from clothes is by never filling the washer more than halfway full so there’s plenty of room (and water) for clothes to release the pet hair.

  3. The one question I have is which method prevents static the best? I may have missed the answer somewhere.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Everyone’s dryer, clothing, and environmental humidity levels are different, so there’s no one “best” for everyone.

  4. Hello,
    Can I use polyester cloths? My husband has a bunch of old shirts I’d like to repurpose but I’m not sure if the cloths need to be all cotton. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Carly,
      Polyester does not work for this purpose. Since it’s a synthetic fabric, it won’t absorb whichever liquid you’re using. Also, as a synthetic, it will actually create more static in your clothing. Stick with all-cotton cloths for this.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing these tips! I didn’t realize the issues with dryer sheets until today. And I’ll certainly enjoy spending less money!
    Blessings,
    Carrie

  6. I read that commercial dryer sheets also leave a waxy buildup on the lint screen, and that this can be potentially hazardous over time. Not sure if that’s true, but either of your tips are great, especially given the price of Bounce sheets. 🙂

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