There’s nothing like pulling a load of laundry out of the dryer, burying your face in it, and inhaling the scent of fresh, clean clothes. While detergent by itself smells great, it’s even better when combined with dryer sheets or a fabric softener.
Unfortunately, though, some fabric softeners may be doing your wardrobe (and your clothes and towels) more harm than good. In fact, you may want to skip that step altogether.
Dryer sheets are one of the most convenient laundry inventions maybe ever. Just toss one in the dryer and your clothes come out soft, smelling amazing, and without feeling staticky. This is because of how they’re made. However, dryer sheets can be a double-edged sword for both your fabrics and your dryer.
This is because dryer sheets have a fatty or oily coating, which is why, out of the box, they feel waxy to the touch. As dryer sheets go through the dry cycle though, that coating melts off. Instead, it coats your clothes, making the fibers feel smoother and softer against your skin. Unfortunately, it can also coat the inside of your dryer as well as the lint filter. As that sticky residue builds up, you may notice it gets harder to remove lint from the lint trap.
Dryer sheet residue also builds up on fabrics over time. Even if you still use them for your clothes, you may want to skip it for your towels. Residue build-up can make your towels less absorbent over time. Consider skipping it for athletic wear too, as fabric softener can make moisture-wicking fabrics ineffective.
The good news is that fabric softener is generally better than dryer sheets. It’s less likely to affect fabrics’ absorbency or wicking properties. Plus, you’ll still have soft, static-free clothes. Just make sure to use the right amount!