We Tried TikTok's Viral Reusable Dryer Sheet Hack And This Eco-Friendly Spin Is The Real Deal

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Dryer sheets have been a hot topic of debate, especially when it comes to their effects on your clothing and the people in your home. According to the Environmental Working Group, chemicals that can aggravate everything from the skin to asthma, these "useful" household products have inspired many to seek healthier and greener alternatives. Instead of spending money on new dryer sheets and having to throw them away after one use, we tried making our own with a few simple items around the house. All you need are some towels, distilled vinegar, and essential oils! Stop using dryer sheets and make your own at home.

Standard, store-bought dryer sheets can range between $5 and $30, but after you place one inside the dryer, it becomes useless after the load is finished. Due to the chemicals used to keep these sheets smelling fresh, their footprint is heavy on the environment and within your home. The harsh ingredients can contribute to pollution both indoors and out, which is why switching to more natural solutions can provide a variety of benefits. We decided to put these homemade dryer sheets to the test and created our own to use with laundry loads instead of chemical-laden versions.

Collecting our supplies

In order to recreate these homemade dryer sheets, we snagged some washcloths from Target. You can find a pack of six for just $3, and they were ideal for our project. Numerous stores sell packs of small washcloths for $10 or less, and if you don't use them all they are great for spare guest linens. You can also recycle towels that you already own, especially if they were due to be replaced or thrown out. We cut out towels into strips to ensure they fit in the dryer and make them easier to use and store in our jar. If you're using washcloths, fold them in half and cut down the middle longways. For larger towels, try to aim for 6" by 6" strips or smaller. We used a recycled pickle jar that had been washed and sanitized with hot water, but you can also purchase a new one from Dollar Tree, Target, or any shop that sells home goods.

You can adjust your mixture ratio depending on how many dryer sheets you want to store and the size of your jar, but a 1:1 ratio worked well for the House Digest test. We added one cup of water and one cup of Distilled White Vinegar from Target. We bought a 16 fl oz bottle for .85 cents, and we purchased the Peaceful Blend essential oil from Whole Foods for our aroma ingredient, which cost $9.29 and includes Lavender, JoJoba, Ylang Ylang, and Frankincense scents (among others). We added 20 drops into the vinegar and water mixture, then mixed everything up before adding the washcloths.

Testing out the homemade dryer sheets

The key to a successful dryer sheet is that each piece of material should absorb as much liquid as it can hold, trapping the ingredients in the fabric. We rolled our sheets and stored them in the jar vertically. When it came time to test them, we made sure to wring out excess liquid before adding it to the dryer. Thanks to the acidity in the distilled white vinegar, the bad odors and bacteria will disappear from clothing, and this ingredient is also known to soften fabrics. The essential oil will help to naturally scent items, and the towel will gently interact with drying to leave them just as fresh as a store-bought dryer sheet. 

To test the homemade dryer sheets, we used one on a load of kitchen towels to ensure the oil didn't transfer to any items that could get ruined. We put the load on for an hour and just added one strip. Once our load was done, we placed the strip back in the jar and pulled out the towels. While the scent was lighter than a store-bought dryer sheet, the items carried a hint of the essential oil and smelled fresh. No oil transferred over, either, and the towels were less staticky. Our items also felt soft to the touch, much like they do after adding fabric softener or dryer sheets.

Overall success

Overall, we felt like this TikTok trend was worth the time and money. All of the items rang up under $20, and the process only took a few minutes. For those who have sensitive skin, these ingredients are less abrasive, and while the scent isn't as heavy as store-bought sheets, laundry still comes out fresh without an overpowering aroma. As a budget-friendly household, the less we have to spend on laundry supplies, the better, and these should last for up to a month before we need to change out the mixture.

In order to prevent the homemade sheets from getting moldy or stale, we recommend switching out the mixture once or twice a month. We threw the used washcloths in with a normal laundry cycle, then dried them before repeating the dryer sheet process. Wash the jar thoroughly and use new ingredients. We did a test run on older items to make sure the essential oils didn't stain, and if you notice a transfer, try using less oil in your mixture. The end result was worth the small amount of effort these took, and we have reusable dryer sheets for under $20!