Many people in Tacoma use fabric softener sheets to keep their clothes soft and static free. Perhaps your mom taught you to always put in a dryer sheet when you load the dryer. It’s harmless, right? The truth is a bit complicated.
Dryer sheets may cause issues with your dryer and your clothes, but a little maintenance on your dryer can keep the problems from happening. Let’s go over the effects of fabric softener sheets so that you understand what you’re getting into when you throw one in with your laundry.
How Fabric Softener Sheets Work
Fabric softener sheets are made of woven fibers covered in a coating of either fatty acids or stearic acids. The heat of your dryer melts these acids, and the tumbling action the acids onto your clothing.
Fabric softener sheets were invented because fabric softener and detergent do not mix well in the wash. They have opposite chemical charges, so if you mix them together, neither is as effective. The sheet solves this problem by adding the softener after the wash.
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How do They Mess Up Your Dryer?
The melted mixture can also end up covering your dryer with a sticky coating. This film will not cause dramatic damage to the tumbler, but it can build up on your lint filter. The stickiness makes your filter grab much more lint and traps it. This residue can
- Reduce the effectiveness of your dryer
- Increase the risk of a dryer fire
While increasing the drying time of your dryer may not seem dangerous, it means your dryer has to run harder. This can cause your electric bill to rise significantly. A clogged filter can also cause your dryer to:
- Fail to dry clothes at all
- Begin running and then shut off
- Run without heating up
The risk of a dryer fire should always be taken seriously. If you’re not cleaning out your lint filter every time and cleaning your vents once a year, you’re putting your home at risk!
Dealing With Fabric Softener Sheet Stickiness
You can reduce the damage caused by fabric softener sheets by regularly cleaning the filter of your dryer. You should remove lint after every load that goes into your dryer. If you are using dryer sheets, you will also need to wash the filter once a month.
Washing your filter is easy. You should use a brush, hot water, and dish detergent to thoroughly remove all residue from the filter. The filter should be air dried before you replace it in the dryer. That’s it!
Avoid Dryer Sheets for These Fabrics
Your dryer is not the only thing that can be negatively impacted by the usage of fabric softener sheets. You should avoid using dryer sheets completely when you are doing some types of laundry, including:
Towels and Rags
The chemicals found on dryer sheets reduce the absorbability of fabrics. This means that your bath towels and rags will not absorb water as well after they are dried with a fabric softener sheet, lowering their effectiveness.
Athletic Wear and Bathing Suits
Besides limiting a fabric’s ability to absorb moisture, dryer sheets can also make it harder for fabric to breathe. This means that you’ll have a harder time staying cool in your new running shirt. Fabric softener sheets can also weaken the stretchy elastic of swimming suits, underwear, and bras.
Many manufacturers treat baby’s clothing and children’s sleepwear with flame retardant chemicals. This coating protects young children from flames. The coating left behind by a fabric softener sheet can reduce the effectiveness of this flame retardant treatment.
Overuse of fabric softener sheets can lead to the buildup of lint on any article of clothing. Make sure you consider the items in your laundry before you throw in a dryer sheet.
Can I Skip the Sheet?
If you want to avoid using fabric softener sheets in the future, you have some options to choose from. You could add a small amount of white vinegar to your laundry machine during the rinse cycle to soften your clothes and reduce static.
You could also make some balls out of aluminum foil to add to the dryer to remove static cling. These balls bounce around inside to break up the static charges. There are also rubber balls that work better, but you have to purchase those.
Skipping the sheet entirely won’t harm your clothes. They will just have some static cling a
nd might feel stiff to the touch. A little working with your fingers and the stiffness will go away.
Dryer Issues Not Caused by Fabric Softener Sheets
We mentioned some issues that a clogged dryer filter could cause, including poor drying or a dryer that won’t run properly. If you’re cleaning your filter and your dryer is still malfunctioning, you may need to dig deeper.
Recurring heat issues could show that you need to replace your dryer’s thermal switch, thermostat, or heating coils. You can get help to return your dryer to perfect working condition by contacting a dryer repair company. The team at Top Shelf Services can offer you same-day dryer repairs with techs that are trained, licensed, and insured.
Other Uses for Dryer Sheets
If you want to skip the dryer sheet after reading this, don’t toss them away just yet. There are some other uses for those sheets! You can:
- Rub the sheets on your blinds to help keep dust off them
- Leave the sheets in musty places to make them smell nicer
- Put them in spots where you see ants or mice. They don’t like the smell
- Put a sheet in your vacuum bag to help keep dust from clogging your vacuum
Get Help with Dryer Repairs in Tacoma Today
You can get help to figure out exactly why your dryer isn’t working by calling the professionals at Top Shelf Services. We have over 20 years of experience repairing dryers in Washington, and we can start your repairs today. Call us or complete our online contact form to get started.
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