Many people use dryer sheets to make their laundry smell good, keep clothes soft and prevent the buildup of static on clothes. These benefits have a downside that can cause damage to a dryer and shorten its life. Understanding how the damage is caused can prevent expensive repairs or replacement down the road.
The most common area that is afflicted by dryer sheet problems is the lint trap. The chemicals on the dryer sheet can cause a film to coat the mesh inside the lint trap. This will cause the lint trap to no longer function correctly, causing a buildup of heat. While a dryer is supposed to get hot, too much heat can cause the heating unit to burn out.
Dryer sheets are able to get sucked into the lint filter. If a dryer sheet is in the lint filter and there is excess heat, it is possible for that to start a fire. While this is a small risk, it is why many dryer manufactures say to not use dryer sheets.
Compared to other problems that can happen with a dryer, dryer sheets don’t cause a significant portion. The biggest problem with dryers is when the lint trap and exhaust hose get clogged. The lint trap catches most of the lint, but some will still get through. This can cause a buildup of lint in the exhaust hose which will reduce the amount of air that is able to be exhausted, causing the dryer to run hotter than it should. Cleaning out the exhaust hose twice a year is a good way to ensure the dryer will continue to operate efficiently.
There are plenty of alternatives to using dryer sheets. The alternatives can be cheaper than using dyer sheets. Another thing to think about is the chemicals that are used in the dryer sheets and if a more environmentally and health friendly option would be better.
Liquid fabric softener does everything a dryer sheet does, but it is put into the washer instead of the dryer. Make sure to add the liquid fabric softener into water and not directly onto clothing, during the final rinse cycle. Many washing machines will automatically dispense the fabric softener at the right time.
Adding ¼ cup of vinegar or ¼ of baking soda in the wash cycle are both environmentally friendly options. Both of these have the advantage of not needing to be dispensed during the rinse cycle. They are also cheaper than dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener.
Yes, dryer sheets can cause a film to develop on the lint trap or a fire, but these problems are few and far between. Cleaning the lint trap with a brush and soapy water will prevent any film from building up. This one simple step should keep the dryer from encountering a problem with a dryer sheet.