dryer sheet jar with squares of polka dot flannel sitting in front with rotary fabric cutter

The Best reusable dryer sheets

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These simple to make dryer sheets save money and make your clothes so soft

Vinegar is cheap, easy to find, and so versatile. It’s a fantastic laundry aid. Vinegar helps to make your clothes feel soft. Nobody wants scratchy clothes or towels. It’s also a natural odor absorber. Added bonus – you don’t have to worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar after they’re done. The aroma doesn’t stick around, so you won’t smell like a pickle. Whew.

Although this post is about using vinegar for dryer sheets, it’s also great at removing stains and whitening clothes. I soak our cloth napkins and dish towels in hot vinegar water for a few hours before washing every once in a while to brighten them and remove any pesky stains. 

If you don’t want to use dryer sheets, you can add the vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. I’ll often do both for extra softness. Infusing vinegar with lemon can give it extra whitening power too.  You can amp up that whitening power even more with this solution: Combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of borax, and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Use this as a gentle bleach alternative whenever you would use it with your laundry.

Jar with dryer sheets, bottle of vinegar, and plastic container with laundry detergent

Okay, some of you are probably saying, why shouldn’t I just use a dryer sheet? I mean, they’re cheap enough, right? Many people have issues with the fragrances used. 

According to Healthline, “The concern about dryer sheets stems from several studies that aimed to understand the effects of fragrances in laundry products. A 2011 study found that breathing in scented products caused:

  • irritation to the eyes and airways
  • allergic skin reactions
  • migraine attacks
  • asthma attacks

Another study found up to 12.5 percent of adults reported adverse health effects such as asthma attacks, skin problems, and migraine attacks from the fragrance of laundry products coming from a dryer vent.

By making my own with vinegar, I’m still not spending much and I avoid filling the air with artificial fragrances that could potentially cause problems for us – or something many people overlook – for our fur babies. Our pets breathe in the same air and many struggle with artificial fragrances from cleaning products, scented candles, or those wall plug-ins.

So how to make DIY dryer sheets?

Grab a glass container with a lid. I’ve got a quart sized jar so my measures are based on that. Feel free to adjust based on what you have.

polka dot flannel strips and rotary cutter for diy dryer sheets

Cut 6” squares of fabric. You can use only towels, flannel, t-shirts – whatever you have on hand. I used some leftover flannel from another project. For my quart sized jar I cut 15 fabric squares.

Add 1-1/2 cup of white vinegar to the jar. You can also add essential oils. The scent won’t transfer much to your clothes, but I like reducing the vinegar smell. Some essential oils will leave a light aroma, you can play around and see what you like. I generally use 15-20 drops. My favorite combo is lemongrass and eucalyptus. It’s a fresh, clean scent and I’ll catch a whiff of it as I’m folding laundry. 

folded squares of polka dot flannel in quart jar for diy dryer sheets

Place your fabric squares in the jar. I like to fold them and put them in one at a time to make it look pretty and make it easy to get one square out at a time but I’ve been known to just stuff them all back in the jar. Life is short. Do whatever.

Use one square in the dryer with each load (don’t wring it out). Sometimes I’ll throw in two if I have a big load of something like towels. I have a bin for the used fabric squares. Once they’re all used up I just repeat the process of making more. It costs pennies a sheet and no artificial fragrances!

quart jar with dryer sheet label and essential oil bottle sitting to the left

I love to make my cleaning products look pretty. We have some lovely print at home labels in our Green & Clean download. The dryer sheet label is included. The download is packed with green cleaning recipes for the entire house and you get labels for most projects. It’s regularly $12.50, but grab it for just $2.50 with the code Clean21.

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DIY Reusable Dryer Sheets

Use vinegar to soften clothes with this simple DIY
Keyword: diy, laundry, vinegar

Materials

  • cup distilled white vinegar
  • 10-20 drops essential oil of choice
  • 15 6" square pieces of fabric flannel, old towels, old t-shirts
  • 1 quart glass jar

Instructions

  • Cut 6” squares of fabric. You can use only towels, flannel, t-shirts – whatever you have on hand. I used some leftover flannel from another project. For my quart sized jar I cut 15 fabric squares.
  • Add 1-1/2 cup of white vinegar to the jar. You can also add essential oils. The scent won’t transfer much to your clothes, but I like reducing the vinegar smell. Some essential oils will leave a light aroma, you can play around and see what you like. I generally use 15-20 drops. My favorite combo is lemongrass and eucalyptus. It’s a fresh, clean scent and I’ll catch a whiff of it as I’m folding laundry. 
  • Place your fabric squares in the jar. I like to fold them and put them in one at a time to make it look pretty and make it easy to get one square out at a time but I’ve been known to just stuff them all back in the jar. Life is short. Do whatever.
  • Use one square in the dryer with each load (don’t wring it out). Sometimes I’ll throw in two if I have a big load of something like towels. I have a bin for the used fabric squares. Once they’re all used up I just repeat the process of making more. It costs pennies a sheet and no artificial fragrances!
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