Many people in Tacoma use fabric softener sheets to keep their clothes soft and static free. You might have been taught to always put in a dryer sheet when you load the dryer and always assumed the practice was necessary and harmless, only to question later if fabric softener sheets are bad for your dryer.
The truth is a bit complicated. Dryer sheets may cause issues with your dryer and your clothes, but perhaps not to the degree that you are expecting. Let’s go over the effects of fabric softener sheets so you understand what you’re getting into when you throw one in with your laundry.
How Fabric Softener Sheets Affect Your Dryer
Fabric softener sheets are made of woven fibers. These fibers are covered in a coating of either fatty acids or stearic acids. The heat of your dryer melts these acids by design, allowing them to cover your clothing.
The melted mixture can also end up covering your dryer with a sticky coating. This film will not cause dramatic damage to your dryer, but it can build up on your dryer filter, where it can collect lint. The gathered lint and 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 can end up costing you on energy costs. 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
Additionally, the risk of a dryer fire should always be taken seriously.
How Fabric Softener Sheets Affect Your Laundry
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
In addition to 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 with flame retardant chemicals. This process is designed to protect young children. The coating left behind by a fabric softener sheet can reduce the effectiveness of this flame retardant treatment.
Additionally, overuse of fabric softener sheets can lead to the buildup of lint on any article of clothing. Make sure you think carefully about the items in your laundry before you throw in a dryer sheet.
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 need to clean the filter once a month.
Cleaning your filter effectively will require you to remove it from the dryer. 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.
Note that, 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 baking soda to your laundry machine during the rinse cycle to soften your clothes. You could also make some balls out of aluminum foil to add to the dryer to remove static cling.
Dryer Issues Not Caused By Fabric Softener Sheets
We mentioned some of the issues that could be caused by a clogged dryer filter above, including poor drying or a dryer that won’t run properly. You may clean your filter and find that these problems persist, indicating a larger problem with your dryer.
These issues could indicate that you need to replace your dryer’s thermal switch, thermostat, or heating coils. You can get help returning your dryer to perfect working condition by contacting a dryer repair company here in Tacoma. The team at Top Shelf Appliance Service can offer you same-day dryer repairs with techs that are trained, licensed, and insured.
Get Help with Dryer Repairs in Tacoma Today
You can get help figuring out exactly why your dryer isn’t working by calling the professionals at Top Shelf Appliance Service. We have more than 20 years of experience repairing dryers in Washington State and we can start your repairs today. Call us at (253) 444-4786, or complete our online contact form to get started immediately.