What to Do If You’re Out of Dryer Sheets or Fabric Softener

Laundry emergency! If you just ran out of liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets and you still need to dry your clothes—or you’re just sick of dumping chemicals on your clothes—there are several different substitutions. Try one of the ingenious fabric softener and dryer sheet alternatives below.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
What to Do if You’re Out of Dryer Sheets or Fabric Softener

Use Vinegar Instead

If you’re out of dryer sheets, use vinegar on a wash cloth instead: lightly dampen a wash cloth with apple cider vinegar and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. The vinegar prevents static cling and make your clothes softer. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener in the wash cycle.

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Use Baking Soda During the Wash Cycle

Another alternative for fabric softener if you usually add it into your washing machine is baking soda. Sprinkle ¼ cup into the washer during the main wash cycle to freshen and soften your clothes. And it’s all-natural, too!

Don’t Use Anything at All

Believe it or not, many people can’t tell when they remove fabric softener from their laundry regime, especially when it comes to cotton clothes like T-shirts and jeans. Now might be a good time to skip the dryer sheets altogether and see what you think! If you decide you can’t tell the difference in look and feel, you just saved yourself a bunch of money each year!

Have a Few Dryer Sheets Left?

If you have one dryer sheet left, but several loads to do, simply cut your dryer sheets in half (or in quarters). You won’t be able to tell the difference in your clothes, and in fact will be tempted to use this money-saver all the time!

Dryer Sheet Alternative

Out of dryer sheets on laundry day? No problem! Try using aluminum foil instead: Just crumple a strip of foil into a ball about the size of a baseball and toss it in the dryer with your laundry. Not only does it eliminate static, the tin foil is reusable for future loads. Strange, but true!

Less Expensive Laundry Gizmo

The secret, low-cost alternative to one of those balls that releases fabric softener during your laundry load? A clean kitchen sponge dampened with liquid fabric softener (or a couple of drops of essential oil). Just put it in the washing machine once it’s filled with water at the beginning of the load. It will slowly release the softener, just like the plastic balls do!

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