Dryer sheets can easily seem like an extraneous, unnecessary expense — on your wallet and the environment — if your cost-benefit analysis is limited to their use as they've been marketed. Sure, they help reduce static, soften fabric, and make your laundry smell good, but enough to justify the cost that comes with tossing each sheet after a single use? Maybe not. As this list makes astonishingly clear, dryer sheets are great for a hell of a lot more than doing laundry. So great, we'd argue, they're one of the most versatile and cost-effective tools in your cleaning arsenal.
1. Freshen stinky shoes. Tuck a dryer sheet inside each shoe when they're not being worn and you won't have to hold your nose the next time you put them on.
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2. Start a fire. Dryer sheets make great kindling in a pinch! Stuff them inside an empty toilet or paper towel roll, pinch one end closed to keep them contained, and then light the other end to start the blaze!
3. Tame flyaways. Winter makes strands of your hair particularly static-y, and wooly hats only heighten the hair-raising effect. Smooth your gravity-defying locks with a dryer sheet, and before you head out in the cold again, use it to rub the inside of your hat to minimize static.
4. Banish static cling. Forget Scotch Guard — just rub a dryer sheet over and under static-prone clothing.
5. Leave glass spotless and sparkling. Use a dryer sheet to wipe away smudges on windows, mirrors, eyeglass lenses and other glass items, no Windex necessary.
6. Get rid of deodorant marks. Nothing ruins the perfect outfit like a big, white deodorant stain, but if you've got dryer sheets on hand, there's no need to change. Just rub the stain with a sheet and watch it disappear!
7. Dust and deter. Dryer sheets work just as well as paper towels for dusting furniture, shelves, baseboards, window ledges, and blinds — in fact, they work even better, because they leave behind a dust-resistant residue.
8. Deodorize just about EVERYTHING. Toss a dryer sheet anywhere bad smells tend to fester, like clothing hampers, gym bags, trash cans, musty drawers and cabinets, diaper bags, and luggage. You can even tuck a dryer sheet inside a tube of toilet paper to freshen the air with every spin.
9. Clean a dirty hairbrush. Remove product buildup from your hair brush by soaking it for a few hours in warm water along with a dryer sheet — it'll be good as new!
10. Clean paint brushes. Likewise, soak 'em in warm water along with a dryer sheet for a few hours or overnight, and watch latex-based paints come clean with ease.
11. Remove glitter polish. Soak a dryer sheet in nail polish remover and stubborn glitter varnishes will come off with minimal effort.
12. Silence squeaky shoes. Got a new pair of shoes that won't shut up? Rub the soles with a dryer sheet and marvel when your steps no longer squeak.
13. Sharpen scissors. Use a dryer sheet to carefully remove dust, dirt, and other gunk that dulls the blades.
14. Keep sheets and pillows smelling fresh. Tuck one dryer sheet between your mattress and fitted sheet, and another inside your pillow case, especially if you're too lazy to change your bedding every week.
15. Prevent thread from tangling. Like sewing or other needle-and-thread crafts? Here's a cool trick: Before you start, pierce a dryer sheet with the threaded needle and pull the thread all the way through. This will remove static and prevent unwanted knots.
16. Support embroidery. Dryer sheets are very similar to backing materials used to stabilize fabric and prevent it from puckering during embroidery.
17. Polish chrome. A quick rub with a dryer sheet will make chrome fixtures gleam.
18. Remove crayon marks. Next time your kids go buck wild with a box of Crayolas, use a dryer sheet to easily wipe away marks from walls, floors, and table tops.
19. Contain flower pot soil. Place a dryer sheet inside the container before potting your plant to prevent soil from spilling out of the drain hole without blocking water flow.
20. Clean electronics screens. Use a dryer sheet to wipe off dust and fingerprints from flat screen TVs, laptops, smartphones, and all the other expensive gadgets you'd hate to have to replace.
21. Remove pet hair. Can't find the lint roller? No worries — a dryer sheet will do the trick.
22. Soothe pups during a storm. If your dog seems anxious and rattled whenever bad weather rolls in, chances are the loud thunder claps are only partially to blame. It's actually their sensitivity to the static electricity in the air and in their fur that causes the most discomfort. Help calm their nerves by gently petting them with an unscented anti-static dryer sheet.
23. Scrub toilets, tubs, and sinks. Dryer sheets are great at removing soap scum, hard water stains, and other bathroom grime.
24. Wipe away dead bugs. If your car and windshield are covered in bug splatter, you'll be glad to know that dryer sheets will take care of the mess without scratching your paint job.
25. Remove stuck-on grease. Fill a big sink or bathtub with hot water, toss in a dryer sheet, and soak grease-covered cookware, oven shelves and stove grates overnight. You'll be amazed at how easily the gunk comes off with a little soap and water the following day!
26. Freshen up musty rugs. Before you vacuum, put a dryer sheet inside the bag — your rugs will be refreshed and the whole room will smell like fresh laundry.
27. Ward off mosquitos, bees, and other pests. Tie a dryer sheet through a belt loop or stick one in your pocket, and bugs will stay away. Not only do they hate the smell, but dryer sheets contain linalool (which is used as an insecticide) as well as beta-citronella, which deters mosquitos.-
28. Deter deer. Cut dryer sheets into strips and tie them around several garden stakes to ward off deer — they'd rather avoid the smell than dig up your carrots.
29. Kill garden pests. Fungus gnats can be a gardener's worst nightmare, destroying plants from their roots. Bury some dryer sheets in the soil wherever they're a problem — the gnats will be lured in.
30. Turn your air conditioner into an air freshener. If you have central air, stick a dryer sheet just behind the vent so the scent fills the room as it cools.