The Best Dryer Sheets DIY with Fabric Softener [Reusable!]

The Best Dryer Sheets DIY with Fabric Softener [Reusable!]

My Inspiration for DIY Dryer Sheets

After pulling out yet one more armful of static-filled laundry, I decided I couldn’t let one more load go into my blasted static maker (a.k.a the dryer).

I had been out of dryer sheets for days and after running to the nearest store, and and calculating cost per load, I remembered something that one of my best friends (her name might be Pinterest by the way😉 ), I remember learning about  DIY reusable dryer sheets.

So instead of continuing to flush more money into big corporations pockets with each load, instead I pulled out my iPhone right there in the store and looked up what I needed to get to make my own reusable dyer sheets.

What Do You Need To Make DIY Dryer Sheets?

I ran over to the Dollar Store and was surprised how few things I need to make these Reusable Dryer Sheets on my own!

Everything I needed cost me less than $5 at the Dollar store:

I was so super excited and could feel myself smile inside thinking of all the cash I was going to be saving with this super easy idea.

DIY Dryer Sheets

How To Make Reusable Dryer Sheets With Fabric Softener

  • Cut the sponges in half and put them into the Tupperware container.
  • In a separate container, mix equal parts  fabric softener and water (2 cups each for my size container)
  • Then, pour the well mixed liquid over the sponges. If you have excess, put it in a spray bottle  and add more water to make DIY Miracle Wrinkle Eraser Spray.

homemade dryer sheets with fabric softener themamasgirls

How To Use Your New DIY Dryer Sheets 

  • Take out one or two halves, squeeze out the excess and throw them in the dryer before your clothes.
  • As you transfer the wet laundry from the washer  the excess solution will come mostly off of your hands.

I am really excited about this dryer sheet alternative!

I just pulled out my first load and it smells as fresh as the morning. The best part is, I don’t have to scavenge through the laundry pile looking for the used dryer sheet that is stuck somewhere to the inside of one of my shirts.

homemade dryer sheets with a sponge themamasgirls

83 thoughts on “The Best Dryer Sheets DIY with Fabric Softener [Reusable!]”

    1. I always completely squeeze out the sponge before putting it in with the clothes and I have not noticed a film yet. I have been doing it for a few weeks now.

    2. I have been doing this for about a year now and wouldn’t go back to dryer sheets! I have been using 1 part softener to 2 parts water, not using as much softener, and it’s been working great!

  1. Pinterest is awesome and the worst thing at the same time. LOL But this idea is fantastic. I have a pack of sponges sitting in my cupboard waiting for something to do.

    1. Yes, once it has gone through the dryer you will have to re-dip it. Just keep replacing it into your solution, squeezing it out, and you can use it over and over and over!

    1. ABSOLUTELY! That is the best part. They dry up in the dryer and then you just put them back in your mixture. I hope you like them as much as I do!

  2. Is it ok to use these in HE dryers? Because I know you’re not supposed to used regular dryer sheet because the can get stuck to the vent? These sound ok though right?

    1. That I am not completely sure. If the ONLY reason is because of the vent, I would assume its fine. I wonder if you could ask the company customer service just to make sure! That would be great if these could be a high efficiency alternative!

    2. Hey there is no such thing as an HE dryer. They’re just the matching dryer to a high-efficiency washer. The secret to using less energy whilst drying clothing is getting as much water out of the clothing as possible before putting the washed laundry into the dryer. So if you use any dryer – be it a match to an HE washer or a match to a regular washer, there is no difference in energy use other than the length of time it takes to get the clothing dry. And that’s a factor of getting as much water out as possible FIRST. If you’re concerned about the sponge pieces getting caught in the vent, be sure you cut it larger than any of the vent outlets in the dryer.

    1. That is brilliant Winnie! I bet you could because the moisture from the wet clothes will bring out the softener in the dryer. I will try that.

      1. That’s what I do… I dry out the sponges first. I didn’t want the wet softner possibly staining.

    2. My mom makes her own ” dryer sheets” she soaks a hand towel or wash cloth in fabric softener and let’s it dry out completely. Usually takes overnight.. Then tosses it in the dryer over and over. I think she gets about 10 or more loads out of each cloth.

  3. I was worried about mold. I have mine in a ziplock baggie. I need two sponges. It’s only been a week but no mold so far.

  4. letting them dry before using, was just a thought. when my kids were little, before i had a fabric softener dispenser in my washer, when i poured in the liquid fabric softener, some of my kids knit clothes would get spots, and if you didn’t catch it before it went in the dryer, the stain would be set. so i changed to the fabric softener sheets. but making my own fabric softener will be great! thanks for the great DIY tip!

    1. Is that where the dark spots on clothing comes from?? I also try and figure it out, but never see it before the washer. I use dryer sheets and my mom uses liquid any time my clothes are done at her house it seems I inevitably get dark spots on my clothes. Drives me nuts!

      1. I used to get the dark spots sometimes too (before trying this method). I never used liquid fabric softener in the washer or dryer so they drove me nuts because I didn’t know where they were coming from. I always thought that it was because my husband doesn’t ever take his chapstic out of his pockets when starting the laundry. But sometimes I can’t find a chapstic tube and the spots are still there. I have found that putting dish soap directly on the dark spot and letting it sit for a day helps lighten the spot and doing it again will get rid of it.

      2. I found that any detergent with dye in it (i.e.. Gain) will stain certain fabrics. Use a dye free detergent. I would not trust softener with dye in it either (at least when it’s wet).

      3. Hi ladies! Just a few things here. These dryer “sheet” ideas are great. I am a little concerned with not diluting the softener. That is how it stains the clothes when we pour it in the wash. I worked for a dry cleaning company for at least 5 years. I worked the front desk, and helped out behind the scene. The most surprising thing was when they used (and it wasn’t all year, or every load.) fabric softener they diluted it with water, poured it in the softener dispenser. What was surprising was my mom had always made us do the same thing, the lady who does the laundry says it prevents the softener from staining the clothes. She also told me it isn’t the fabric softener that was causing the “spots” on my clothes it was more likely grease that I didn’t know I had spilled on my clothes (I use olive oil almost every night.). She also told me even if I washed, and dried something with the spots she could get it out, as long as I had not washed and dried them many times over. Her secret “dawn dish detergent” and a little water mixed with “something else”. Not sure what the extra something was. Could be peroxide, ammonia, or something only pros can buy. But my money is on peroxide or ammonia depending on the color of the clothes. Also she said dryer sheets cause stains on clothes as well, especially the ones with a thick coating on them.

          1. Tennis balls help to fluff the clothing, also allows hot air to flow through the clothes drying it faster.

  5. I’ve used small hand towels soaked in softner for years,put in rinse toss in dryer reuse.Have also used the foil it works great just no softner smell

    1. Thanks for reminding me about that foil trick Barbara. I still haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. What is the foil trick? I love the idea of using a sponge or even the washcloth. I am new to all of this so I’m going to ask – just to make sure I’m understanding. You’re saying to let the sponge or washcloth dry out after having soaked it, then throw it in the dryer? Can you reuse it again without resoaking each time? Like I could use it for several loads on laundry day one right after the other?
    I just love Pinterest……learning so much!!

    1. The foil trick is just balling up some tinfoil and throwing it in with the wet clothes. Somehow it reduces the static. I still haven’t tried drying out the sponges, when I make my next batch I am going to try it. Based on comments, it seems like you can use the rags a few times. I assume it will be the same for the sponges.

  7. DO remember to squeeze out excess softener before throwing in dryer. I have been wondering were all these dark spots on my clothes were coming from. I wasn’t squeezing them out, figuring, a little extra softener won’t hurt anything. The stains do not come out. 🙁

    1. Yes! Thanks for the reminder to all. I have always squeezed them out and have had no problems with dark spots. I am currently experimenting with drying the sponges before throwing them in. I will let you know how it goes.

  8. Ok, I’ve read all the comments but no one has asked or mentioned brands of softners. I can say I’m 90% brand loyal but if a store brand works well I tend to stretch my dollars as much as possible. Any ideas on this? I have an HE washer & dryer so of course it has to be HE compatible. And to be even more cautious on what I use, I have an 18 month old boy w sensitive skin and a baby girl on the way in December; bottom line I need reliable good softner for these high investments. Help?! P.S. If I use rags or sponges, natural/ dye-free / white colors or material plays a part?

    1. Great comment! I don’t have a HE yet, but am anxious to see what comments come from your post. This will be super useful when mine kicks the bucket.

  9. There are some seriously dangerous chemicals in fabric softener- I wouldn’t touch it with my bare hands! Might want to wear gloves when you are squeezing the sponges. you could be adding considerably more softener to your clothing then is recommended by the manufacturer as well, increasing your exposure! I don’t think this is safe for kids at all!
    If you are looking for a safe alternative to chemical softeners you might want to look at wool felt dryer balls or tennis balls- both reduce static and soften clothes and have the added benefit of reducing dry times without adding carcinogens to off gas all over you all day long (and all night on your sheets and blankets!). Talk about saving money, one or 2 felt balls will last for years, you use less electricity and you don’t add harmful chemicals! They are pretty easy to make, maybe the next DIY craft???

    1. Interesting. I do try to stay away from chemicals because I am exposed to enough being a hair stylist. I have never heard that fabric softener is bad, but then again, what isn’t full of chemicals these days?

  10. I have a HE and use the soaked dry cloth method, it has not bothered the HE as yet. Seem the same as a dryer sheet, only you can reuse about 10 times. Also I have used the foil to remove static quite successfully

  11. I made the wool balls to use in my dryer and I was not very happy with them. had lots of static cling. I took one of the balls and put it in a bowl with about a half cup of fabric softener and let it soak up the liquid. Then I let it air dry. Now I just toss that ball in the dryer with the others and the static cling is gone. As much as I would like to eliminate chemicals, I can’t stand wrinkled and clingy clothes. I have used this ball for several weeks and it still works.

    1. I also had more static when I started using wool balls. I found that turning down the heat on dryer made all the difference. Now my clothes have no static, plus I am running my dryer for a fraction of the time with a fraction of the heat I used to use. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the balls leaves a nice light fragrance as well.

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    1. I would also add that liquid softeners can be really hard on your washer. Our top-of-the-line HE washer was having trouble because the water take-up line was clogging and mildew was developing on the seal around the door. The repairman put the blame on our liquid fabric softener. Now, in our case, this was probably exacerbated by low-water pressure not washing the softener out of the system thoroughly enough, but the repairman said that even without that, liquid softeners put more wear and tear on your (expensive) machine.
      So, I left off using softener and have missed the soft, non-static, pretty-smelling laundry. I, for one, am really excited about trying this method. Thanks!

      1. I switched to using my own laundry soap in my HE and the build up of mold, etc. stopped. I cleaned once, and have not needed to do it again for over 2 years. I still use fabric softner, but dilute with water 1:1.

        1. Kathy,

          What is your recipe for your laundry soap for HE. I’ve been looking for one to use. Thanks

    2. I add 1 part fabric softener and 3 parts waters right into my machine’s dispenser and I’m done. 🙂 I get mileage out of my fabric softener, yet also get the added softness and fresh scent that I desire while also cutting down on the chemicals a bit. No mess, nothing to store.

  13. I am curious about the tennis ball. My kids are young and love their face near their blankets. I use All Free and Clear, but it doesn’t have a scent and my son prefers a nice smell in his. I use a little fabric softener, but I worry. Since the tennis ball is made of rubber, when it heats up in the dryer, does it smell bad? I would think heated rubber would be bad, too, releasing some sort of bad “something”, no?

  14. An even better take on this is to use an all-natural softener like seventh generation’s. No chemicals in your clothes!!!

  15. I have HE and used to use All free n clear until I started making my own Laundry soap. Smells Awesome.
    I wanted a cheaper softener that won’t gum up my HE so I use Distilled White Vinegar in the washer dispenser. ( I imagine you would ust add a few drops of essential oil to the gallon and shake, if you prefer Scented.)
    And I use the spiked dryer balls (4-6) in the dryer to fluff and speed drying.
    Works perfectly. Very Frugally!!

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    1. My sponges have stayed in tact through many washes and they are from the dollar store so it should be just fine:) Good question

      1. You can add scent to the wool balls by using a few drops of essential oils that you like the smell of (i.e. lavender, lemon, orange). And if you throw in a tinfoil ball, you will have lightly naturally-scented, static-free laundry for a few cents compared to the fabric softener alternative. No chemicals and nothing to ruin your HE machine. Try it. It works better than anything else!!! 🙂

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  18. I have heard about white vinegar getting towels cleaner, but I didn’t know that the vinegar would help with the static cling for other clothing. What are the amounts of vinegar added per load?
    Also, above comments for the wool balls, one person is an advocate the other comment didn’t find any effective difference. Has any one else had any positive results with this method? Does how many balls used make the difference?

    1. Jeanisa Hamrick Moore

      Deb, I usually put about 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar into the softener dispenser.

  19. Jeanisa Hamrick Moore

    My mama always used white vinegar in the softener dispenser. Her clothes always came out cling free PLUS it removed strong odors such as pee and baby poop. I do the same, especially with strong odors.

  20. The dark spots come from your detergent usually, especially if you are using liquid detergent. I started getting them on my clothes when I went to put in them in the dryer. I knew they were not them when I put them in the washer, so I did some research. If your liquid detergent has dyes in it, it is coming from that. I changed to a liquid detergent that doesn’t have any dyes and the dark spots stopped appearing.

    Thank you for the idea on the dryer sheets. I will have to try it.

  21. I have used homemade dryer sheets for almost 1 year now and have had no complaints. However, I use Vinegar, water and essential oil…all natural and super easy to make. Even my picky husband is happy with the results (as is our 4 legged family member re: her toys/bed). I do not use much in the way of scented anything due to severe allergies. I found this “recipe” online at Suburbia Unwrapped. It really is amazing how may uses there are for vinegar! I also make my own laundry detergent and will never go back to store bought cleaning supplies

    1. I would love to have a recipes for homemade bar soap, laundry soap, and the dryer sheets both the fabric softener one and the vinegar ones please. If someone could please email me them or tell me where to find them I would be most grateful.

      Thank you.




  23. To prevent mold, consider using DISTILLED water — different from purified water. It has nothing in it, so it won’t mold.

  24. Hi all i tried this today fI put two sponges in my dryer today.and used the exact same fabric softener in your picture from the dollar store. It didnt leave any smell. Did i squeeze it too much? I didnt think so, but maybe.

  25. I have tried this and love it. I used the liquid Downey® that I had on hand. It doesn’t leave the scent on my clothes but I can live with that. What I do like is NO static cling and the money I save on dryer sheets. Thanks Mama’s Girls for a great money saving tip.

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  34. I also usually add 1/4 C to 1/2 C baking soda to my wash. Keeps clothes and washer smelling clean. Especially when there is something really smelly in the laundry to be washed.

  35. Back in the late 70.s, I was doing lots of daily laundry. I was bad about remembering to add the softener…so I decided to use cut up Handy Wipes with a small amount of fabric softener squeezed through it. It worked so well ..and then…the dryer sheets were invented. I tried them….discovered how bad they can clog up the air flow in a dryer…to the point of it being a serious fire hazard. I have since shifted to making my own again using the handywipes but with a half cup vinegar and half cup water combination with a quarter cup of fragranced hair conditioner. Some times I add orange essence. No stains…no mold…no gummed up works in the dryer and certainly more healthy. I also could have ‘invented’ baby wipes. Lol…I used a different colored hsndywipe cut in fourths with a sterilized hot water and a little baby lotion mixed in. I stored them in a tupperware sealed container at the changing table and put some in a smaller container to go. No rashes, I recycled washed the wipes with the diapers, and never ran out. By baby number three I also used the handywipes as diaper liners after I ran out one day. I only used the disposables if we traveled. I know these little diy ideas saved us a lot of money .

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