Dryer Sheets

Besides lubricant, there are a lot of toxics in dryer sheets, from respiratory irritants to carcinogens:


LINK TO COLUMN: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1137/how-do-dryer-antistatic-sheets-work

But they make my laundry smell April Fresh!

I wouldn’t be overly concerned. There was a small study that found dryer sheets contain small amounts of carcinogens. How small was this study? It involved two volunteers who used their own dryers for the study. The dryers were scrubbed clean and the dryer sheets used. The exhaust of the dryer was then analyzed.

The main point of the article wasn’t that we are all getting cancer because of dryer sheets. To have any real effect, you’d probably have to stick your head in the exhaust pipe and huff. The point is that we regulate the output of many different exhausts like factories and cars, but not dryer vents.

The article was published in the Journal of Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health, and this journal has published a lot of articles on fumes found in the home either from cleaners or emitted from fabrics.

MODERATOR COMMENT: lesizz, you’ve been here a long time but haven’t posted much. So, just to remind you, when you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers to include a link to the column in question. Saves search time, and (more or less) helps keep us on the same page. No biggie, I’ve added it to your post, and you’ll know for next time.

The article in question is shocking.
It contains the falacial argument …

If there are no antistatic antielectricity antiparticles (the strawman)
then it must be a lubrication effect.

Can you see why its a straw-man ? It says getting rid of electricity requires anti-particles . That is just too extreme. There is no need for anti-particles. Static electricity isn’t that hard to cure.

All that is needed is anti-static particles…actually … conductive material… something to conduct. Often this is water in the air. The dryer can only revert the air between the fibers to the same absolute humidity as the air is, but on a dry day that can be very dry… and the static electricity effect is worst. All static electricity effects are worse on a dry day. Note that the dryer works by adjusting relative humidity … warming the air lowers its relative humidity… which is another way to say warming it allows the air to pick up more water…

The fibers that become statically charged are very dry and very non-conductive.
It only takes a few molecules on the surface of the fibre to cure that.
Some sort of greasy stuff that gets spread around by the tumbling action would coat the surfaces of the fibers and let the static electricity conduct away…

If a dryer worked merely by lowering the relative humidity by heating the air, then when the air cooled, the clothes would be wet again.

I have never heard of dryer sheets. People seem to throw an inordinate amount of crap into washing machines.
However old-school it may be, a small amount of detergent, and some water, is sufficient.

If you’re throwing dryer sheets into the washing machine, (to borrow a phrase) “UR DOIN IT RONG.”

They’re thrown into the dryer. Along with the clothes.

If you line-dry your clothes, static buildup during drying is a non-problem. As Cec indirectly acknowledges in the article.

If you machine dry but take no effort to alleviate static buildup, I suppose you can find the good in the situation. For instance, you don’t actually have to put on the clothes. They’ll leap out of the pile and put themselves on you. Hopefully, in a tasteful and attractive arrangement. :smiley:

At least you concede the need for detergent. It could have gotten quite ugly if it turned out that you were a “laundry ball” partisan. :wink:

Actually, like most sensible people, I bought a ( 2nd-hand ) ( Bosch ) washer-dryer. So…
Laundry balls are part of the crap I was implying. And I have never once, with either domestic drying machines nor those in launderettes, sensed static from dried clothes. Perhaps there is something magical in the air of North America.

Really? If I don’t use dryer sheets, I can pull out the entire load of laundry with one handful because it all sticks to whatever I grabbed. There is one item I don’t want the dryer sheet residue on, and those are practically electrified when I pull them out.

But I don’t care if there’s something toxic in them. I use the free & clear so no potential allergens. And I’m not going to eat them. Or smoke them.

I couldn’t locate a copy of the original paper. I found no evidence that the emissions and risks were high, low or moderate, only that they existed. FWIW, here’s a summary by Science Daily.

While I have noticed static in the laundry, particularly when the air is dry, I’ve never figured out how that could be a problem. I’m also not a big fan of the artificial perfumes they like to dump in laundry products. So I don’t use dryer sheets. Still there’s no reason why we can’t discuss this calmly and coolly.

“Say, did you know that dryer sheets produce benzene and acetaldehyde? Both are carcinagins and acetaldehyde has been implicated in reduced cognitive function. Why do you use them again? Just asking.” :smiley:

I think I’ve figured out the difference by googling, my problem is that unlike the fabled Guidos of yore, my wardrobe doesn’t include much polyester or spandex, nor nylon sheets, which types are necessary things for the production of invisible sparks.
However googling also showed other methods Guidos and others may use beyond dryer sheets and God’s Good Sunlight.
Add vinegar to perfume one’s clothes

Lather the whole body with lotion

Use hair spray on the clothes one is wearing

Use a ‘static gun’ on oneself

‘Spray your pet’s fur with a little water to make their fur more conductive.’

Rub a metal hanger up and down one’s body in a sweeping motion

Use anti-static sprays

Wash with wool dryer balls

Wash with homemade aluminium foil dryer balls

Wash with soap nuts

Add baking soda to the wash

Spray the clothes with water after drying them

This all seems tremendous fun.

Personally, I think cancer is a small price to pay for ridding the world of static cling.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good point, and one I overlooked.

Certainly, though, in my household, and most of those I know of, there are enough synthetics in the wardrobes to guarantee lightning galore after a normal tumble-dry run. The “whites only” load is noticeably less shocking, being mostly cotton undies and towels, but confirmation bias made me forget about that. Because forgetting to “soften” (what dryer sheets, or liquid laundry softener, do) a load of mixed synthetic outerwear can be actively painful… lots of stinging electrostatic discharges. Not terribly pleasant, and kinda memorable.