As a person who lives in an urban area, I’m well-aware of how powerfully popular the trend of being Earth-friendly really is. Even using organic dryer sheets is something worth discussing in my circles, and urban gardening? Forget about it. It’s all over the place. Recently, my friends and I had a debate about dryer sheets. Are they compostable, or are they a little too plastic for Mother Nature?
No, dryer sheets are not compostable, they are traditionally made of synthetic polyester fibers, which means they will not break down in compost. Even if they do, they do not provide any decent nutrients for plant life. However, certain brands such as Meyers have specially made dryer sheets that are compostable.
Bummer, right? Well, hold on a second. Before you throw away those dryer sheets, stop and take a minute to read this article. There might be a silver lining that you’re aware of quite yet—and a new way to help Mother Earth, too.
Can You Compost Dryer Sheets?
With their super fresh smell and their clothy texture, it’s easy to see why many people assume that dryer sheets were made to be composted. In fact, you might’ve even hoped for them to be compostable, simply because you wanted your compost to smell a little better. Unfortunately, dryer sheets are generally not made to be added to a compost heap.
Why Aren’t Dryer Sheets Good For Compost?
If you are trying to culture up a good compost heap, then you need to have something that is made of organic matter and that has a decent amount of nutrients. The problem with most dryer sheets is that they are made from synthetic fibers–not cotton. This means that they aren’t actually organic, nor will they be able to give anything good to the insects and plants that need nutrients.
If you’re really bent on adding dryer sheets to your compost heap, then you will need to find dryer sheets that are non-toxic and made of organic material to do so. Thankfully there are some options out there for people who want to go green with their laundry. We’ll get into that soon enough.
Can Dryer Sheets Harm A Compost Pile?
In most cases, dryer sheets won’t harm a compost pile. They just won’t improve the compost’s quality. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Dryer sheets are known to contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer in human beings. If you want to avoid local wildlife getting sick, you need to make sure you’re only adding non-toxic sheets to the compost.
What Should You Do With Old Dryer Sheets?
Old dryer sheets can be used for a wide variety of things, and can later be disposed of in the garbage once you’re done reusing them. The most common ways to reuse your dryer sheets include:
- As a car air freshener
- As dusting cloths
- As a deodorant mark remover
- As a glass cleaning cloth
- As a car scrubber
Basically, they can be used as rags or wipes for almost any cleaning task that involves wiping stuff away. As long as it doesn’t get into contact with your food prep, you should be good to go.
Are There Any Dryer Sheets That Are Compostable?
Thanks to a heavy push for a cleaner and greener world, there are companies out there that have worked on making dryer sheets that are compost-ready. However, they are hard to find in most stores. If you want to give green laundry a try, we suggest using one of these brands of compostable dryer sheets:
- Natural Value Dryer Sheets. With a fresh lavender scent, a recyclable box, and a formula that’s compostable in 21 days, it’s easy to see why people regard Natural Value’s offerings as great. Their reputation for being one of the best compostable dryer sheet companies is well-earned.
- Method Dryer Sheets, Beach Sage. Method has been my go-to for green cleaning supplies for a while, primarily because of their amazing scents. (Seriously, I’m borderline addicted to using their dish detergent for this very reason.) The company’s entire premise is one that is rooted in being eco-friendly. You guessed it! Their dryer sheets are compostable.
- Public Goods Fabric Softener Sheets. Though they aren’t specifically labeled as compostable, the fact that they’re made of natural ingredients means they are. These are some of the most affordable compostable sheets on the market right now, and are great for budget hunters. It’s hard to pin down what they smell like, but it’s safe to say that it’s a very light, fresh fragrance.
- Love Home and Planet Dryer Sheets, Rose and Murumuru. As another darling of the green cleaning world, Love Home and Planet has been making strides in providing cleaning agents that smell amazing without harming the environment. Like Method, they also have compostable dryer sheets made of organic material. Their rose-scented sheets are perfect for people who love floral aromas!
- Grab Green Stoneworks Dryer Sheets, Oak Tree. If you are a fan of smelling like a sexy lumberjack but still want to have a more Earth-friendly laundry option on the table, check out Grab Green Stoneworks. Along with more traditional scents like rose, they created a line of dryer sheets that have a more masculine, woody scent. All their sheets are wax-free, which means you have less chance of having clothes messed up by them.
How Do You Compost Dryer Sheets Properly?
If you already bought compost-friendly dryer sheets, you’ve already won half the battle. To add them to your compost heap, all you have to do is rip up the used dryer sheets, toss them in the heap, and maybe mix around the compost a little bit. After that, all you need to do is wait for the Earth to do its job.
Can you compost dryer lint?
Dryer lint is made from the splintered fibers of the clothing that you’ve dried. If you wear primarily organic clothing made from materials like cotton or wool, then composting the lint won’t be an issue. If you have a lot of clothing that is made with synthetic fibers, then it’s best to avoid adding it to your compost heap.
What happens if you eat dryer sheets?
Dryer sheets have chemicals that are linked to higher rates of cancer, especially when ingested. Even if they don’t cause cancer immediately, you may get an upset stomach or feel a need to vomit. If you or someone you know ate a dryer sheet, call a poison control center as soon as possible.
What are some good alternatives to dryer sheets?
With an increased concern over the health effects of dryer sheets, people are choosing to use wool dryer balls, DIY dryer sheets, or even a quick vinegar spritz to get their clothing to smell fresh and stay fluffy. Dryer balls are particularly popular since you can add essential oils to them to give them a more perfumed smell.
Can colored cardboard be composted?
Most, if not all, cardboard can be composted. However, colored cardboard and glossy finish cardboard may take longer to completely break down. If you’re looking for quick compost, then you might be a little disappointed. Even so, it’s still safe to use if you have the patience for it.