In a previous post, I discussed whether or not dryer sheets are even necessary, and while they do have some drawbacks, there are plenty of benefits as well. If you happen to use them at home, like many of us do, you need to dispose of them somehow after they’ve been used.
While most people likely toss their dryer sheets right into a trash can, are there other, better ways to dispose of them? One potential option is to compost them, and that’s what I’ll focus on in this article.
While we’re at it, let’s also tackle the dryer lint that your dryer spits out after each load. Can this be composted, or does it need to go right in the trash?
Let’s find out.
Can You Compost Dryer Sheets?
Most dryer sheets are made of a synthetic material (usually polyester) and are not safe to compost. Synthetic materials simply won’t break down in your compost pile and provide no value for it.
With that being said, compostable dryer sheets do exist and can easily be found online. They are made of natural materials that easily break down when composted.
Next, let’s move on to dryer lint.
Can You Compost Dryer Lint?
If your dryer load consists of clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, yes, you can compost the dryer lint. However, if your load includes synthetic materials, such as polyester, it’s not as clear cut.
The lint that you pull from your dryer is thought to be made of mostly material that results from the breakdown of your clothing made of natural fibers. Your synthetic clothes should produce very little lint, but the small amount produced could end up in your compost pile, which isn’t ideal.
Something else to consider when composting dryer lint is whether or not a dryer sheet was used. Most dryer sheets contain chemicals that you wouldn’t want to add to your compost pile, and some of these chemicals may end up in your dryer lint.
What to Do with Old Dryer Sheets and Dryer Lint?
While dryer sheets and dryer lint can often be composted, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Luckily, you have options when this is the case.
1 – Start a Fire
Dryer lint is known to easily catch fire, which is why it’s important to always remove the lint from your dryer after a load. If you regularly have campfires though, it might benefit you to save the lint from each dryer load to use as an easy fire starter.
2 – Clean Glass Surfaces
A great way to reuse dryer sheets is to use them to clean glass surfaces. This could include a computer screen, your bathroom mirror, and more.
Used dryer sheets do a nice job of cleaning glass without leaving any lint behind.
3 – Use It for Stuffing
Another way to repurpose dryer lint is to use it as stuffing. Dryer lint has a nice, soft consistency to it, which is perfect for stuffing cushions, pet beds, or stuffed animals.
4 – Freshen the Air
Most dryer sheets are scented, and while some of the pleasant odor goes away during a drying cycle, some of it remains. Freshen up the air in some of your stinky areas (inside shoes, closets, cars, etc.) by putting a few dryer sheets in them.
5 – Create Pet Bedding
If you have a small pet at home, like a hamster, they will happily take your used dryer lint off of your hands. Dryer lint that’s composed of natural fibers works well as bedding for small animals.
6 – Reduce Static Electricity
Since the main purpose of dryer sheets is to eliminate static, it probably isn’t too surprising that you can use old dryer sheets to reduce static on your clothing. Simply keep a few used sheets around your house or in your car, then run them over your clothes when needed.
7 – Use It for Packaging
Similar to the stuffing idea above, dryer lint works well as packaging material. Because it’s thick, but soft, it does a nice job of protecting your packaged items.
With that being said, it would take quite a bit of lint to use it exclusively as packaging material for anything more than a small package.
8 – Stunt the Growth of Weeds
Another way to use dryer lint is to layer it under the soil in your garden to stunt weed growth. If you’re familiar with the sheets of weed barrier you can buy at a local hardware store, you can simply use dryer lint in the same way.
9 – Remove Pet Hair
If you have pets that shed a lot, a creative way to reuse dryer sheets is to use them to remove pet hair or fur. Simply run a used dryer sheet over your clothing to remove the hair. This can work on furniture as well.
10 – Throw Them Away
While not the most eco-friendly option, a reasonable alternative to composting your dryer sheets and lint is to simply throw them away. This is probably the most commonly chosen option for most people, as it happens to be the easiest.
Both dryer sheets and dryer lint can be composted when the right circumstances are met. However, there are also instances when it doesn’t make sense to compost either of these items.
Fortunately, there are other ways to either reuse or dispose of your dryer sheets and lint. When composting doesn’t make sense, simply choose the method that’s most appropriate for you.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.