How do dryer sheets work?

Dryer sheets work by helping to make laundry feel softer to the touch and reducing static. Dryer heat releases the liquid softeners, lubricants and fragrances inside dryer sheets, transferring softeners and scents onto your fabrics.

Clothes tumbling against each other in the dryer can result in a build-up of static electricity, making your sweaters and socks cling together.

The ingredients present in dryer sheets help neutralize and guard against excess static in most fabrics.

Laundry tumbling in dryer.

Should I use dryer sheets for all of my laundry?

No, certain fabrics respond better to dryer sheets than others. Avoid using dryer sheets on the following materials and always check the care label on each item before use.



Athleticwear & Microfiber 

Using dryer sheets may leave behind a coating that interferes with the moisture wicking and stain absorbing technology of these fabrics.



Though using dryer sheets on towels may seem like a natural fit, the softeners can reduce the absorbency of the fabric, hindering its ability to soak up water.

Flame-resistant clothing.

Flame-Resistant Clothing

Items like kids’ sleepwear are flame-resistant for safety, but the softeners in dryer sheets may coat the fibers, reducing their ability to self-extinguish.

Water-repellent clothing.

Water-Repellent Fabric

Softeners used in dryer sheets can prevent these fibers from repelling water as designed, impacting their effectiveness.

Maytag tip icon.

Consider natural, more allergy-friendly alternatives to dryer sheets

If you have fragrance or dye allergies, be aware that some dryer sheets can cause adverse skin reactions in those with sensitivities.


Dryer balls may be a good choice for those with allergies.

A woman takes laundry out of a dryer.

How do I use dryer sheets?

Dryer sheets work with both gas or electric dryers. Simply place a new dryer sheet on top of your laundry load at the start of a dryer cycle. Be sure to use the right amount to avoid a build-up on your clothes and appliances. Always reference the product packaging before use.


Avoid overloading your dryer with laundry, as this can trap dryer sheets in one place and cause staining from the softener melting directly onto clothes for a prolonged period of time. Make sure that your laundry is able to tumble freely and always remove the used dryer sheet after every load.

Learn about other fabric softener options or dryer balls to help determine which is best for your laundry routine. For even more suggestions, read about how to do laundry.

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Always clean your lint filter after every load

Dryer sheets can leave an oily residue on your dryer and may clog the screen of the lint filter faster, reducing circulation and causing a potential fire hazard.

In addition to cleaning your lint filter after every load, a more thorough washing once a month is recommended to remove this build-up.

To deep clean your lint filter, remove and wet both sides of the screen with hot water. Next, wet a nylon brush with hot water and liquid detergent and gently scrub the screen. Rinse the screen thoroughly with hot water until the water runs clean, pat dry with a towel and air dry completely before replacing it in the dryer.

Get More Great Laundry Tips


What is Fabric Softener?

From softening clothes to simply making them smell better, learn how fabric softener may be a good addition to your laundry routine.


A dryer that helps prevent wrinkles? It’s not a fantasy – learn more about steam dryers and how they can help you on laundry day.


See what Maytag has to offer and zero in on the right dryer for you.