How to Make Your Own Dryer Sheets

Folded cloth in glass container

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Project Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-5

Dryer sheets are a must to have on hand. They give your laundry a fresh scent and take care of static cling. Did you know you don't have to buy them at the store? Making your own dryer sheets is easy and cheap, and you will love how effective they are!

You will quickly find that homemade dryer sheets are better than any commercial brand for many reasons. First, they cost next to nothing to make and you can save money on the first load. If that isn't reason enough, you also can create your own scents, avoid harsh chemicals, and reuse them again and again. Pair your homemade dryer sheets with wool dryer balls, and your laundry will be fresh, soft, and free of static cling.

How Frequently You Need To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets

The best part about making your own dryer sheets? You can use them again and again! Unlike store bought dryer sheets, which get thrown out after one use, these DIY dryer sheets will last around 15 washes. Just make sure to refresh them or make new ones once they lose their scent by following the steps below.

What You'll Need

Materials

DIY Dryer Sheet Supplies

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 6 to 8 drops essential oil of choice
  • 1 glass container with a tight sealing lid
  • several pieces of cloth

Instructions

Natural Homemade Dryer Sheets With Vinegar

Many families have concerns about chemicals in laundry products and are trying to find natural alternatives. If you don't want to spend the money on chemical-free fabric softeners to create dryer sheets, there is an alternative.

The inexpensive answer to eco-friendly fabric softener is vinegar. It can be used in the washer to replace liquid fabric softener and to create your own dryer sheets. A single bottle can keep your laundry soft and fresh and eliminate the need to buy fabric softener or dryer sheets.

The combination of vinegar and essential oils in these dryer sheets is perfect. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener, and the smell disappears when it dries. This leaves the oils to add a subtle fragrance, which you can customize and change as you like.

How to Do It:

Folded cloth with glass container, white vinegar and essential oil

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  1. Fold each cloth, and place them all in a pile inside the container.

    Your cloth can be store bought or scraps (think rags, cut up towels, pieces of old t-shirts - whatever works for you!). It's best practice to use a jar with a wide opening at the top so it's easiest to place the rags inside and take them out when you're done.

    Folded cloth placed in glass container

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  2. Add Your Vinegar and Essential Oils

    Mix vinegar and essential oils in a separate bowl or jar. Choose an essential oil that you like, as it will not only mask the scent of the vinegar, but also leave its scent on any clothes you dry with your new DIY dryer sheets!

    Vinegar and essential oils added to empty glass container

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  3. Add Just Enough Vinegar Solution To the Jar

    Pour enough vinegar over the cloths until they are damp—but not saturated or soaking. You can save your excess vinegar for tons of cleaning tasks around the house, from using as a fabric softener to removing odors from pet stains to cleaning soap scum out of your shower.

    Vinegar mixture poured over folded cloths in container

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  4. When You're Ready to Run the Dryer, Grab a Cloth

    When you're ready to dry a load of laundry, remove one cloth and ring it out over the jar to remove any excess vinegar before tossing it in the dryer. 

    Cloth being ringed to remove excess vinegar

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  5. Replace and Reuse

    Place the cloth back in the jar after each use and it's ready for the next load. Add more scented vinegar as needed; it should be every month or so.

    Folded cloth placed back in glass jar

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Free Cloth for Your Dryer Sheets

There is no need to buy fabric because you probably have something in your home to recycle. You should be fine with just three or four dryer sheets, so scrounge around the house for some scrap fabric.

If you're storing them in a jar, be sure the fabric is thin enough to stack inside. 

  • Old washcloths, dish towels, and cloth napkins work perfectly. It gives them a new purpose once they get a little too worn out.
  • This is a great use of scrap fabric from sewing projects, including most cotton and fleece material. Cut them into equal pieces of at least five-inch squares and do a quick stitch along the edge if you think it will fray in the dryer.
  • Are you ready to cut up some ratty old t-shirts? Cotton shirts work wonders as dryer sheets, and it's a perfect way to make them disappear.

How To Make Your DIY Dryer Sheets Last Longer

  • The dryer sheet will last as long as the fabric holds up! The key to making them last as long as possible is not overusing the cloth.
  • Rotate the use of different pieces of cloth instead of using the same cloth over and over.
  • Avoid running your dryer on high heat, if possible.
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Home Cleaning Chemistry. University of Utah.