The short answer is no, dryer sheets are not bad for your dryer and it’s all a matter of preference on whether you choose to use them or not. They do however; leave a coating behind on some surfaces that need to be cleaned. Neglect this cleaning and it could affect your appliance.
How Do Dryer Sheets Work?
Dryer sheets do several things, they help neutralize static charges, soften fabrics and can leave a scent on dried laundry. The tumbling action of the dryer drum helps the sheet to work its magic. As the sheet comes in contact with items inside the dryer drum it deposits a fabric softener on those items.
Clean the Lint Filter Screen
Over time and from many uses, dryer sheets can leave a coating on the dryer’s lint filter screen which can prevent proper air flow inside the dryer. To fix this, simply wash the screen using running water, dish soap and a soft brush to remove the film build-up. Let the screen air dry and place it back into position in the dryer.
Be sure to clean the lint filter screen before using the dryer to help air circulation inside the dryer.
Clean the Moisture Sensor Bar
Dryer sheets can also leave a coating on the moisture sensor bar inside the dryer. The sensor bar helps detect the moisture level in the laundry and turns off the dryer in order to avoid over-drying the laundry. This saves energy and your clothing.
Clean the moisture sensor with a little rubbing alcohol if you use dryer sheets, as the sheets can coat this sensor, making it more difficult for the sensor to detect when your laundry is dry.
Ok, but aren’t dryer sheets bad for your health and the environment? Not necessarily, according to an article on Snopes.com, dryer sheets must meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
However, companies are not required by law to list the ingredients contained in a fragrance, so if you are worried about coming into contact with something that could make you sick, it’s best to avoid scented products. Look for products that are “fragrance-free” which means no artificial smells have been added to a product. Products marked “unscented” could still have detectable odors that cover up the smell from other ingredients.