How to Make Natural Dryer Sheets

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How to make natural dryer sheets
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When I was little, one of the things I looked forward to about growing up was doing my own laundry… but not for the reason you’d think. I wanted scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets. My mom smartly used an unscented natural detergent that was closer to the homemade laundry detergent I use now, but I wanted the heavily scented chemical stuff that all my friends used.

I actually did use those artificially fragranced harsh detergents in college, and eventually realized that while they smelled good, they weren’t all they were cracked up to be and they gave me a headache.

When I had kids and made the switch back to natural detergent, I missed my clothes having that “clean” smell I had become so used to. Using essential oil scented soap in my DIY recipe solved this problem somewhat, but I realized that the scent didn’t stick around after the clothes were dried.

Natural Dryer Sheets

I stopped using conventional laundry detergent and dryer sheets, but desired a solution that would leave a fresh scent on clothes naturally.

I was also frustrated with the static cling that was tough to get rid of without dryer sheets. After some experimentation I found a two-fold solution that left clothes static-free and nice smelling without the harmful artificial fragrances:

  • Homemade Natural Dryer Sheets
  • Wool Dryer Balls

DIY Dryer Sheets:

I looked for a natural dryer sheet to buy, but could never find an option with ingredients I truly felt comfortable with. Just as with deodorant or toothpaste and all-purpose cleaner, homemade was the best, cheapest and easiest option.

I mainly wanted dryer sheets for the scent, so this was a really simple DIY project.

What you need:

What to do:

  1. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 25+ drops of essential oils of choice. I like Geranium, Citrus, Lavender and Mint.
  2. Fold the wipes or cloth scraps and place in your jar or storage container.
  3. Moisten but don’t saturate the cloth with the vinegar mixture (store extra in a bottle if you don’t need the entire mixture).
  4. Use one wipe/cloth per dryer load to freshen laundry. The vinegar smell will evaporate during drying and the essential oil scent will remain.

Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls help remove static cling, and also shorten the time it takes to dry a load of laundry. I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try them and I won’t ever go back. The mixture of natural dryer sheets and dryer balls has been the perfect solution for me.

With wool dryer balls, you can make them at home or buy them:

What, if anything, do you use in your dryer to reduce static and freshen clothes?

Natural dryer sheets combined with wool dryer balls are a great reusable alternative to artificially scented disposable dryer sheets.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


108 responses to “How to Make Natural Dryer Sheets”

  1. Anissa Avatar

    I tried the homemade dryer sheets and I’m personally not a fan. Even when I let the vinegar sit for weeks in a glass jar with orange peels the scent was way strong. Also, when I would put a cloth in the the dryer our clothes would still come out smelling like vinegar. No amount of essential oils could cut it. I use the wool dryer balls with and without aluminum foil which does help but does not cut out static from clothes of certain material like dri-fit or whatever it’s called. Since I don’t like the homemade dryer sheets I’ve been using the Bounce Free & Gentle sheets unscented and they work wonders. Katie, if you have other ideas I’m open to them, thanks!

  2. Alicia Anderson Avatar
    Alicia Anderson

    Adding a safety pin on your dryer balls will help with static! Thank you for the recipe. I’m totally going to try this.

  3. Kirstee Avatar

    I made the switch about a year ago to homemade laundry soap and have been loving it! Now I’m ready to ditch the dryer sheets and have started using wool dryer balls to help with the static. . I use essential oils in my soap to provide a fresh smell and the dryer balls take care of the static. I’ve debated with myself about throwing my own sheets into the mix as well, but I’m curious about the benefits of the vinegar. Do I need the dryer sheets too?

  4. jess Avatar

    Hi! A few questions here. 🙂

    1. Extracts = essential oils? Does it matter? Like lemon extract vs. lemon oil.
    2. Do you moisten the cloth immediately before using it? Or right before you toss it in the dryer?

    Thank youuuuu! 🙂 I appreciate your guidance!


  5. Sarah Avatar

    I’ve tried a few versions of this and everything still smells like vinegar. And, then when one of us sweats, oh heavens the smell is wretched.
    I’m at my wits end

  6. Alicia Avatar

    Hi there,
    I have tried wool dryer balls I bought from a local lady who makes them but we found we still have static on our clothes. I even put all 3 in at once and we still have static!
    Do you know what could be the problem?

  7. Billy Adams Avatar
    Billy Adams

    Thanks for the innovative idea. You should share some post like this.

  8. Sarah Masterson Avatar
    Sarah Masterson

    I have run into an issue with my family when they sweat in their clothes dried with the vinegar – it stinks terribly. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

  9. Rosemary Avatar

    For those who don’t have success with dryer balls, could they just put the vinegar mixture on the balls instead of working with the cloth scraps?

  10. Charmayne Avatar

    I must be doing something wrong with the dryer sheets. After a few days the inside of the jar has brown spots and the lid of the jar seems to be rusting. It happened to the first batch and now the second has done the same. Everything is new…the jar and the baby cloths. I read through the comments, but didn’t see this issue. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I know this is verrrrry late but if you are using a jar with a metal lid, it’s rust. Vinegar will make bare metal rust, canning jar rings, etc. That is the brown you are seeing is my guess. I used to have to go to the laundromat and carried vinegar in jars to avoid toting a gallon jug and the lids just rust.

  11. Nancy Avatar

    great post Have you ever by mistake saturated the cloth instead of just moistening it with the vinegar and essential oil mixture? What do you think will happen if I saturate a cloth by mistake and throw it in the dryer with my clothes?


  12. Emily Avatar

    Dryer balls are the best! I have to use the laundry room in my complex. When I forget them the jeans and towels are never dry when the cycle ends, but with them, everything is perfect!

  13. Laura McKenna Avatar
    Laura McKenna

    I’ve found that the oils can settle back on your clothes and leave oily stains.

    I add a few drops of essential oils to my dryer balls, then I put them in an old pair of pantyhose and run through the dryer on high heat for 15 minutes — the scent still lasts, but I don’t see any oily spots on my laundry.

    I love me my dark wool dryer balls (LOL, my family is sick of hearing me rave about them!) — I find that they don’t leave behind those white wool fibers on my dark clothes, so I don’t need to lint-brush my stuff.

  14. Elise Avatar

    How do you know when to replace dryer balls? Some of my more delicate items are getting static.

  15. Bethany Hart Avatar
    Bethany Hart

    I wonder if you know that essential oils are flammable? Perhaps you do know but I’m concerned that some of your readers may not. You should never use them in a heated dryer but always wait until the end of the cycle and you can throw them in when the clothes are tumbling on little to no heat. Just want everyone out there to be safe! <3 My solution is to use the wool dryer balls during the main cycle with nothing on them, and then once the cycle is done to do a quick little 10 min refresh with a wash cloth and some oils.

  16. Marcee Avatar

    *I was at a family gathering and my dress was riding up from static cling. My Sister-in-Love took me to the restroom and rubbed a very small amount of lotion onto my dress and the static was instantly gone. Thanks Sis!
    *I also find that if anything synthetic or polyester makes it into the dryer that the whole load has static unless that item is removed before it is fully dry. I have no static issues when I am only drying natural fiber material. I only use natural soap and use a couple tablespoons of vinegar in my rinse. My clothes are scent free with no soap build up and very soft.
    *If you are using commercial detergent it may take a few washings to get all of the detergent out and for your clothes to start softening up without softeners.
    *Sometimes instead of ironing. I just dampen my fingers with water and rub a spot until it is slightly damp and wrinkle free. Works great on collars. I do this most often with hubbies dress shirts.
    God Bless Everyone!

  17. Tyrone Avatar

    This recipe is a total failure. Did exactly what was specified (and doubled oil drops even) and it still FAILED!

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