Updated on 04.06.12

Cut Dryer Sheets in Half and Reuse Them (98/365)

Trent Hamm

Dryer sheets do a pretty good job of reducing static cling on items in the dryer, plus they can add a bit of freshness to the smell of clothes and other articles.

Still, the cost of these sheets adds up. For “name brand” sheets, you’re going to be paying about five cents per sheet. For generic sheets, the cost goes down to about three cents. If you’re using a dryer sheet in each load and you average a load a day, that’s $11 to $18 a year in dryer sheet costs.

That’s an unnecessary expenditure, especially since dryer sheets have at least two uses in them and you can cut them in half and use each half separately. That creates four uses out of each dryer sheet, cutting the cost down to $2 to $4 per year, which saves you $9 to $14 over the year depending on your brand.

Plus, it’s trivially simple to do.

Cut Dryer Sheets in Half and Reuse Them (98/365)

For reusing sheets, I just save a sheet or two on top of the dryer. If I dry a load of laundry, I check to see if there’s a dryer sheet on top of the dryer. If there is, I use that sheet. If there’s not, I grab one from the box.

When a load is finished, I check to see if there’s a tear along one of the edges. If there’s not, then I tear the dryer sheet so that there is a tear along one of the edges and toss it on top of the dryer. If there is already a tear, I dispose of the dryer sheet.

This system takes no time at all compared to just pulling out a dryer sheet and disposing of one, so it’s just a doubling of the value you get from dryer sheets.

As for cutting them in half, the easiest way to do that is in bulk. Take a big stack of dryer sheets and run them through a paper cutter, doing big handfuls at once. You can cut a box of them in just a few seconds this way, which doubles the number of dryer sheets you get.

Another technique is to just use a large serrated knife and simply cut the entire unopened box in half right down the middle. This effectively “opens” the box and exposes two halves, each of which contain dryer sheets that have already been cut. Again, this takes just a few seconds.

I don’t think it’s particularly cost-effective to cut them by hand with scissors, but if you are looking for a task for idle hands to do while watching a television show, this is certainly one thing you could be doing. After all, each sheet you cut would save you a few cents.

Maximizing dryer sheet usage is a small thing, of course, and it’s not a big financial win by itself. However, there’s very little time invested in this at all and the rewards from it are real enough to buy you lunch once a year. That’s a win for me, even if it’s a small one.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. Johanna says:

    Reuse dryer sheets? I’m skeptical.

  2. BirdDog says:

    Cutting generic dryer sheets in half and then reusing them? Sounds like a life of drudgery to me. The smell of fresh clean laundry is one of life’s little pleasures.

  3. Johanna says:

    I mean, you could just…not use dryer sheets.

  4. julie says:

    I don’t use dryer sheets. My clothes are just fine. I just thought it was unnecessary to put those chemicals on my clothes. I used to use vinegar as a fabric softener, but I stopped doing that, too. I don’t notice a difference.

  5. kiki says:

    I’m in the “why bother using dryer sheets?” camp.

  6. Johanna says:

    (I do use them, myself. But I can afford $11/yr.)

  7. cj says:

    Buy a gallon of white vinegar…some in the wash, some in the softener…works perfect! and so CHEAP!!

  8. Riki says:

    I love dryer sheets . . . in fact, when I wash my bedclothes I often use two in one load. And while I like putting my clothes out on the line in the summer, I do miss the smell of the dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener doesn’t seem to work as well.

  9. Heather says:

    I do use vinegar in the final rinse, and I hang dry a lot of my clothes. This gets them a bit crispy, but if you toss them in the dryer on air fluff for five minutes you don’t notice it. The one thing I always use a dryer sheet for is undergarments, which can chafe. But now I’m going to try and cut the sheets in two… Cool experiment!

  10. Lauren says:

    Yeah, I haven’t used dryer sheets at all since college (when I was still under the do-things-the-way-Mom-did-them-or-the-world-will-end spell) and haven’t really noticed the difference.

  11. BobinPgh says:

    Dryer sheets are really hard on dryers. Recently I had to take my sister’s dryer apart because she said it was not drying – sure enough there was a dryer sheet in the grill where the air flows out. This could have caused overheating leading to a fire. At first, dryer manufacturers did not recommend dryer sheets. Then they realized that if people used sheets, they could sell more dryers. Lauren, a college I went to, everyone used dryer sheets a lot. The odors now give me bad memories (I did not like the place).

  12. K says:

    “proudly free of dryer sheet use for 43 years… and counting”

  13. graytham says:

    Well, every comment I’ve posted lately has gone into moderation…and stayed there (even though none of them are “offensive to the general audience of TSD”). Should I even bother?

  14. Nicole says:

    Moderation. smh

  15. Micki says:

    I love frugality, and I love a lot of Trent’s ideas, but this is not a suggestion that will work for me. If I dry a load of clothes in the dryer, I always use one or two fresh dryer sheets. Otherwise, my clothes always come out a super static-y mess, and are hard to hang, and sort of stick to me when I wear them. I much prefer the way they fit and feel when I use dryer sheets, and I have not had good results reusing them either. Wonder why it works for some folks and not others?

  16. Evita says:

    I use dryer sheets only to remove the static (not an issue with natural fibers but a big one with synthetics and blends). Reusing spent sheets is silly, all the product is gone !!

  17. Izabelle says:

    I was in the anti-fabric softener camp for a long time, until I discovered that good-quality dryer sheets make my clothes less “magnetic” to pet hairs. Since I have 2 cats (1 white), this saves me a lot in sticky rolls!

  18. Donald says:

    @ graytham:
    “Well, every comment I’ve posted lately has gone into moderation…and stayed there (even though none of them are “offensive to the general audience of TSD”). Should I even bother?”

    You should indeed bother. How is Cut Media LLC going to rake in sufficient advert revenue if blog posts go uncommented and pages are penalized in the Google rankings for being “stale”? Keep commenting – Cut Media Inc. and its commercial relationship with the very talented Trent Hamm is more important than a bit of inconvenience on your end.

  19. Chris says:

    All the appliance repair guys that I know strongly discourage using dryer sheets because of how they gum up your dryer and damage it. Just say no.

  20. Karen Cook says:

    Save even more by not using them in the first place.

  21. Rachel says:

    Only synthetic fibers have static, so why not air dry those? Synthetic fibers usually dry very quickly anyway. I’ve never used dryer sheets and don’t understand the purpose of putting more chemicals on clothing unnecessarily.

  22. Terri Sue says:

    i don’t even use the drier. it is one of the most expensive appliances to use in the home. i use a clothesline. cheap. i also don’t use liquid softeners. you just don’t need them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *