Dryer sheets laced with synthetic fragrance can emit seriously nasty chemicals into the air, including toluene, styrene, phenol, xylene, and trimethylbenzene. Some of these scary sounding things have been linked to various diseases, including cancer, and others can cause acute respiratory tract irritation and inflammation, which can lead to asthma and other lung disorders. They can also cause skin and eye irritations. Synthetic fragrance has been linked in various studies to hormone disruption.
The fragrance also comes off of the sheets and can remain in your clothing for a long time. If you’ve ever put away warm clothing in the spring only to take it out in the fall still smelling like dryer sheets, you know what we mean. Then there are the sheets themselves—they’re rarely made of renewable materials and usually cannot be composted.
It’s the rare box of conventional dryer sheets that contains an ingredient list; conventional cleaning product formulas are government protected as trade secrets. The best option is not to use dryer sheets at all. A second best choice is to use ones made by a natural product company. These tend to be scented with natural essential oils and contain other ingredients that biodegrade. Some are even made from renewable resources and compostable. Another option to keep static cling at bay is reusable dryer balls.
Decide if you really need dryer sheets. If yes, seek out sheets from a natural product company that willingly lists its ingredients. Or try some reusable dryer balls.