Saturday, November 17, 2012
A dozen ways to use dryer sheets that don't involve the dryer
By Bonnie McCarthy
I thought I knew a thing or two about the alternative uses for dryer sheets: stuffing them under the car seats after an unfortunate spilled milk incident; tucking them into suitcases, gym shoes, musty closets; at the bottom of a trash can or pretty much anywhere funky odors were lurking. I had no idea that by the standards of many I was a complete amateur. I had been woefully underestimating the capabilities of the humble dryer sheet.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Pots & Pans
My advanced education in regard to the fragrant, anti-static sheets began when a friend suggested using dryer sheets to easily clean stainless steel pans. So recently, after fixing scrambled eggs, I soaked the frying pan with a dryer sheet for about an hour. To be honest, it didn't look like anything was happening and I was beginning to doubt my source.
At this point, some of you may be wondering why my pan is such a hard-to-clean mess after making scrambled eggs, and to you I can only respond: you are obviously a better cook than I will ever be. As a result, however, you will not fully comprehend the joy I felt when the pan easily scrubbed clean.
Another bonus, I was treated to a "spring-fresh" scent while I worked. After a final washing, it was something to behold. Artist Ferdinand Leger once said, "Beauty is everywhere, in the arrangement of saucepans on the white walls of your kitchen, perhaps more there than in your 18th century salon or in official museums."
My sauce pan looked kind of like that after getting it easily clean with a dryer sheet. Poetry!
Turns out, if I had left the pan soaking for several more hours it would have been even easier. Evidently, the softening agents and the anti-static properties present in the sheets team up to reduced the bond between the food and the frying pan.
Dusting Computer Monitors, TV Screens and More
I was hooked. The anti static properties that provide the sheets with a slight positive electric charge, also means they work wonders on cleaning computer monitors, TV screens and venetian blinds because they don't allow the dust to resettle. But wait, there's more!
Scrubbing Bugs Off the Car
Wanna scrub bugs easily off the family car? Wet the area and grab a dryer sheet.
Removing Soap Scum
Need soap scum removed from a shower door? A little elbow grease, a wet surface and a dryer sheet work like magic.
De-Linting and Removing Pet Hair
Dryer sheets can also be used for swiping away cat hair from surfaces or picking up dust bunnies, animal hair and human hair off of wood floors. Like a Swiffer, only cheaper.
Getting the Stinky Gunk Off
Another tip, try using the sheets to remove the sticky residue from price tags on new dishware. Similarly, they are also reported to assist in taking old wax off a surfboard. Cowabunga!
Getting Rid of Pests--Both Indoors and Outdoors
The sheets do have their detractors, however, ants, bees and mice do not like them at all. After layering several sheets in my pantry cupboards, the ant party was over.
In fact, dryer sheets can also be used as bug repellent in the great outdoors. Rub the sheets over your clothes, or tuck them into pockets, the tops of socks, or through belt loops. The spring fresh scent will repel the no-see-ums and you don't have to shell out extra for bug spray. After they've been used, toss them into the truck, or anywhere that would use some freshening up.
For advanced frugalistas, cut the sheets in half and get two-times the value. Regularly priced under $5, the versatility of dryer sheets makes it a bargain in a box.