Dryer Sheets

The real story

Intro

For people who don't do their own laundry, dryer sheets are probably those little thin cloths that we sometimes find in our drawers after a new, warm load of laundry has finished. But what exactly are dryer sheets? What do they do? What are they made of? And how do they work? All of these questions will be answered....but keep reading!

What are they & what do they do?

Dryer sheets are usually small, white squares that get thrown into our dryers. They are thin and gauze-like, with a woven thread appearance. Before use, they are waxy to the touch, only to be dry after use. But what are they for? There are quite a few non-intended uses for dryer sheets, but the main and most intended one, is to eliminate and reduce static buildup in your dryer, as well as softening and giving your clothes a fresh scent (when your clothes are being dried). This also reduces static cling in your clothes when you are trying to fold them. Other uses include rubbing it on your clothes instead of a lint brush, or rubbing it on furnitures to pick up dust and pet hair.

What are they made of?

As mentioned above, dryer sheets are a thin, white, and gauze-like material. They look like a loosely woven threads, kept together by a waxy substance. The chemical substances used in dryer sheets that coat them are not usually specified on the boxes; but there is rarely a difference in them when comparing each company to another.

How do they work?

Background

What we know so far is that dryer sheets eliminate static buildup in your dryer. But what causes this in the first place? And how do little pieces of cloth fix that? Well, the answer is electrostatics, and turning objects that are negatively charged neutral again.

Stay Positive!

If you were to put your clothing in the dryer without a dryer sheet, What would happen? Nothing much really; you would be greeted with a million little shocks when you would want to fold your clothes though, and who wants that? But little shocks aren't the only problem...When you dry your clothes in the dryer, they rub against the side of the dryer (called the 'tub') and create friction. This friction negatively charges your clothes in a process called Static Buildup. This is potentially dangerous for your dryer if something were to go wrong, you would have approximately 12,000 volts of static buildup generated in your dryer (without a dryer sheet).

The Magic Touch

What is it about dryer sheets that keep your clothes neutrally charged? The only real solution to neutralize a negative object would be to balance out the neutrons and the protons. This is why when you touch an unused dryer sheet, it feels waxy. The chemical substances coating the sheet are positively charged, and essentially just melt in the heat of the dryer. When positive charges from the dryer sheet melt into your negatively charged clothing, it neutralizes them, and balance is restored. As an added bonus, your clothes are left with a light, fresh scent!

In conclusion

-Dryer sheets are thin, white, gauzy cloths

-They are coated in positively-charged chemical substances

-Your clothes create friction in your dryer, called electrostatic buildup

-Because of this your clothes become negatively charged

-The positively charged chemicals from the dryer sheets disperse into the clothes, balancing out with the number of electrons

-Your clothes will smell good, and so will you! :)

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