Selecting the best dryer sheets can depend on factors such as your budget, and whether or not anyone in your home is sensitive to volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Most traditional products on the market use slight variations on the same exact designs, so in many cases you can safely base your choice on cost and personal preference. If you are working with a tight budget, or you are worried about potential reactions to VOCs, then you might want to consider making your own dryer sheets from a washcloth or bit of cotton flannel. You may not see the exact same results as you would get from commercial products, but experimenting with different essential oils can yield good results. If you are more concerned about the environmental impact of these sheets, and have some money to spend, then you may want to consider purchasing a reusable dryer sheet or a disposable product that is biodegradable.
Dryer sheets were first introduced in the 1970s as simple cotton flannel squares that were infused with a fabric softener and some type of scent. They are designed to reduce the static electricity typically associated with clothes that have been in a dryer, in addition to adding a fresh scent and certain level of softness. A number of advances have been made throughout the years, and many different manufacturers offer their own product lines. Most of these products are fairly similar in design and function, so choosing between them is typically a matter of personal preference in regards to the scents and the particular softening agents used.
Aside from personal preference and cost, there are a couple other factors you may want to consider when looking for the best dryer sheets. If anyone in your household is sensitive to volatile organic chemicals, then you should stay away from any sheets that contain those compounds. You may want to look for a product that does not release VOCs when heated, or even make your own dryer sheets at home. This can be accomplished by adding some essential oils to a bit of cotton flannel or a washcloth. If you are concerned about the ongoing costs associated with buying disposable dryer sheets, this may also be a good option for you to explore.
If you are more concerned about the waste generated by disposable dryer sheets, than VOCs or cost issues, you might want to consider reusable products. Depending on the brand, a reusable dryer sheet can be used up to 500 times before you dispose of it. Some of these sheets are only designed to remove static electricity, while others also make clothes feel softer and smell better. That means some reusable products are also a good choice if you are concerned about volatile organic chemicals, while others do release some VOCs with each use. This makes it just as important to carefully read the documentation with any of these commercial products.