Apparently, I'm a slow learner. I can't think of another reason why it took me years to associate my sons' and husband's itchy skin problems with the dryer sheets I used. While we didn't experience respiratory problems often associated with fabric softeners, according to the WebMD medical website, many reports show that the perfumes and additives in laundry products may cause skin and respiratory problems.
One would expect that such a life-impacting revelation (even without fragrance, dryer sheets pose a problem for my family, and all the skin problems disappeared once I stopped using any fabric softeners or dryer sheets) would have banned those pesky sheets from our home. But that's not true. Dryer sheets have so many other uses around that home -- indoors, outdoors and in the garage, too -- that I keep a box of fragrance-free dryer sheets on hand.
SCREEN CLEANERS. Dryer sheets make great dusting and cleaning cloths for television and computer screens. Not only will they clean the screens but the antistatic properties will also treat the screens to repel, rather than attract, dust. Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static cling, so they remove the dust and help keep it from resettling on the screens.
DRY-ERASE. To add luster and restore the surface of a dry-erase memo board, polish it with a dryer sheet.
FAN BLADES. There's nothing like static electricity to turn a fan blade into a dust magnet. But that's no match for a dryer sheet. Just take one of those gems and wipe down the blades to release dust, pet hair and cobwebs.
GUNKY OVEN RACKS. To clean your oven racks or grill grates, rinse them off and then soak them overnight in a tub of warm water with a little dishwashing liquid and a handful of dryer sheets (four or five should do it). Hint: For really messy grill grates, use a large black plastic bag to mimic a tub. Lay it out flat where it will be in the sun for a few hours, and then tie the bag shut and walk away.
STATIC CLING. Swipe a dryer sheet under a skirt that won't hang freely or a clinging sweater to counteract the effects of static cling.
STICKING SCISSORS. To fix dull, sticking scissor blades and prevent them from dulling over time, wipe them periodically with a new or used dryer sheet.
REPEL BUGS. Anytime you're outdoors consider slipping a dryer sheet in your back pocket. Research has shown that a couple of chemical compounds commonly found in the sheets (linalool and beta-citronellol) will deter the gnats and mosquitoes from hanging around, making this a reasonable and easier-to-use alternative to spray-on bug repellent.
CLEAN PAINT BRUSHES. Love to paint a room or do another project but hate the cleanup, especially the brushes? Then you're going to love this: Fill a sink, basin or bucket with warm water; place the gunked-up brushes in the water; and add a dryer sheet. Soak for a few hours while you take a nap. The remaining paint should come off almost like magic, making it easy to just rinse and let the brushes dry so they're ready for the next job.
CLEAN CAR. Dip a dryer sheet into water so it becomes saturated, and then use it to remove bugs from your car windshield and front grille. The fabric is abrasive enough to scrub away the insects but not harsh enough to damage the finish.
SOAP SCUM. Dryer sheets can help to get rid of soap scum in the bathroom. All it takes is just a few drops of water on a used dryer sheet and soap scum buildup nearly slides off.