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In My Opinion

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High on dryer sheets and their many uses

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

As much as I like recycling, I’m now getting into this new thing called “repurposing” – reusing a product for a different purpose. And I’m starting with fabric softener dryer sheets. You can’t imagine what all you can do with these things. I found a list of 50 ways to reuse my dryer sheets, and here are a few of my favorites:

Dusting: Knock the dust off nearly any surface, including furniture, blinds, car interiors and baseboards. I give one to each of my kids and we play a game called “Who’s the Dirtiest?” where they run around wiping everything down to see who ends up with the most grime. Winner gets clean underwear for a month.

Repelling bugs: Rub a sheet directly on your bare skin to discourage insects from leaving their mark. It’s possible it may also repel your significant other, but what I do after I rub on the dryer sheet is tear out one of those perfume advertisements from my fashion magazine and rub it over the laundry scent. Trust me, it’s sexy.

Keeping your clothes fresh: Tuck a few fabric sheets in your drawers to keep that “just-washed” smell happening for weeks. And throw one in your dirty clothes hamper to prevent any rampant, residual odors from escaping. This actually keeps you from having to do the laundry at all, since it already smells so good.

Hiding diaper smells: Keep your used dryer sheets in your diaper bag and roll one up in the diaper to prevent odors before you have a chance to throw it away. We’re done with diapers over here, but I like the premise. So I toss a dryer sheet into the bag whenever I get takeout. Keeps the car from smelling like a Chinese restaurant. Works for Mexican food too.

Cleaning baked-on food: Soak cookware with burnt food in warm water, with a dryer sheet or two. And when your husband notices a dryer sheet in the pan, tell him you wanted to add freshness and softness to his diet. And then the next night he’ll insist on taking you out to dinner. Promise.

Enhancing quilting: Use dryer sheets instead of paper when doing “paper piecing” for quilts. They’re lightweight and don't add bulk to your quilt. First iron them smooth, then trace your pattern onto the dryer sheets. Then ask yourself why in heaven’s name you’re quilting, because nobody does that anymore.

Softening the soles of your feet: Soak your feet in some warm water and rub them with a used fabric softener sheet. Saves on pedicures. And if you run all over house spreading that fresh laundry smell, your husband will come home and think you’ve been washing clothes all day.

And these are just a few ideas. Next I’m going to repurpose my cable bill. There has got to be another use for this thing.

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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