Fact or Fiction: Do Dryer Sheets Keep Bugs Away
For years, the claim that dryer sheets keep bugs away has been floating around home-related websites. How much of it is true, and how much is a myth? Because of our commitment to eco-friendly and pet-friendly pest control solutions, we’re always on the hunt to find bug-repelling tricks to share with homeowners. If you’re wondering if dryer sheets actually keep bugs away, here’s what you need to know.
Do Dryer Sheets Repel Mosquitoes?
One of the most frequently cited uses for dryer sheets as a bug repellant is their ability to deter mosquitoes. Some have reported that keeping dryer sheets in your pockets while outdoors can help keep mosquitoes at bay, though there is little scientific research to support this claim.
While a study has yet to be conducted to determine if dryer sheets repel mosquitoes, one can look toward similar studies to make an educated guess about the mosquito-repelling abilities of dryer sheets.
Do Dryer Sheets Keep Other Bugs Away?
One study, conducted by a team of researchers at Kansas State University, used Bounce dryer sheets to determine their effectiveness in fighting off fungus gnats. The study was comprised of a test chamber that included two separate compartments, one that contained a Bounce dryer sheet and one that did not. When the researchers released the gnats into the chamber, they found that only 18% of the gnats moved into the compartment with the dryer sheet, while 45% moved toward the empty compartment.
The reason for this? Most dryer sheets contain the ingredient linalool, which can be found in plants like lavender, basil, and coriander, all of which naturally repel common garden pests. Similar studies found that this ingredient is also useful for repelling bugs like mites, weevils, beetles, and German cockroaches. While its ability to repel mosquitoes has not been confirmed, linalool can also be found in certain mosquito repellants and pesticides, which may mean dryer sheets are more productive at repelling mosquitoes and other annoying bugs than some may think.
Fact or Fiction? Answer: Both
Although dryer sheets haven’t been officially proven to repel mosquitoes, their effectiveness hasn’t been disproven, either. It’s possible these common household items are a successful mosquito-repellant. However, until it is proven that the linalool and other bug-repelling ingredients found in dryer sheets deter mosquitoes, we recommend using an EPA-approved bug spray that contains the ingredient DEET to prevent mosquito bites during outdoor activities. Just because dryer sheets are not guaranteed to repel mosquitoes, however, they still offer a myriad of other uses around the home.
Other Pest-Related Uses for Dryer Sheets
While their ability to act as a bug repellant hasn’t been officially proven, dryer sheets provide other bug-related uses. Dryer sheets can help remove dried insects from the windshield and body of your car. Just dip the dryer sheet in water, or spray the affected area with water, and rub off with the dryer sheet. The chemicals in dryer sheets can dissolve a car’s finish, however, so make sure you reapply wax to keep a glossy finish on your vehicle.
Dryer sheets can also be used to protect houseplants from annoying pests. Since they have been proven to repel fungus gnats, placing several dryer sheets near your houseplants could protect them from these root-eating pests. This is especially useful for plants placed in moist-environments, like the bathroom or backyard, where fungus is most likely to grow within the soil.
Although this claim has yet to be proven, some say placing dryer sheets in dark corners or cluttered areas of your home can also prevent spiders and other bugs from nesting since it is believed these bugs are repelled by the smell.
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