When do fabric softener sheets expire? (2023)

Fabric softener sheets are popular with people who want to reduce static and keep their clothes smelling fresh. But do fabric softener sheets expire?

However, fabric softener sheets generally have an expiration date. So how long do they last? How can you tell if they have gone bad, and what should you do if they have gone bad? In this blog post, we answer these questions and more!


About fabric softener sheets

When do fabric softener sheets expire? (1)

What is a fabric softener sheet?

Fabric softener is a product used to reduce static electricity and make clothes smell nice. It is available in liquid and dry sheet form.

A fabric softener sheet is a thin piece of fabric coated with a chemical solution that reduces static electricity and keeps clothes smelling nice.

They are usually made of polyester or other synthetic materials. Fabric softener sheets are available in scented and unscented varieties.

(Video) Don't Waste Your Money: Best laundry detergents

How to use fabric softener sheets?

To use a fabric softener sheet, you must put it in the dryer with the wet garment. The heat of the dryer will evaporate the chemicals in the fabric softener sheet, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and static-free!

Do I have to use fabric softener?

You don't need fabric softener sheets, but they can help reduce static and keep your clothes smelling fresh. If you are sensitive to smells, you can choose an unscented variety.

Fabric softeners should only be used when washing clothes. While it's not a good idea to leave them untouched, they can still be useful in the long run.

The only thing to remember is that this is a temporary fix. Also, they don't soften your clothes. But you can use them while they're still fresh!

Are dryer sheets and fabric softener sheets the same?

Yes, dryer sheets and fabric softener sheets are the same thing. Both are thin pieces of fabric coated with a chemical solution that reduces static electricity and keeps clothes smelling nice.

The only difference is that dryer sheets are usually made from recycled materials, while fabric softener sheets are usually made from virgin materials.

Types of fabric softener sheets

There are two main types of fabric softener sheets: scented and unscented.

Scented fabric softener sheets often contain essential oils or other fragrances. They can mask unpleasant odors such as smoke or sweat.

Fragrance Free Fabric Softener Sheets are for people who are sensitive to fragrances or don't want their clothes to smell like a specific perfume.

(Video) Does Laundry Detergent Expire?

Do fabric softener sheets expire?

When do fabric softener sheets expire? (2)

Yes, they do.

When expired, they break down, become dry, brittle and less effective. The scent can also be weaker.

When do fabric softener sheets expire?

This popular laundry product comes in two forms: liquid fabric softener and coated sheets.

The leaf version lasts up to a year. The drying sheet is best used after six months.

Liquid fabric softener is best used within a year of opening. That's because liquids can harden when stored cold, so it's best to keep them in a cool, dry place. This will ensure that the fabric softener does not over dry.

If you keep them closed they will last up to two years. However, it is recommended to shake them before use.

Can you use expired fabric softener?

Yes, you can use expired fabric softener, but it may not work as well as it did when it was new.

If using an expired fabric softener sheet, cut it in half or use two sheets. You may also need to double use.

(Video) Shark Tank US | Barbara Has Some Harsh Advice For Sheets Laundry Club

Don't use the liquid version if it smells bad or has clumps floating on the surface. You can also use the fabric softener after it has expired, but you must first shake the bottle and get rid of the clumps.

How can you tell if a fabric softener sheet has gone bad?

When a fabric softener sheet is spoiled, it is usually dry and brittle. It may also have a weaker scent than when new.

How long do unopened dryer sheets last?

Unopened dryer sheets typically last up to two years. However, it is recommended to shake them before use.

How long can you store fabric softener?

You can store fabric softener for up to two years. For liquids, however, it is advisable to shake them before use.

Store sheets in a ziplock bag if you rarely use them. Pre-moistened sheets can dry out. Don't throw them away when they're moldy.

How often should you use fabric softener?

You can use fabric softener as often as you like. Some people use it every time they do laundry while others only use it occasionally.

What happens if you use expired fabric softener?

In general, it's best to use fabric softener before its expiration date for best results. However, if you use it after it's expired, it may not work as well as it did when new.

Uneven fabric softener that can leave dirt on clothes. If the fabric softener smells bad or is clumpy, do not use it. You may need to use more fabric softener or use it more often.

The pros and cons of fabric softener or dryer sheets

When do fabric softener sheets expire? (3)
(Video) 13 Laundry Mistakes YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE! Essential Laundry Tips Everyone Needs to Know


Some of the benefits of using fabric softener or dryer are:

  • Leaves Clothes Smelling Fresh: Bedding gives clothes a fresh smell due to the chemicals they contain.
  • Reduces Static: Fabric softener or dryer sheets help reduce static. It's when your clothes stick together due to the electricity generated when they rub against each other.
  • Softening Clothes: Fabric softener or dryer sheets will help soften your clothes. That's because the chemicals in it coat the fibers of your clothes, making them softer.

In contrast

Some of the disadvantages of using fabric softeners or dryers are:

  • May cause skin irritation: If you have sensitive skin, the chemicals in the fabric softener or dryer sheet may cause skin irritation.
  • Harmful Chemicals: Chemicals in fabric softeners or dryer sheets can be toxic if inhaled. It would be best if you always use them in a well-ventilated area.
  • May be Flammable: Fabric softener or dryer sheets can be flammable, so always store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Expensive: Fabric softener or dryer sheets can be expensive, so use them sparingly.
  • Not Eco-Friendly: Fabric softener or dryer sheets are not eco-friendly as they contain chemicals that can pollute the environment.

Now that you know more about fabric softeners and dryers, you can decide if they're right. When using them, follow package directions and always store in a cool, dry place.

Alternatives to fabric softeners

If you're looking for an alternative to fabric softener, you can try white vinegar or baking soda.

Vinegar is a natural fabric softener that helps remove buildup on your clothes. Baking soda is another natural fabric softener that helps absorb odors from your clothes.

Air drying your clothes will help reduce static buildup. It also saves a lot of energy (and money) and increases the longevity of your clothes.

You can also buy eco-friendly fabric softeners made with natural ingredients. These fabric softeners contain no harmful chemicals and are gentle on the skin.

Expiry dates and shelf life of other cleaning products

When do fabric softener sheets expire? (4)
  • Detergent (Liquid Detergent): Liquid detergent lasts 12 to 18 months. However, it is recommended to shake it before use.
  • Powder detergent: Powder detergent lasts up to two years.
  • All-purpose cleaner: The all-purpose cleaner lasts up to two years.
  • Bathroom cleaner: Bathroom cleaner lasts up to a year.
  • Window cleaner: Window cleaner lasts up to two years.
  • Washing soda: Washing soda has an unlimited shelf life.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar has an unlimited shelf life.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder has an unlimited shelf life.
  • Bleach: Bleach can last up to six months.
  • OxiClean powder: As long as the powder stays dry, it is not durable.
  • Borax: It has no expiration date, but the company recommends storing it in a dry environment.
  • Castile Soap: Good for up to 3 years.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%): Good for up to six months.
  • Dishwashing liquid (soap): valid for up to one year. Once you hit the 12 month mark you can see it break down and become less concentrated and watery.
  • Dishwashing detergent lasts 6 to 12 months but can lose effectiveness after about 6 months.
  • Lysol: No expiration date, but the company recommends using it within two years for "optimal performance."
  • Window cleaner: About two years.

frequently asked questions

What happens if you use expired washing powder?

If you use expired washing powder, it may no longer work well and your clothes may not come out as clean.

(Video) 12 Laundry Hacks That Will Forever Change Your Laundry Game!

Why Does Fabric Softener Get Thick and Clumpy?

If the fabric softener is getting thick and lumpy, it may be because it's expired.

Should you use fabric softener on jeans?

Using denim fabric softener is not necessary, but you can if you wish. Just follow the directions on the bottle.

Check out these related posts

  • How is fabric measured?
  • What does fabric softener do? (Softer or less wrinkled)
  • Do fabric softener towels keep mice away?
  • How to Make Tie-Dye Fabric with Glue [Fabric]
  • Does fabric softener go in the rinse cycle?
  • Can Sunbrella fabric be dyed? (Miami + get wet)
  • How to prevent tie-dye fabric from bleeding: tips to keep your fabric looking new
  • Can liquid fabric softener stain clothes?
  • Do cloth razors ruin clothes? (If you are not careful)


What is the shelf life of dryer sheets? ›

A: We recommend storing our dryer sheets in a cool dry place and to use within 6 months after opening the box and 9 months to a year is left unopened for best performance.

Is it OK to use old dryer sheets? ›

Reuse it: the first thing you should do with a used dryer sheet is use it again in the dryer! You can reuse dryer sheets quite a few times before they lose their effectiveness or scent. 3. Deodorizing shoes: stick used dryer sheets in shoes overnight to deodorize them.

What is the shelf life of Downy fabric softener? ›

Why is my fabric softener being very thick? Downy liquid fabric conditioner has a shelf life of approximately 12 months after which it could begin to thicken. Additionally, storing Downy in a cold place, such as an outdoor location or a basement laundry room, can cause Downy liquid to thicken.

Why should you not use fabric softener on sheets? ›

That's because fabric softeners and dryer sheets coat fabric fibers with a stubborn residue that builds up over time, making sheets and pillowcase more difficult to clean. This buildup can also fade colors and break down cotton fibers, which, ironically, causes linens to lose their softness in the long run.

Do laundry detergent sheets expire? ›

Unlike food, most laundry detergents can be used past their expiry date. Expired laundry detergents become less effective and lose their clean scent. The only exception is clumpy, clabbered liquids. When you pour an expired laundry detergent to an automatic dispenser, then it'll likely clog the machine.

How long do laundry detergent sheets last? ›

Laundry sheets work with all types of washers, including high-efficiency machines. Per medium-sized load, their cost is in line with liquid detergents, pods and packs. You can find these strips in boxes costing $15 to $20 that will launder 30 to 60 loads.

What can I do with old fabric softener sheets? ›

Wipe one over your clothes or furniture to help remove pet hair. Run them over your baseboards and other molding to lift dust and help repel it. Keep window blinds clean longer by wiping them down with a used dryer sheet to repel dust and lint. Wipe ceiling fan blades with used dryer sheets.

What can I use instead of dryer sheets? ›

What can I use instead of dryer sheets?
  • Aluminum foil. Roll a piece of foil up to make it about the size of a baseball and toss it in the dryer with your wet clothes! ...
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Lightly dampen a (clean) washcloth with apple cider vinegar and throw it in the dryer! ...
  • Tennis balls. ...
  • Wool dryer balls. ...
  • Line drying.
Aug 10, 2018

How many dryer sheets can you use? ›

Most dryer sheet manufacturers recommend adding one sheet for small to average-sized loads and two sheets for average to large loads. If you have a large capacity washer and dryer or using a large capacity dryer at a laundromat, you may wish to add three dryer sheets.

Can too much fabric softener ruin your washing machine? ›

4. It's bad for your washing machine and plumbing. As many brands of fabric softener are petroleum-based and contain animal fat, they can clog up your washing machine (especially if it's a front-loading one) and pipes. Fabric softener can also encourage the growth of mold in your machine.

What fabric softener lasts the longest? ›

Five Fabric Softeners that last
  1. Downy Mystique. It is no suprise that Downy tops the list. ...
  2. 2.Comfort Luxury Nature. Comfort is one of the top softener brands. ...
  3. 3.Essence Floral. As for Essence, the Floral scent claims that it is six times more concentrated. ...
  4. 4.4. Hygiene Expert Care Live Scent Sunkiss Blooming.
Jan 19, 2021

How do hotels get their towels so soft? ›

Hotels also use baking soda to maintain the brightness and softness of their towels and sheets. Adding ½ cup of baking soda in your laundry is a great way to maintain your towels, linens, and sheets. It softens the fibers and makes it easier to remove stains.

Do fabric softener sheets ruin your dryer? ›

The use of fabric softener dryer sheets won't permanently damage your dryer, but they may affect its operating efficiency. And, when efficiency is reduced, your utility bills go higher. Just as the dryer sheets leave a residue on your clothing that makes the fabric feel softer, they also leave residue in your dryer.

How many times should you wash your bed sheets? ›

Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.

Are detergent sheets safe? ›

Long answer: Absolutely! Laundry detergent sheets are designed to clean effectively with only key cleaning ingredients for the ultimate cleaning power without unnecessary and harmful additives. According to Angela Bell, "Laundry detergent sheets are as efficacious as their powder or liquid counterparts.

Do dry goods actually expire? ›

Yes, dry ingredients like flour, beans, pastas, and more expire and can become unsafe to consume. Different dry goods expire at different rates depending on many factors, including how they are stored.

Why do clothes smell after washing? ›

A dark, wet environment like a washing machine is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew to thrive. These can build up in your clothing as time goes on, eventually leaving them with a permanent odor.

How do you store laundry detergent sheets? ›

It's great that laundry sheets come in plastic-free packaging. They're lighter and take up way less space than a traditional detergent jug. They can stay in the packaging and be stored in a dry space like a cabinet or on a shelf as long as they're out of reach of small children or pets.

What happens if you don't wash your sheets for a year? ›

What if you don't? Not washing your sheets regularly exposes you to the fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that are commonly found on sheets and other bedding. Other things found on sheets include bodily secretions, sweat, and skin cells.

Do laundry sheets work as well as pods? ›

Laundry sheets are just as convenient as laundry pods in that they are also pre-measured and easy to put into the laundry drum. However, laundry strips are generally much more expensive — Beyond 100% is the least expensive of the laundry sheet options that we've tried, and smells amazingly linen-y fresh.

Are fabric softener sheets worth it? ›

It's an effective way to keep fabrics soft and wrinkle-free. It also helps reduce friction between fibers, which creates less static cling and helps product your clothes from wear and tear, making them last longer than if you were to go without.

How many fabric softener sheets should I use? ›

How many dryer sheets you'll need depends on the size of the load. Toss in two Bounce® dryer sheets for your average loads to iron less, fight more static, repel more lint & pet hair, and add more softness & freshness. For small & medium loads toss in one Bounce® dryer sheet, and for extra-large loads toss in three!

Why would you put downy in your toilet tank? ›

Fabric softener could ruin your bathroom plumbing

Flush that idea down the drain! Truth or Fiction debunked the reliability of this trick back in 2020, and explained that fabric softener is a major no-go since it's hydrophobic and not water soluble.

What does rubbing a dryer sheet on your hair do? ›

Tumble dried sheets are positively charged, and our hair negatively charged, so the sheets help eliminate static hair – and the conditioner in the sheets smooths it down. The method is delightfully simple. Before heading on a night out, I took a dryer sheet and glided it down my hair for instant smoothing.

What happens if you put too many dryer sheets in? ›

If you use too many dryer sheets that waxy coating can also end up on the sensor bars on your dryer or the grain sheets can get stuck to the sensor bars. And if those sensor bars are covered, your dryer might think that your clothes are dry before they're actually dry.

What does aluminum foil do in the dryer? ›

What Does the Aluminum Foil Do? For static-free loads of laundry, two or three inch-thick balls of aluminum foil should do the trick. Rip off a few sheets of foil, crumple them up tightly and toss them in your dryer. Your clothes will come out sans static, all due to an exchange of electrons.

Do I just throw dryer sheets in the dryer? ›

To use Downy Dryer Sheets, simply drop a new dryer sheet on top of your clothes in the dryer. (For large loads or for extra softness and fragrance, use two sheets.) Dryer sheets aren't just useful in the laundry room, check out these dryer sheet life hacks.

Is liquid fabric softener better than dryer sheets? ›

Liquid fabric softeners are slightly preferable to dryer sheets, as the chemicals in dryer sheets get released into the air when they are heated up in the dryer and can pose a respiratory health risk to those both inside and outside the home.

Can I put dryer sheets in my drawers? ›

There's really no need for scented drawer-liner paper, give your dresser drawers a fresh washed aroma by tucking a new dryer fabric softener sheet at the bottom of drawers, or tape one to the back of each drawer.

Can you leave sheets in the washer for a couple hours before drying? ›

In general, you can leave your wet clothes for a maximum of eight to twelve hours, according to an expert from the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science.

Do dryer sheets make a big difference? ›

Dryer sheets reduce static and increase the cottony feel of fabrics. Dryer sheets are coated with stearic acid, which melts in the dryer and coats clothes to provide these benefits.

Is white vinegar better than fabric softener? ›

Vinegar is actually just as good as fabric softener at making your clothes nice and soft. Unlike fabric softener, vinegar does not have harsh chemicals or leave a residue.

How can I soften my clothes without fabric softener? ›

All you have to do is add ½ a cup of baking soda to your washing machine and let it dissolve in the water before adding the clothes. The baking soda works as an inhibitor to the minerals present in hard water, therefore they won't have any effect on the clothes that come in contact with the water.

How can I make my laundry smell stronger? ›

Mix one cup baking soda, one half cup Borax with one cup white vinegar and 20 drops of lemon or orange citrus oil. Add this mixture to your bottle of laundry detergent and use as normal.

Can fabric softener sheets be used more than once? ›

Dryer sheets have at least two uses in them, and you'll get the same result by cutting them in half. Dryer sheets do a pretty good job of reducing static cling on items in the dryer, plus they can add a bit of freshness to the smell of clothes and other articles.

What's the strongest smelling fabric softener? ›

What fabric softener smells strongest? In our trials, we found that the MOAM Organics fabric softener had the strongest scent thanks to its high essential oil content. If you're not keen on lavender, however, Method's Pink Freesia fabric softener has a beautiful, powerful scent that's more floral and less botanical.

Why don't my towels smell fresh after washing? ›

If a towel continues to have a smell, it means that bacteria are still in your machine or on your towel. Run the washing machine again with bleach, or wash the towel a second time to remove the stubborn bacteria.

What does white vinegar do to towels? ›

Washing Towels with Vinegar

Use about half the recommended amount of detergent while washing and add ½ to 1 cup of white vinegar to the water during the rinse cycle. The vinegar helps set the colors and removes excess detergent residue.

Does washing towels in vinegar make them softer? ›

What the internet says. Fabric softeners actually have oils and other ingredients that make towels less absorbent. Instead, pour a cup of distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment, which softens the towels and kills bacteria.

Do dryer sheets expire? ›

Dryer sheets:

Do not expire, but will lose their scent over time if left open.

How long do dryer sheets last? ›

A: We recommend storing our dryer sheets in a cool dry place and to use within 6 months after opening the box and 9 months to a year is left unopened for best performance.

Why shouldn't you use dryer sheets with towels? ›

Like fabric softener, dryer sheets contain oils that can coat towel fibers and destroy their absorbency. So, don't use them when drying your towels. Instead, create three-inch balls from aluminum foil and toss them in the dryer with your towels.

Do hotels clean sheets every day? ›

Sheets are usually changed between guests, and sometimes state law requires it, but there's no guarantee that they will be. As for bedspreads, forget it. As countless hidden-camera investigative TV programs have confirmed, they aren't washed regularly.

How often should I change my sheets if I shower every night? ›

And lastly, if you shower every night before crawling into bed, you can probably get away with washing your sheets every other week. Washing your sheets once a week is the best way to keep your bedding fresh!

How often do married couples change their sheets? ›

According to the Mattress Advisor survey, married couples change their bedclothes about every 19.9 days whereas single people wait 37 days on average. And single men change them less often than single women. Mattress Advisor also found that people usually wait four to 11 days to wash sheets after sexual activity.

What should I use instead of dryer sheets? ›

What can I use instead of dryer sheets?
  • Aluminum foil. Roll a piece of foil up to make it about the size of a baseball and toss it in the dryer with your wet clothes! ...
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Lightly dampen a (clean) washcloth with apple cider vinegar and throw it in the dryer! ...
  • Tennis balls. ...
  • Wool dryer balls. ...
  • Line drying.
Aug 10, 2018

Should I fix a 10 year old dryer? ›

It's recommended as a rule of thumb that if your dryer is close to 10 years old, you're better off replacing it outright, especially if the quote for repairs comes in high.

Which dryer sheets have the longest lasting scent? ›

Gain Dryer Sheets

Gain is known for having some of the longest-lasting scented dryer sheets. They also reduce static cling and wrinkles while softening.

How to make clothes smell good in dryer without dryer sheets? ›

Make your laundry smell great without dryer sheets

Dampen an old, clean sock and dab it with two drops of rose, lavender or peppermint extract, then, turn it inside out and throw it in the dryer with the rest of your clothes. The oil will only leave residue on the sock, not your clothes or lint trap.


1. California Hair Stylist Sets Client's Hair on Fire to Get Rid of Split Ends
(Inside Edition)
2. Queen of Clean: Uses for Liquid Softener
(AZFamily | Arizona News)
3. Hoarders ❤️ What Organization Style is a Hoarder? Clutterbug Organizing Tips
(A Hoarder's Heart)
4. DIY Fabric Softener: How to Make Fabric Softener & Save Money on Laundry (Clean My Space)
(Clean My Space)
(Mississippi Beauty)
6. I Have Expired Household Products TOO?


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated: 04/08/2023

Views: 6235

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.