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7 Bugs That Dryer Sheets Repel

Using dryer sheets as insect repellents is a home trick everyone should know. Here’s the deal, comrades – In addition to removing pests from your home, they also give off a pleasant scent. Hmm.

So, what bugs do dryer sheets repel?

Dryer sheets repel at least 7 commonly found bugs, including:

  1. Mosquitoes
  2. Ants
  3. Gnats
  4. Dust mites
  5. Fleas
  6. Silverfish
  7. Beg bugs

Dryer sheets’ repellent activity is purely due to the presence of pungent compounds. Any insect that’s sensitive to these compounds will immediately stay away from dryer sheets.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything about how to use dryer sheets to repel bugs. Let’s dive in!#

A close-up of a silverfish on a textured cream-colored surface.
Ugh! Silverfish! One of the many bugs that dryer sheets repel (thankfully)

Do Dryer Sheets Repel Bugs?

Yes, dryer sheets can be a perfect home solution for bugs.

While there’s little scientific evidence that supports the use of dryer sheets to repel pests, there’s a good reason why this trick works.

It might surprise you to know that the insect-repellent quality of dryer sheets isn’t due to any insecticidal ingredient in the product.

However, scented dryer sheets contain certain fragrant chemicals. So, for dryer sheets to work as insect repellents, they must be scented.

To start, linalool is an alcohol found in lavender and citrus fruits. It only adds a pleasant smell to dryer sheets.

Other than its sweet smell, linalool is a natural pesticide and antimicrobial agent. For this reason, it’s one of the ingredients of many insecticides on the market.

Some people even get essential oils containing linalool to spray directly on carpets, clothes, and even pets. Scented candles containing the chemical are even perfect residential mosquito repellents.

Other insect-repellant ingredients include the following:

IngredientHow it works
Beta citronellolAs its name suggests, it has a pungent, citrus odor that repels tiny pests and bugs.
LimoneneLimonene is an insecticide that can kill mites and other microorganisms.
CamphorCamphor has a severe odor that repels and kills mosquitoes, ants, and lice
ChloroformChloroform is a neurotoxin. Its vapor can kill insects.

What Bugs Do Dryer Sheets Repel?

Dryer sheets can repel a variety of bugs, including the following:

1. Mosquitos

Citronellol-containing products are the best option if you want a natural method to keep mosquitoes away.

For starters, citronellol can confuse mosquitos’ sense of smell. While you might only detect a faint scent, the compound has a pungent enough odor to masks any other smells that the mosquitos are trying to get a whiff of.

That’s not all. If your dryer sheets contain limonene, they’ll kill any mosquito larvae. This way, dryer sheets can effectively get rid of any mosquito infestation you may have. The adults will fly away, and the larvae won’t survive.

2. Ants

It might be paradoxical how the pleasant-smelling dryer sheets can deter ants.

After all, aren’t ants attracted to sweet smells?

However, the limonene present in the sheets can actually kill ants on contact!

That said, don’t worry about the tiny insects dying, as they’re unlikely to even appear in the presence of dryer sheets.

The reason ants disappear is due to the other odors in the sheet! Camphor is an excellent ant-repellent because of its strong odor that ants dislike.

So, if you want to humanely keep ants away, store some dryer sheets around your home!

3. Gnats

Getting a gnat infestation is one of the most frustrating things. These tiny pests swarm almost anything, from old trash to fresh flowers. It doesn’t help that they fly in huge clouds and reproduce quickly.

Luckily, researchers proved that gnats stay clear of fresh dryer sheets. They placed the pests in a large container that has two smaller containers.

Then, they put a dryer sheet in one of the smaller containers.

Each time the experiment was repeated, gnats stayed away from the dryer sheet and gravitated toward the free container. The researchers concluded that the presence of beta citronellol repelled the bugs.

Herbal Mint Insect Repellent
Citronella works so well as a deterrent for many bugs, that I used it myself when I made homemade bug repellent

4. Dust Mites

You need a microscope to see these microscopic spider-like creatures that live in sheets, mattresses, carpeting and feed on dead skin cells.

But dryer sheets reduce their presence and allergens because certain chemicals are toxic to mites and make fabrics less hospitable environments for them.

Studies confirm dryer sheets effectively kill mites and decrease allergens on bedding.

5. Fleas

Watch out for these tiny wingless insects that infest pets and bite humans, leaving itchy red bumps. The scent from dryer sheets deters fleas from taking up residence in carpets, pet beds, and other fabric-filled areas of your home.

Some vets recommend rubbing sheets on your pet’s coat to repel fleas as well.

6. Silverfish

Keep an eye out for these creepy crawling insects with a metallic appearance slithering around your bathroom or basement.

Silverfish despise the strong scent from dryer sheets, so they are great for keeping them out of humid environments where they like to live and breed.

Place sheets in drawers, closets, and under sinks to send silverfish packing.

7. Bed Bugs

You’ll notice these sneaky flat oval bugs hiding out in the seams of mattresses and bed frames, often leaving behind small blood stains from biting you at night.

The chemicals in dryer sheets can deter bed bugs from infesting areas and deter them from feeding on you. Use sheets between mattresses and box springs to repel them.

How to Use Dryer Sheets as Insect Repellent

It’s important to understand that dryer sheets aren’t insecticides or insect repellents. For the sheets to be effective, you have to use them correctly.

Here’s how to use dryer sheets to repel bugs:

1. Soak the Dryer Sheets in Water

Dryer sheets only work in deterring bugs because of their strong smell. So, the sheets should be wet for the scent to spread.

The sheets shouldn’t be soaking wet, just add enough water to dampen the dryer sheets and extract their odor.

2. Place in Front of Bugs’ Access Point

If you already have bugs in your house, placing a dryer sheet in the corner of a room won’t prompt the insects to move out!

Instead, you should use the sheets to prevent pests from entering your home in the first place. 

3. Keep Dryer Sheets in Clothes’ Pockets

If you’re storing away your clothes, this simple trick will help preserve your precious closet.

Just keep a moist dryer sheet in the pockets of your clothes to stop any bugs and larvae from ruining them.

4. Scatter Dryer Sheets Around Your Greenhouse

Maintaining your garden can be a hard chore, especially with all the insects on the prowl to destroy your foliage.

While adding dryer sheets around your greenhouse won’t stop any soil infestation or plant diseases, it’ll prevent insects from doing further damage.

Yet, avoid placing the sheets in your soil. Only place them on the ground or around the pots.

5. Replace Dryer Sheets Regularly

Dryer sheets won’t stay effective for long. As the scent fades, so does the action. For this reason, you might want to replace the dryer sheets every couple of days or even daily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dryer sheets kill bugs?

Dryer sheets are pretty bug-friendly. The sheets don’t contain nearly enough chemicals to harm insects, especially if the insects don’t directly land on the sheets. Instead, dryer sheets deter bugs only.

Can I reuse old dryer sheets to repel bugs?

While using old dryer sheets can save some money, they just won’t work as well. That’s because dryer sheets’ efficacy comes from their scent. Old dryer sheets are usually odorless.


What bugs do dryer sheets repel?

Dryer sheets have a strong smell that can keep mosquitos, mites, ants, and gnats away. While you might barely smell the dryer sheets, their scent can be extremely irritating to tiny bugs.

That said, you won’t be killing any insects by using dryer sheets. The sheets only prevent bugs from accessing specific areas. So, they’re more humane than insecticides.