Did you ever wonder why you have to wait until the final rinse to add the fabric softener to your laundry? Laundry detergent and fabric softener can’t be mixed because the mixture causes a chemical reaction which forms a solid.
Conrad J. Gaiser invented a product to make it is easier for his wife, Audrey, to do the laundry. The couple lived on the top floor of a four-story building with the laundry room on the ground floor. In order to add fabric softener to the laundry, Audrey had to run down the stairs to catch the final rinse cycle.
Gaiser put his years of experience with soap and detergent to work. He wanted to change the process of adding fabric softener to the laundry. He decided to devise a product in which you would add the fabric softer to the drying process instead. The first prototype was fabric softener applied to a piece of flannel from his wive’s sewing room. When the sheet was put in the dryer, heat and moisture warmed up the fabric and the softener was released onto the other clothes. He called this first prototype Tumble Puffs.
Gaiser applied for a patent for his new product on August 13, 1965. He was issued United States Patent 3,442,692 for a Method of Conditioning Fabrics on May 6, 1969. Procter & Gamble bought the patent rights to the dryer sheet. The company then spent years perfecting the product; ironing out problems including the sheets getting stuck in the lint vent and uneven distribution of fabric softener.
In 1975, Procter & Gamble released the Bounce dryer sheets. Today, the dryer sheet is one of many easier options for adding fabric softener to your laundry. There are also automatic dispensers and balls which release the fabric softener at the correct time. Still, dryer sheets are a popular item for laundry and many other uses. There are even websites dedicated to the alternative uses of dryer sheets.
Some of the proposed alternative uses for dryer sheets include:
- Use them as an insect repellent. Dryer sheets will supposedly keep away ants and mosquitoes.
- Put the sheets inside old books and photo albums to remove the musty smell.
- Put the sheets under your car seats and floor mats to replace air fresheners.
- Soak pans with baked on food in warm water with a dryer sheet overnight. The food will be surprisingly easy to remove.
- Rub dryer sheets on pet hair covered furniture. The sheets will attract all loose hair.
- Use dryer sheets to remove the dust from almost any surface including walls, floors, furnitures and blinds.
- Soak paint covered brushes in warm water with a dryer sheet to help remove the caked on paint.
- Scrub down your shower walls with a dryer sheet to remove soap scum.
- Keep thread from tangling when sewing by running a dryer sheet over it before you begin.
- Fold some origami animals with your used dryer sheets.