Do Dryer Sheets Keep Ants Away? (Easy Adjustment)

Are you having ant-trouble in your house?

There are many ways to eliminate them, but one of the most popular methods is dryer sheets.

Some people say it keeps the ants away, while others say it doesn’t work.

So, does this age-old trick work? Let’s take a look.

Do Dryer Sheets Keep Ants Away

Dryer sheets contain the chemicals beta-citronellol and linalool, which keep ants away. These dryer sheets also repel other bugs and pests. Setting up barricades and strategically placing the dryer sheets in access points in your home will make the ants search new places for food.

Do Dryer Sheets Kill Ants?

No, the active ingredients in dryer sheets (beta-citronellol and linalool) are not strong enough to kill ants, only repel them. If your goal is to kill the ants and not just deter them, you’ll need a more potent pesticide to get rid of ants.

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Chemicals That Ants Hate

Pesticides, including ant sprays, are always short-term, dollar-consuming, and recurring solutions.

Chemicals That Ants Hate

However, certain ingredients in these pesticides have a long-term effect on health, and it’s better to use cheaper and safer solutions.


Linalool is the plant-based flavor added to cosmetics and perfumes for its charismatic aroma.

It is found in basil, lavender, mint, rosemary, and dryer sheets.

Studies suggest that it is an active compound for diffusing insects, ants, and mites with over 90 percent efficacy. (Read More)


The compound is a strong insect repellent, but only for short distances.

Research has proven that it gives 90-minute protection against ants and mosquitos, and its efficacy decreases when the insect moves further from the source. (Read More)

Other Ant-Prevention Articles

Here are some relevant articles in our Ant-Prevention Series that also cover the direct prevention of ants in case you have an infestation or want extra precautions.

How to Use Dryer Sheets To Repel Ants

A less expensive household item; dryer sheets/fabric softener sheets can rescue you from the icky, crawly feeling of an ant infestation by following these steps:

How to Use Dryer Sheets To Repel Ants

  • Dry the surface area that you suspect to be the main path for the anti-invasion with a paper towel
  • Soak the dryer sheets, preferably Bounce sheets (most potent active chemicals), in water and place them in the dried-out area. For example, above a bird feeder, under table legs, small cracks and paths, window screens, door jams, storage, fridge, or any feasible strategic location. Don’t reuse the same old sheets or add fabric softener to the old ones.
  • After placing the dryer sheet, allow them enough time to dry up and replace the same sheets whenever required eventually.

Best Dryer Sheets For Repelling Ants:

Some companies have stronger chemicals than others, we break it down below.

Bounce Dryer Sheets:

Not only do they control lint, static charge, and soften fabrics, scientific research conducted at Kansas University concluded that they are effective against fungi and gnawing weeds (fungus gnats) due to the presence of active chemical compounds, beta-citronellol, and linalool. These compounds are found in coriander, basil, lavender, and citrus and ward off insects, including ants and repel mosquitoes.

  • Best essence for ant prevention: Outdoor fresh
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Downy Dryer Sheets:

  • Firstly commercially available in 1987
  • Best essence for ant prevention: lavender and vanilla bean
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Gain Dryer Sheets:

  • Best essence for ant prevention: Original, Moonlight breeze
  • It prevents wrinkles and static and freshens up laundry
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Some Places Dryer Sheets Repel Ants: Myths or Facts

It’s a classic summertime scene: You mind your own business, maybe enjoying a barbecue in the garden when you feel a tickle on your arm.

Some Places Dryer Sheets Repel Ants: Myths or Facts

You look down to find an ant crawling around.

Before you know it, you are surrounded by the little critters.

You may be tempted to run inside and grab a dryer sheet to repel them, but does this method work?

Let’s look at dryer sheets and ants to see if this is a myth or fact.

At the Bottom of Plants: Fact

If you want flowers blooming in your garden in any season, dryer sheets can work like a charm to prevent ants.

Adding boiling water to ant hills and cutting/stapling strips of dryer sheets at the bottom of plants or forking branches has proven to work for us repeatedly.

We also use this for other insects and bugs, not just ants.

You can even roll them over plastic bags and place them at the edges of flowerbeds. 

This is one of our favorite ways to eliminate ant pathways and protect new growing plants and buds.

At the Bottom of Plants: Fact

It is cheaper than a professional plant treatment, and overall we prefer natural solutions in the garden. (We eat the food)

You could always lay dryer sheets straight on an ant farm, but if you’ve spotted the source, it’s probably easier to get rid of it with a more powerful prevention technique.

At Furniture Legs: Fact

The microfibers of dryer sheets are exceptional for removing dust from furniture surfaces due to dust-resistant residues.

You can rub these on a table or apply peppermint oil spray over a dryer sheet.

This combo is the ultimate combination for repelling ants.

It is proven that placing them on the furniture legs prevents ants from crawling up your furniture and onto the kitchen counter!

Mailboxes: Fact

Placing dryer sheets in mailboxes prevents infestation of ants, wasps, mosquitoes, and yellowjackets.

Mail carriers reported in the US that insect nests and infestations created dangerous circumstances for delivering mail.

ants in mailbox

Hence, they started placing dryer sheets inside these to make their jobs easier.

They now encourage people to use dryer sheets when confronted with a problematic mailbox, as the chemicals are strong repellants.

Storage Containers: Fact and Myth

Ants are always in a constant set of motion, searching for food, especially sugars and high-carbohydrate foods.

Most food storage containers are filled with foods high in fat and sugar, which ants like to grab and bring back to their colonies.

Placing dryer sheets can help but might have loose ends. For example, few people have reported that fire ants pass through the bounce sheets, leaving behind trails to be followed. While some suggest cloves, black pepper, or garlic oil with a dryer sheet can be an effective repellant for keeping food storage ant-free.

In Shoes: Fact

Ants are attracted to shoes due to sweat, shelter, and the humid environment.

Sweat provides them with glucose and sodium content, which are primary energy resources for ants.

In addition, they can use shoes as shelter if predators around (You) and they are distant from their colonies.

Not all shoes are meant to be washed or rubbed with essential oils to keep them ant-free.

white black and red nike air max 90

Dryer sheets are an excellent ant deterrent when placed inside shoes.

This works perfectly to keep ants at bay and the shoes in pristine conditions.

Window Blinds: Fact

Cleaning window blinds can be hectic for managing ant invasion.

However, cleaning your window thoroughly and wiping it out with a dryer sheet can repel ants from coming in.

Firstly, wipe out the blind surface using a microfiber cloth, reducing the electrostatic charge and helping pull off the dust particles.

Then wipe the surface with dryer sheets.

This will reduce the static on the blinds by leaving a positive charge.

This positive charge can ward off the dust from settling in the future.

Additionally, scents and chemicals from the dryer sheets can keep the ants and bugs away from entering through the windows, as ants hate lavender, basil, or citrus scents.

In Laundry: Fact

Ants are magnetized toward damp and humid areas.

Generally, this is a recipe for disaster, as ants move on these areas quickly.

Sadly, dirty laundry meets all these criteria.

ants in laundry

If you place your towel or wet clothes on the laundry floor, chances are that your clothes might attract some ants due to sweat or crumbs from the food you ate that day.

Ants can pass through your laundry, even if they don’t target your clothes, and can use laundry closets/wardrobes as nesting sites.

The best solution is the combination of a bait station for ants outside the laundry, adding fabric softener dryer sheets within the laundry, sealing cracks, and applying boric acid within the vicinity to keep ants away.

Dryer Sheets

Let’s explore the basics and science behind dryer sheets.

history of dryer sheets

Launch of Dryer sheets:

Dryer sheets were invented to counterbalance the impact of synthetic detergents, which may remove the natural waxes/oils from fabrics.

The official launch dates back to 1975 when Procter and Gamble introduced the product of dryer sheets named Bounce to the US market.

As the new concept emerged, companies battled to remain with the competitive edge, and presently, various brands are now found in the market.

The base is composed of non-woven polyester, covered with fabric softening agents.

These softening agents vary in each brand; for example, Unilever uses stearic acid, and P&G uses quaternary ammonium salts as buffering agents.

The texture helps to decrease static charge and increase clothes’ softness, fragrance, and durability.

Is Fabric Softener the same as the dryer sheet?

Fragrance-laden fabric softeners in washing machines are used during the wash cycle and penetrate directly into the cloth. They might stain up the fabric if not appropriately dissolved in water. Unlike dryer sheets, they aren’t heat-activated and don’t work on the fabric surface. Instead, they infuse into the fabric for a soft and conditioned texture.


Ants are troublesome creatures that can be a considerable nuisance in and around the home.

Thankfully, there are many tried-and-true methods for getting rid of them, including using dryer sheets.

These simple sheets can help clear out an ant infestation when used correctly.

However, not all ant hacks will work for everyone – you might need experimentation to find what works best in your situation to repel ants.

But by combining the power of dryer sheets (especially scented ones) with some everyday household items, you should be able to get rid of any ants quickly and easily!

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