Are Dryer Sheets Safe to Use on Your Car?

Corvette Convertible
Anne Helmenstine

Did you know dryer sheets can make or break your car's finish? In some cases, they can really help you out. Mostly, however, you want to avoid putting your detailing cloths in the dryer with a dryer sheet or fabric softener.

Sometimes Useful

You can dampen a dryer sheet and rub it on your car to help remove dead bugs, particularly love bugs that embed in your finish. The dryer sheet trick also helps if you need to get at tar or sap. Just keep in mind that the reason this works is that the chemicals in the dryer sheet dissolve the vehicle's finish. It's better than scrubbing, potentially scratching your car, but you'll need to reapply wax to restore your shine and protect against future bugs and grime.

Sometimes Dangerous

Generally, keep dryer sheets away from your detailing cloths because the chemical residue will make it harder to get a showroom shine. If you used fabric softener or dryer sheets, you're basically fighting the chemical on your cloth to get a smooth finish. Dryer sheets are great for metal bumpers, but even there, a protective finish will serve you better in the long run.

So while dryer sheets are definitely a great option for detailing your car, remember that you will have to reapply the finish when you're done with them. Just be aware of how they impact your car's finish, and you can use them to their fullest advantage.