• Home Home

Appliance expert warns against ‘flammable’ TikTok laundry hack that could ruin your dryer: ‘Please stop!’

“I’m glad someone spoke up about this. This never sounded right to me.”

"I'm glad someone spoke up about this. This never sounded right to me."

Photo Credit: TikTok

An appliance expert debunked a so-called “laundry hack” that previously went viral on TikTok.

The original video demonstrating the hack encouraged TikTokers to substitute dryer sheets for a “reusable” option: a sponge soaked in equal parts fabric softener and water. While this sponge method appears to be a sustainable and money-saving cleaning solution, an expert from Canada-based McMullan Appliance & Mattress issued a stern warning against it. 

“Please stop!” the beginning of the video exclaims. 

The scoop

Dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners may have the same function, but they are not interchangeable. By design, throwing liquid fabric softener into your dryer will not provide any benefit to your laundry loads.

“Liquid fabric softener is designed to be diluted with water on your rinse cycle so it can permeate the fibers of your clothes. Dryer sheets are heat-activated,” the appliance expert explained in their TikTok response.

@mcmullanappliance #stitch with @scottkinmartin #appliances #laundry #clothes #washer #washingmachine #cleaning #cleantok #fabric #fabricsoftener #retail ♬ original sound – McMullan Appliance & Mattress

The various chemicals and emulsifiers in liquid fabric softeners can also make certain fabrics more flammable. “Softener also makes fabrics like flannel, terry cloth, and fleece flammable,” he said in the video. 

An Insider article from November 2021 reported that a TikToker’s dryer caught fire after they tried the hack on a load of laundry. The video of the incident is now private, but the TikToker told Insider that the machine had no previous issues. 

How it’s helping

Though the sponge hack appears to promise quicker and cheaper laundry loads, it heightens the risk of dryer fires, which can cause dramatic damage to your home and well-being. A report by the U.S. Fire Administration estimated that 2,900 clothes dryer fires are reported to fire departments each year, causing five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

If you’re seeking ways to save money on laundry products, it may be best to remove fabric softener altogether from your routine since it is not compatible with all fabrics. According to Real Simple, fabric softening products can break down the fibers of moisture-wicking fabrics such as towels, sportswear, and athletic apparel. Additionally, cleaning experts interviewed by Today explained that fabric softeners can also coat fabric with waxy substances that smell worse over time.

​​“Overuse of fabric softeners over time starts to build a film and deposits [that] start to slow down drain time. It can actually start to fill the drain lines and then you get other dirt, debris, grime and things from the clothes that we pick up from the environment [that] start to cling even more,” James Copeland, director of technical services for Prism Specialties, told Today.

What everyone’s saying

TikTokers were grateful that the Canadian appliance expert shared a warning about the viral but dangerous fabric softener “hack.”

“Thank you!!! So many of these home hacks are poorly thought out or even dangerous!” a TikTok user commented.

“I’m glad someone spoke up about this. This never sounded right to me,” another wrote.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider