Bounce Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets Work as Bug Repellent –Truth! & Misleading!
Summary of eRumor:
Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets repel bugs like mosquitoes, gnats and flies.
The rumor that Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets work as an insect repellant is true, but it’s also misleading.
Bounce fabric softener is scented with oil that works as a natural insect repellant, but low concentrations of it. So dryer sheets contain a natural insect repellant, but probably not enough to effectively repel most insects.
Scientists did, however, find that Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets work as an insect repellent for at least for at least specific kind of insect: fungus gnats.
Fungus gnats were put inside a plastic container that had two smaller containers connected to each side of it. One of the side containers had a Bounce fabric softener dryer sheet inside of it, and the other had nothing, according to a study published by HortiScience.
After several days, just 12-18% of the fungus gnats were found inside the container with Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets. Meanwhile, 33-48% of the fungus gnats were in the other container.
The experiment was repeated five times and scientists concluded that “Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets do in fact repel” fungus gnats.
The scented oil in Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets that repelled fungus gnats is called linalool.
Linalool, which is made from the oil of linaloe wood, is commonly used as an air freshener in household sprays and detergents. In higher concentrations, it’s also used as a pesticide.
In fact, the EPA approved linalool for use as pesticide in 2009:
This notice announces the availability of EPA’s final registration review decisions for the pesticides Trichoderma species (case 6050) and Linalool (case 6058). Registration review is EPA’s periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration, that is, that the pesticide can perform its intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. Through this program, EPA is ensuring that each pesticide’s registration is based on current scientific and other knowledge, including its effects on human health and the environment.
But there are trace amounts of linalool in Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets. Pesticides, meanwhile, have a 95% concentration of linalool.
That means Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets do contain a natural insect repellant, but probably not enought to effectively repel insects in most situations