We are proud to present a new series, dedicated to those ingenious equestrians who manage to get creative and repurpose various items to make them suit their barn needs.
Editor’s note: This article was inspired by a conversation on Horses in the Morning.
Equestrians have been called a lot of things. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, some of them are really, really accurate — such as resourceful. We’re great at repurposing pretty much anything we can get our hands on. Whether it’s baling twine, duct tape or broken/worn out tack, we find a use for everything.
Hence, the introduction of our newest series: You Use That for WHAT? This series is dedicated to those ingenious equestrians who manage to get creative and repurpose various items to make them suit their barn needs.
Today’s focus is on dryer sheets. That’s right, the thin polyester sheets that some put in with their laundry to prevent static cling and keep their clothes smelling fresh can be beneficial around the barn. Here are six uses for dryer sheets for equestrians:
1. Bug Repellant
Some people swear by dryer sheets as bug repellant, even going so far as using them to repel ticks. Apparently, most dryer sheets contain the ingredient linalool, which can be found in plants like lavender, basil, and coriander, all of which naturally repel pests. Although you certainly can’t tape dryer sheets on your horse to keep the bugs at bay (but you can try), you can carry them with you when you ride by putting them in your pockets, saddle bags or attaching them to your helmet. This may be a viable alternative to spraying yourself with your horse’s fly spray (we’ve all done it, right?)
2. Rodent Repellant
Although it’s not a long-term or permanent solution, dryer sheets also have been known to keep away rodents such as mice. The strong smell of the dryer sheets may keep your laundry smelling fresh, but it’s not the most desirable smell for the rodents who love our tack and feed rooms so much. Although I have not fallen victim to a mouse nibbling on my saddle or bridles (KNOCKS ON ALL THE WOOD), I know plenty of people who have. Therefore, a dryer sheet or two regularly reside in my tack locker.
3. Avoiding Static Electricity
One of the worst things about being in the barn in the winter is the static electricity. Not only because your hair clings oddly to your body after you take off your sweatshirt (although there is that), but also because if you’re not careful you and your horse will be in for quite a shock. You go to pet your equine pal and then — ZAP! You both get a shock, your horse jumps and you feel guilty. In the same way that dryer sheets can prevent your socks from clinging to your undies when they come out of the dryer, they can also prevent those unwanted jolts from static electricity. Simply keep one on you, rub down your hands and even your horse before or as you groom and no one gets an unwanted charge.
4. Freshening up Your Locker/Boots/Car…
Okay, so horse people aren’t exactly known for the inviting aroma that follows in their wake. Sure, we love the smell of the barn and horses, but not everyone appreciates it in quite the same way we do. And even we have to admit that our cars can get a bit ripe, as can our boots and tack lockers. The great news is that the same strong smell that keeps your laundry smelling fresh and wards off rodents and insects also works to keep your gear smelling like fresh linen. Since you’re already putting dryer sheets in your tack locker to keep away the mice, that’s taken care of, but you can also put them in your boots or helmet when you’re not using them to keep those items smelling fresh as well. Placing one in your car or truck isn’t the worst idea either.
5. Removing Horse Hair
Getting horse hair out of our clothes can be quite the chore. A few passes with a dryer sheet does wonders. It’ll suck the hair right off the fabric with just a couple of swipes and then you can toss it. This doesn’t just go for horse hair; dryer sheets are excellent at removing most types of pet hair.
6. Dust Repellent
Whether it’s keeping the dust off of the electronics in the barn (like the radio or box fans) or hard surfaces, dryer sheets work miracles when it comes to keeping dust at bay. The antistatic properties of dryer sheets actually repel dust, dirt and lint. To be fair, these are barns we are talking about, so you may want to manage your expectations when it comes to dust.
What other creative uses have you found for dryer sheets? Let us know in the Facebook comments.
Do you have an item for which you’ve found an unconventional use in the equestrian world? Let us know! We want to write about it and share the wealth (of information). You can email your creative barn hacks to [email protected].