Mailbox Puzzle Perplexes Residents in Many States

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A growing trend in mailboxes across the United States has residents puzzled. Upon removing their mail from their mailbox, residents are finding – dryer sheets. A loose one. Hum, Why? Are you being targeted by gangs? Doesn’t seem the sort of thing gangs are into, right?

Who put it there? Is there a reason? Or is it a prank? Maybe the kids down the street put it there. You take it out and throw it away. The next day – there is another one. Maybe a box of samples broke open, and they got stuck in with your mail? Weird.

1. The Dilemma of the Never Ending Dryer Sheet

Ok, so there is a dryer sheet in your mailbox? Again, you threw the last one away. So, here’s another one. Throw that one away too. Next mail day, there is another one. What gives? Is it some secret message? Does your laundry smell bad?

Or is there a deeper meaning behind all those dryer sheets. Has the mail person lost their mind? Is there a reason for the dryer sheet you don’t know about? As it turns out, someone did put it there for a reason, an excellent cause. It was the person who delivers your mail every day.

2. Mailman Admits Leaving Dryer Sheets in Mailboxes

One mailman confessed to leaving dryer sheets in mailboxes. He left those dryer sheets in mailboxes in Oregon and Idaho. He has been leaving them for a while. But why did he leave them there, tho? No, the United States Postal Service (USPS) did not put him up to it. It is not a new postal policy authorized by the government.

Chris Strickley explained on Reddit, in 2021, why he puts those dryer sheets in people’s mailboxes. He hasn’t lost his mind. No, he has an excellent reason for putting them in there. You will be very surprised when you find out why.

3. Puzzled Mailman finds Dryer Sheets in People’s Mailboxes

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Chris said he was just as confused as anybody when he first noticed the dryer sheets. As he delivered mail, he would find them in people’s mailboxes. Clueless, he would leave them there and go on about his route. But he got more and more confused about them.

It was a puzzle. He would start seeing them in the spring and throughout the summer? One day he saw his supervisor had a box of them on his desk. And the other carriers would take some of them on their way out to do their routes. But what is the secret behind them?

4. Why are the Other Mail People Taking Dryer Sheets on their routes?

Strickley finally asked why. Why were the mail carriers taking dryer sheets on their routes? He went on to share on Reddit the reason. No, it is not USPS policy or even recommended by them. There is an excellent reason the dryer sheet brigade puts them in people’s mailboxes.

This reason is not supported by scientific facts. Sonja L. Swiger from Texas A&M University said the science does not support their reasoning. She felt if it were true, science would have proved it. Do we need dryer sheets in our mailbox? Or can we just keep on throwing them away.

5. Mailbox Owners Doughtful of Mailman’s Story

Many mailbox owners dought Strickley’s story. They feel it very unlikely. Some still feel the gangs are targeting their homes for an invasion. Although some believe him and are taking up the dryer sheet cause to keep them in their mailboxes. Many have an insect phobia and will do anything they can to keep them away.

Yes, it is all about insects. Those dreaded dryer sheets are there to keep the insects away. And who can blame them? Even people who do not have phobias don’t particularly want to stick their hand into a nest, which is indeed very reasonable.

6. Yellowjackets Hate their Homes being Invaded

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Strickley cannot count the number of times he has opened a mailbox to see a nest of yellowjackets. They are prevalent during spring and summer. It seems particular insects just love mailboxes for shade and to build their homes in. But of course, mailmen are not very pleased to see them every time.

And yellowjackets get really annoyed if you happen to disturb them at their leisure. Mail carriers get frustrated with delivering mail while avoiding getting stung. Mail carriers get stung every year. Last year, Strickley was stung 10 times at different mailboxes. As Strickley knows, yellowjackets are not friendly.

7. Flying Stingers Frustrate Mail Persons

Yellowjackets are distinctive in their black and yellow striped appearance. The queen yellowjackets emerge when the days get warm in late spring. All the females are capable of stinging. They don’t like the heat, so they find a shady spot to build their homes. And that’s why mailboxes are perfect.

Mailboxes are perfect for them to make their nest and lay their eggs. Mailboxes provide shelter from storms and wind. But dryer sheets? Do they work? Mail people use dryer sheets as a preventative measure. It seems the flying stingers will not nest in a mailbox with a dryer sheet in it.

8. Mailboxes Overwhelmed with Yellowjackets are Unusable

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If a yellowjacket colony has developed inside a mailbox, the mail person can not leave the mail. It is too hazardous for them. They must inform the resident they need to get rid of the yellowjacket population. They will be unable to deliver mail until they do so. But this is a really long process.

The mail person leaves a note on the resident’s door explaining the situation. The resident will have to pick up their mail at the local post office until the problem is rectified. Unfortunately, the resident may have to hire a professional to exterminate the colony.

9. Yellowjackets form Colonies

Yellowjackets are very social insects, and they do form colonies around a queen. The queen lays the eggs and feeds the larvae until the first batch hatches. When the female worker wasps have developed, they take over caring for the larvae.

They also eat other insects, so farmers really like to have some of them around. Their barbed stingers are lance-like. Yellowjackets can sting repeatedly. The venom is dangerous to people who are allergic or are stung many times. Because all the females are capable of stinging many times. This can be a health problem for a poor, unsuspecting mail person.

10. Aggressive, Stinging Yellowjackets

Most of the yellowjacket population are small, infertile female workers. Yellowjacket females are the ones with the stingers. And they are aggressive at protecting their colony of larvae. Queens stay in the nest, laying eggs. The colony expands rapidly.

Each yellowjacket colony can reach four to five thousand worker wasps. Colonies can become very aggressive at protecting their young. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 62 humans die every year of bee and wasp stings. This was the number in 2017. This number increases every year, and of course mailmen don’t want to get stung.

11. More Men Die of Stings than Women

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps statistics on the cause of deaths in the United States. Deaths from hornet, bee, and wasp stings total 1,109 from 2000 to 2017. An average of 62 deaths per year. Males make up 80% of these deaths, which is a pretty crazy amount.

Maybe because men work in the professions involving dealing with outdoor activities. Jobs like building, renovations, logging, clearing land, agriculture, and others. These Jobs are done predominately by men. Jobs like these expose people to locations where insects thrive. Whenever working outdoors, be cautious and watch for venomous insects.

12. Iowa Mail Carrier Attacked by Yellowjackets

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In 2019 Dwayne Kriegel died of multiple yellowjacket stings. Dwayne, a mail carrier, was delivering mail at the time he was attacked. He reached in to deposit the mail, and the yellowjackets attack in mass. The incident happened in August in Grinnell, Iowa.

Dwayne had been a mail carrier for 30 years. He carried an EpiPen being highly allergic to the venom from wasp stings. When the emergency medical team found him, his EpiPen lay unopened beside him. Evidently, he was unable to get it open in time to save himself. This cruel story of course went through the head of many mailmen.

13. Kriegel Suffered Heart Attack after the incident with Yellowjackets

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An incident like this could have happened almost anywhere in the U.S. Dwayne was able to call his wife. She ordered up the emergency medical team. Kriegel had gone into anaphylactic shock and was unconscious when they found him. It was a really hard time for all the included people.

After being shocked back to life, Dwayne was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital. Where he died the following week, having suffered a heart attack. Kriegel was without oxygen for 14 minutes before the emergency team was able to revive him. This may have contributed to his heart attack and subsequent death.

14. Agriculture Depends on Pollinators like Bees and Wasps

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It is recommended not to disturb pollinators like bees and wasps. They really don’t want to be disturbed. If they are not a nuisance. They are vital to the ecosystem and especially agriculture. Hornets feed off nuisance insects, so agriculturalists like to have them around.

Yellowjackets are the most likely to sting, being very aggressive. Their yellow and black stripes make them look like bees, but they do not have hair. They will often attack en masse. Their colonies can be up to 5,000 per nest. They are seen mostly in late summer and early fall. Avoid them if possible.

15. Controlling Yellowjacket Populations

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It is pretty difficult to control a yellowjacket population. Their nests can be 1000 feet from where they are flying. Their nests are hard to find, and some build nests underground. Dust forms of insecticide are more effective at killing them. It is dispersed through a bellows duster.

That is, if you find the opening of the nest. Nests often have an entrance and an exit, especially underground ones. Most yellowjackets are inactive at night. So that is indeed the very best time to apply the treatment. Don’t shine a light into the nest, or they may swarm toward it.

16. Mailbox Ants

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It seems the mailbox is a popular hang-out for ants as well as wasps and yellowjackets. Staci Hoppes told her Facebook followers, in 2019, she uses dryer sheets to repel ants. Two years later, she verified she still uses them, and they work. It seems ants, like yellowjackets, do not like the smell of dryer sheets. It acts as a natural repellant.

Ants are a significant problem for many homes across the nation. It seems the mailbox is another area they like to congregate. But what is it that attracts them to the mailbox? Has somebody been mailing cookies again?

17. Insect Free Mailboxes

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Hoppes got rid of her ant troubles, and it seems other bugs are scarce around her mailbox as well. She adds a dryer sheet when she starts to see ants around her mailbox. This trick has served her well for a couple of years now. So, why dryer sheets? Do they really help?

Are they made of something special? Are they another top-secret military experiment that didn’t work out? And thus released to the public. Wasps don’t like anything with a definite odor. Do ants feel the same way? Ingredients like citronella, cloves, and eucalyptus are found in bug repellents.

18. Is it the Scent that Repels Wasps and Ants?

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Not designed as a bug repellant, dryer sheets are getting increasingly popular as one. They are pretty aromatic, and the little bug sniffers don’t seem to like it up close and personal. When you pick up your next box of dryer sheets, look at it. You will not find anything on it that claims to repel bugs.

Any dryer sheet brand will do as long as it has a distinctive odor, according to Strickley. Making sure you have a fresh sheet in the box every so often helps keep the aroma going. So dryer sheets really do seem to work.

19. Dryer Sheets Designed for Dryers

We all know dryer sheets were initially designed to put in the dryer with your clothes. Your clothes smell really lovely after using dryer sheets. They get rid of that awful static cling. They are designed to keep your clothes from sticking together. And we all appreciate that. They make your clothes feel fresher and softer too. Who thought of using them for bug repellant?

Mail carriers have also more tips to avoid getting bitten or stung. Avoid wearing aftershave or perfume for example and wear bug spray instead. Sugar also attracts nasty critters. What does science say about it?

20. Scientific Studies with Dryer Sheets

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Scientists decided to test the theory with fungus gnats. A larger container with two smaller containers attached was set up. A piece of dryer sheet was put in one of the smaller containers. Fungus gnats were added to the large center container. But what happened next with the fungus gnats?

Two days later, scientists found the main group of gnats had not moved. 45% moved to the small container without the dryer sheet. 18% were in the container with the dryer sheet. They repeated the experiment several more times. The results were very much the same, which is pretty impressive.

21. Scientists Analyzed the Dryer Sheet Chemical Content

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The scientists felt that some chemicals were in the dryer sheets. Chemicals that could cause the repellent effect. They conducted a second experiment. The scientists analyzed the chemical content of the dryer sheets. They found two chemicals that could explain the results they discovered.

Linalool was found and may be toxic to some insects. Basil and lavender both contain linalool. It is not known to have repelling abilities. Beta-citronellol, the second chemical, is found in citronella. And is used as a mosquito repellent. Their results were published in HortScience. If you want to find out more about dryer sheets, read on.

22. Cleaning Paint Brushes with Dryer Sheets

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Painting is a pretty tough work. Even more challenging is cleaning the brushes. Remember this trick pretty well. To clean used paintbrushes, fill a bucket with very warm water and put the used brushes in it. Let them soak for several hours with a dryer sheet added to the bucket.

The remaining paint should just peel right off. Making your clean-up so much easier and faster. After that, just rinse thoroughly and let dry. They will be ready for the next paint job. No more having to buy new brushes to replace the ones that you could not get cleaned.

23. Keeping Your House Smelling Fresh

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Spreading pleasant-smelling dryer sheets around the house will give a refreshing smell. Tucking them out of sight of guests is easy, under or inside cushions. Inside a lampshade, under a tissue box. Behind pictures or wall hangings. Under the couch. There are numerous places you can put them to make your home smell really lovely.

Finding areas in the bathroom will be freshening up that room too. Inside the toilet roll. Under soap dishes. Inside the medicine cabinet. Behind pictures and wall hangings. Line the bottom of a tray or container with them. It is really a life-changer if you once started.

24. Dusting with Dryer Sheets

Used dryer sheets actually repel dust. That makes them excellent for dusting. Clean furniture, equipment, and baseboards with them. Since they are anti-static, they pick up dust easily and leave a spotless surface. It also keeps dust from settling on furniture. Dryer sheets can be used in many ways.

Use them for example also to dust your computer equipment, stereo, and television. They leave computer and television screens clear of dust. Dust comes right off. Dust will not cling to them as readily because of the anti-static ability of the dryer sheet. Try it on your cell phones, tablets, and iPads.

25. Doing the Dishes with Dryer Sheets

Baked-on foods, stubborn stains on your dishes? Wipe out as much debris as possible. Rinse the pan out. Fill the dish with hot water and a little dish soap, add a dryer sheet. Soak the pan or dish for a few hours or overnight. You will see the dryer sheets will really work magic.

Dryer sheets have a silicone coating that helps soften the baked-on food. Use the dryer sheet to wipe away the food in a clean way. Dryer sheets have a polyester woven texture. This texture will help remove the traces of food. Dryer sheets will not harm non-stick finishes.

26. Cleaning Oven Racks with Dryer Sheets

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Clean oven racks, grill racks, and grates with dryer sheets. Rinse them off. Then soak them in a tub of hot water overnight. Add some dish soap and four or five dryer sheets. If there is enough room, add the drip pans from the stove to your tub.

If your racks are especially messy, do the following. Put them in a large black plastic bag with water, dish soap, and dryer sheets. Leave the bag in the sun for a few hours. When you pull them out, scrub them with a dryer sheet and it will look like a new one.

27. Cleaning Fan Blades and Window Blinds

Static electricity builds up dust on fan blades. Unplug your fan and remove the cover. Gently wipe the blades with a dryer sheet. Wipe both the front and back grills as well. Your fan should not build up as much dust due to the dust repellent properties the dryer sheet left behind.

Always challenging to clean all those crevices on your window blinds. Slip a dryer sheet over your fingers and run it over each slat. The woven fabric and the anti-static ability of the dryer sheet should remove the dust pretty easily, and it will look clean and good.

28. Get rid of Pests

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Deer for example really do hate the smell of dryer sheets. They won’t munch on your trees if you do tie a strip of dryer sheet on the ends of several limbs. Using a non-woven type is best, so they don’t melt in the rain.

Other pests that hate dryer sheets are rodents. Rats and mice avoid any area where there are dryer sheets. Place some scented dryer sheets around your home. Put them near cracks and holes where they get in. Put a couple under your kitchen and bathroom sinks near the plumbing. Under cupboards is another good area.

29. Oh That Static Cling

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Take advantage of dryer sheets’ anti-static properties. A skirt or dress that rides up is highly embarrassing, and you really want to avoid that. Use a dryer sheet, rub it under your skirt. Or a clinging blouse, shirt, or sweater. This trick works with pants that ride up and cling to your leg.

Rubbing a dryer sheet on the material will solve the problem. Is your hair affected by the static electricity? A dryer sheet rubbed over your hair should calm it down. Keep a few dryer sheets handy in your desk, locker, or purse. You may want to choose the unscented kind.

30. Keep Your Iron Clean

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Residue on the bottom of your iron? Scorch marks and residue from starch can build up over time. Clean it with a dryer sheet. Rub a damp dryer sheet on the bottom of your iron when it is cold. Then turn it on and heat it to a low setting. Run the iron over a couple of paper towels.

All the residue should be gone by then. Alternately, you can run an iron on low heat over the dryer sheet itself. Whichever method you use, your iron should come out clean of any tacky residue, and it will look new.

31. Gunky Stuff Stuck to your Dryer Drum?

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We all do it. Forget to check the pockets before we do the laundry. Stuff can get baked on the inside of your dryer drum, and we all really hate it when stuff like this happens. Moisten a dryer sheet and lay it over the mark for a while. Then scrub away using the moist dryer sheet.

Melted gum, crayons, stickers, and other residues will come off with little effort. The combination of the fabric softener on the dryer sheet and the texture will remove that mark in no time. And it really will not harm your dryer drum or anything.

32. Stinky Squeaky Shoes

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Shoes can build up a horrible smell. Dryer sheets to the rescue. Stick a dryer sheet in each boot or tennis shoe overnight. The shoes should smell nice and fresh in the morning. For smaller shoes, cut the dryer sheet in half before inserting it into the shoe.

You know how annoying shoes can be when you want to walk across a floor, and they squeak. It is loud and annoying. To get rid of the squeak, rub a dryer sheet over the bottom of the shoe. The residue from the sheet will reduce the friction and get rid of the squeak.

33. Garbage Smells overwhelming your Home?

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Grace the bottom of your trash can with a dryer sheet. The sheet will soak up stinky odors and make your kitchen smell fresh. Having dryer sheets in the bottom of all your trash cans will make your entire house smell good. Place it in the bottom before you add the plastic baggie.

There, done. Friends and neighbors will be left wondering how you get your house smelling so good. Don’t forget the outside trash bin. It can get to smelling quite sickening, and with your dryer sheets you can prevent that. A couple dryer sheets at the bottom will solve that issue.

34. Bug Splatters on Your Car

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Driving your car takes usually a lot of your time, and you always seem to be in a hurry. Keeping dryer sheets in the car will keep it smelling pretty nice. Use also a wet dryer sheet to remove bug debris from your windshield. It works on the front grill of your car too.

The fabric texture will allow you to scrub the residue from your vehicle. It will not harm the finish and look clean. Wipe down the interior to remove dust and pet hair. The residue left behind will act as an anti-static and keep dust from settling.

35. Controlling Air Conditioner or Heating System Odors

Does your air conditioning or heating unit leave the air in your home smelling stale? Attach a dryer sheet to the underside of the vent in the ductwork. Put one on the vent in each room of the house. That will solve the problem. As the air flows through, it gives your home a continuous fresh smell.

For window air conditioners, do the following. Lay a dryer sheet inside the door that holds its filter. Make sure not to block the airflow. This will put a fresh aroma into your home. A good thing to know and to use in your house.

36. Vacuum Cleaners Need Dryer Sheets

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Vacuum cleaner bags develop a musty smell over use. Putting a dryer sheet inside your bag should eliminate that musty smell. You will vacuum to a pleasant fresh scent. Wipe down the floor unit with a wet dryer sheet to remove grime.

The next time you vacuum, the dust will not settle on the floor tool as bad as before. Try it out next time! Do you have a rainbow or other water vacuum? Rinse and wipe out the water pan, to remove as much grime as you can. Then use a wet dryer sheet to remove the rest of the residue.

37. Dryer Sheets when Traveling

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You know many hotel or motel rooms smell musty. Put a dryer sheet in the air conditioning or heating vent. This makes for a quick air freshener. As you pack, put it in with the soiled laundry. When you get home, your laundry won’t have that musty dirty odor.

When you unpack your bags after you get home. Before putting them away, stick a fresh dryer sheet in each one. It will prevent musty odors from developing, which is pretty nice. A fresh dryer sheet in your gym bag works wonders too. And that backpack you always carry around your whole life.

38. Dryer Sheets for your Pet

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Electrical storms upset dogs and cats. The static electricity causes its hair to stand up. Rubbing your pet with an unscented dryer sheet will help it calm down. Avoid dryer sheets that have toxic chemicals or scents. Wipe down their bed periodically with a dryer sheet to remove hair and dirt.

This is really important for the hygiene. Stains can be removed by using wet dryer sheets. Rub at the stain till it is gone. A used dryer sheet will pick up pet hair from furniture. For cloth furniture, follow up with a lint brush to ensure you get it all.

39. Cleaning Top to Bottom

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Second-hand books or books that have been stored for a pretty long time can get a musty and disgusting smell. Put the book in a large plastic baggie with a dryer sheet for a couple of days to remove the odor and after that the book will smell pretty nice and the bad smell is gone. Dryer sheets can be used to dust and clean books. Other things you can also clean with a used dryer sheet are:

● Ceiling fan blades
● Knick Knacks – Decor items
● Window screens
● Large leaves on indoor plants
● Use on wood floors
● Restore dry-erase boards

40. Make the Kitchen and Bath Gleam


Cleaning chrome faucets and appliances with dryer sheets leave an anti-static protective coating. It repels dust. Use them to buff up the chrome on your car or truck after you wash them. Put a couple dryer sheets in the toilet bowl and let them set.

When you return, use them to clean the bowl area and flush. The toilet is clean and gleaming. A damp used dryer sheet will clean soap scum off shower walls, doors, and faucet handles. They will make the tub gleam too. The buildup slides off. You may have other ways you use dryer sheets around the home, office, rv, or out camping.