Mailbox
Source: Getty

There's Actually a Pretty Good Reason That Dryer Sheets Are Popping up in Mailboxes

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May. 11 2021, Published 11:35 a.m. ET

If you've ever opened your mailbox and come across what could only be described as an absolutely random dryer sheet, you're not alone. However, the phenomenon isn't as random as you might think. In fact, it's an age-old trick used by postal carriers to protect themselves.

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So, why do people tend to find dryer sheets in their mailboxes fairly often? Here's an explanation of the mystery's origins and why it probably won't stop happening any time soon.

A postal worker.
Source: Getty
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Postal workers use dryer sheets in mailboxes to avoid being stung all the time.

What many may not be aware of is the on-the-job hazard yellowjacket and wasp stings are for postal workers. Think about it: Delivering mail requires the worker to put their hand (and sometimes arm) into a dark, closed-off outdoor box, which is the perfect place for the likes of a wasp to make its nest. 

One postal worker took to Reddit to speak on behalf of their mail-carrying peers and explain the dryer sheet phenomena in more detail. 

"I can’t tell you how many times, especially during this part of the year, where I’ve opened up a box to see a little nest with three to five yellowjackets just chillin [sic]. If I’m really unlucky, they will have made their nest at the very back of the box so I wind up sticking my hand in not knowing they are there," the user explained.

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To wrap up, the mail carrier added, "Getting to my point. We’ve found that they hate scented dryer sheets. If we encounter a box that is a problem for ... we’ll often put one in there and it does the trick. So please, if you one day randomly see a dryer sheet at the back of your mailbox, just know that your carrier more than likely put it there to deter these Satanic creatures from building their home in it."

A wasp.
Source: Getty
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Many users in the comments under the original post noted that dryer sheets actually work very well in a variety of capacities as a wasp deterrent. Some others chimed in and claimed that restaurants they work at have actually begun placing dryer sheets under tablecloths for outdoor seating to keep pests away. Beyond that, another user even claimed that lining a freshly-potted plant in them will prevent bugs and also promote healthy growth of the plant.

However, the original poster circled back once again to remind readers that the dryer sheets should only really be used as a preventative measure. If wasps or yellowjackets have set up a nest within the mailbox, it's much better to consult a professional and have it removed that way. 

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