The Real Reason You May Find A Dryer Sheet Inside Your Mailbox

Some 50 million Americans get their birthday cards, bills, and Bed Bath & Beyond coupons delivered in a pedestal mailbox — the kind with a hinged door and a flag that can be raised to signal the homeowner that mail is inside. It seems oddly quaint in this age of texting and TikTok, but some old-school practices die hard. Besides, there's still a little thrill at seeing a batch of letters with your name on them waiting for you, even if most of them are ads.

Most of the time, pedestal mailboxes are pretty straightforward: Open the door, take out your mail, close the door, get on with your life. But during warm-weather months, some residents are discovering something odd inside the boxes: scented dryer sheets. We're talking unwrapped, single sheets stuck in the boxes, like the random ones you find inside the laundromat dryers when you're putting your load of wet sheets and towels inside. Is it a prank? A weird mishap? Aliens? No to all of the above. Turns out, it's a clever hack that some mail carriers have found to avoid a pesky occupational hazard.

Dryer sheets keep a common pest away

A post by a letter carrier on Reddit has gone viral for the surprising information it shared. As warm weather nears, he says, "wasps and Yellowjackets (especially Yellowjackets) like to make nests inside of mailboxes. In a lot of places this time of the year, it's just beginning to warm up outside, but it's still fairly cold at night. So mailboxes provide nice, easy shelter for them."

He goes on to report that he was stung by the "dastardly devils" 10 times last year. But it seems wasps are repelled by the scent of dryer sheets, so mail carriers have gotten into the habit of placing the softeners inside the boxes on their route where they've noticed insect activity. "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," the poster concludes.

The post was intriguing enough to merit a story on Fox News, and the original post has gotten more than 1,000 comments. The Reddit user, who goes by username u/istrx13, went on to explain that he wrote the post because some of his customers have been taking the sheets out of their boxes. He also edited his original post to explain that any brand of dryer sheet and any type of scent will work against wasps, as long as the scent is strong enough to smell when you open the box. (If not, toss the sheet and put in a new one.)