We love to get dressed and express ourselves through personal style. But laundering your clothes isn’t exactly the most ebullient task (it’s listed as a chore, after all). There are few ways to make it less painful, thankfully. One of these laundering life hacks comes in handy during the drying cycle in the form of dryer balls. With all sorts of benefits, you’ll never want to dry your clothes without them.
What are dryer balls and what do they do?
Dryer balls are a laundering implement that comes in a few different forms. Most often, dryer balls are round balls made of felted wool or plastic. Dryer balls aid the drying process of laundering in a few different ways.
First, they help dry your clothes more quickly. You might think that the wool dryer balls accomplish this by absorbing moisture from clothes. And if you don’t think that, then you’re more clever than me. While they do soak up some of that moisture, they actually allow your clothes to dry faster by increasing airflow between your garments.
In the dryer, dryer balls jostle between the wet clothes, separating them from each other and allowing the air to circulate. Some manufacturers claim that wool dryer balls can cut your drying time by 10-25 percent or more. Your experience will surely vary, depending on your laundry load and the type of dryer you use. Regardless, if you’re doing a few loads of laundry each session, that’s a significant amount of time, money and energy saved.
Wool dryer balls can also be used to replace dryer sheets. Though there are conflicting accounts as to whether or not dryer balls actually eliminate static or make your clothes softer, they can certainly be used to add a natural fragrance to your clothes. Dryer sheets are coated with chemicals which help eliminate static cling, but also melt with the heat of the dryer, coating your clothes in the process. These chemicals are what make your clothes smell fragrant and also feel soft. However, these chemicals have been linked with deleterious health effects like asthma and eczema. Instead, you can add a few drops of essential oil to wool dryer balls as a healthier alternative.
Wool dryer balls, in addition to being a natural and hypoallergenic substitute to dryer sheets, also last a long time. Like, a really long time. Most makers tout that their dryer balls can last 1,000 cycles, which most people find comes out to several years. Compared to how many boxes of dryer sheets you’d buy over a few years (not to mention the rolling savings on energy), it’s easy to see the return on investment.
You might be curious about the various plastic dryer ball options on the market. While they do help separate your clothes in the dryer and increase airflow, the hard plastic means they’re much noisier. Plus, you can’t really add essential oils for that fragrant boost. For these reasons, we recommend the wool options over plastic.
How to use dryer balls
It’s really easy to use dryer balls. All you have to do is toss them in the dryer along with your clothes. You do want to make sure that your load isn’t totally packed, though. Dryer balls are most effective with small to medium loads and with 3 XL or 6 regular-sized dryer balls.
For a scent boost, you can also add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls. Simply add your favorite essential oil to the dry dryer balls and toss them into a no-heat cycle for about 10 minutes. After that, they should be ready to use for your next dryer cycle.
Five Two Wool Dryer Balls by Food52 $20
Climate Beneficial Wool Dryer Balls by Coyuchi $24
Wool Dryer Balls by Steamery $29
Wool Dryer Balls by Parchute $19
Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep $17
Organic Wool Dryer Balls by Woolzies $17
Wool Dryer Balls by SnugPad $7