Moving clothes from washer to dryer

What Do Dryer Balls Do?

If your laundry is taking multiple cycles to dry, it may be helpful to add dryer balls to your next load. Not only do dryer balls help reduce drying times, but they can also reduce clumps in your laundry and prevent wrinkles. Read on to learn more about dryer balls, options and their benefits so you can make the right choice for your laundry needs.

What Are Dryer Balls, and How Do They Work?

Dryer balls are most commonly made of tightly compressed wool, but can also be made of plastic or rubber.

They help prevent laundry from clumping together in the dryer by tumbling between layers and separating fabric. This action allows warm air to circulate better which can even help reduce drying time. The movement of the dryer balls against fabrics can also help fight wrinkles, prevent static and soften clothes.

Types of Dryer Balls

There are three primary materials that are typically used to make dryer balls: wool, plastic and rubber. Different materials will have different effects on your laundry, so you will want to choose which dryer ball to use based on the situation.

Wool Dryer Ball

Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls are natural, environmentally friendly and long-lasting. Their benefit is the ability to absorb moisture from fabrics to reduce overall drying times.

Plastic and Rubber Dryer Ball

Plastic & Rubber Dryer Balls

Plastic and rubber dryer balls are durable options and a better choice for those wanting to avoid the possible shed of wool fibers and pilling that may result from wool dryer balls. The bumpy nodules or spikes on some plastic and rubber dryer balls can help open up clothes further, by moving and tugging the fabric to separate layers as they roll around.

Tennis Ball

Can Tennis Balls Be Used as Dryer Balls?

If you do not have dryer balls on hand, you can use tennis balls as a replacement. While it is recommended to use newer tennis balls for their cleanliness, it is important to remember that, like bright fabrics, tennis ball dyes may run and stain clothes. Make sure they are colorfast before using them in your laundry. It is also worth noting that tennis balls can be louder in the laundry than wool dryer balls.

How Long Do Dryer Balls Last?

Dryer balls last longer when you refresh them after use. Place each one individually into a sock and tie off the opening. Wash them in a hot water cycle and dry in the dryer, until thoroughly dried. Doing this will help refresh and recompact the fibers for longer use.

Clothes tumbling in dryer Clothes tumbling in dryer

Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: Which Is Better?

Dryer balls may be a more eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets, as they can be used many times, as opposed to the one-time use of dryer sheets. Learn more sustainable laundry tips. If you are looking for extra softening effects and added fragrance, dryer sheets are the better option; however, if you have allergies, dryer balls will help to spare irritations.

Learn more about dryer sheets and fabric softener options to find the right fit for your laundry needs.

Open pedestal with laundry accessories Open pedestal with laundry accessories

How to Use Dryer Balls, and How Many to Use?

Most dryer balls are sold in packages of 3, which is convenient as this is the amount usually required for a load of laundry. Disperse your dryer balls evenly among a load of laundry before starting your cycle. If you have an especially large load, add another dryer ball. If you are having difficulty with static build-up, lightly spray wool dryer balls with water prior to including them.

Dryer balls can be safely used in both gas and electric dryers. However, make sure not to overload your dryer with laundry as this can prevent proper drying and extend drying times. Always make sure to follow the proper care instructions for your items.

Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils on Dryer Balls?

While you may want to use essential oils to scent your dryer balls, it is not advisable as it can make dryer balls, especially those made of wool, more flammable. Try using a half-vinegar, half-water mixture on your dryer balls to freshen your clothes without leaving a vinegar scent.

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