Moving clothes from washer to dryer

WHAT DO DRYER BALLS DO?

Dryer balls help reduce drying times, clumps in your laundry and wrinkles. If your laundry is taking multiple cycles to dry, it may be helpful to add dryer balls to your next load. Read on to learn more about dryer balls and their benefits so you can make the right choice for your laundry needs.

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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 can have different effects on your laundry, so you will want to choose which dryer ball to use based on the situation.

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WOOL DRYER BALLS

Wool dryer balls are natural, environmentally friendly and long-lasting. They work by soaking up moisture from wet laundry, which can help it dry faster. They can also help reduce static and soften clothes. However, it may be best to avoid wool dryer balls with fabrics that are prone to pilling.

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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 as they roll around the layers.

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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.

DRYER BALLS VS. DRYER SHEETS: WHICH IS BETTER?

Both dryer balls and sheets have benefits. 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. If you are looking for extra softening effects and added fragrance, dryer sheets may be the better option; however, if you have allergies, dryer balls may help to spare irritations.

For moisture-wicking fabrics such as activewear, microfiber and absorbent towels, dryer balls may work better than dryer sheets. This is because the substances in dryer sheets may coat the fibers, leading to water beading on the surface rather than being soaked up, which may diminish the material's ability to perform as intended.

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

DO DRYER BALLS REPLACE DRYER SHEETS COMPLETELY?

Choosing between dryer sheets and dryer balls depends on what you prefer. If you're used to dryer sheets, you may choose to stick with them. Think about whether you prefer the natural materials of dryer balls or the convenience and scent of dryer sheets. Also, consider any sensitivities or skin issues you have, as well as the cost and environmental impact of each option.

You can also combine wool dryer balls with dryer sheets. Although they both have similar purposes, their unique characteristics might make using them together beneficial. Dryer sheets, for instance, offer a scent that some people prefer.

HOW LONG DO DRYER BALLS LAST?

Wool dryer balls can last for about 1,000 loads. Plastic dryer balls may last a similar amount of time, but are more likely to endure wear and tear that can decrease their longevity.

Wool dryer balls tend to absorb some of the moisture from your laundry, which can eventually decrease their effectiveness at reducing drying time and softening clothes. However, wool dryer balls can be refreshed by washing.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WASH WOOL DRYER BALLS?

How frequently you should refresh your dryer balls depends on your usage. It's generally suggested to wash them after about 100 loads or every four to six months. If you notice they're not working as effectively, that's also a sign it might be time to refresh them.

To refresh dryer balls, first remove debris with a lint roller. Next, wash them in a mesh bag on a gentle cycle with hot water, avoiding detergent and softener. Finally, dry them in your dryer on high heat or let them air dry. Alternatively, you can insert each dryer ball into a sock, securely tying off the opening, before washing them in a hot water cycle and drying thoroughly in the dryer.

Dryer balls vs sheets icon overlaying clothes tumbling in a dryer Dryer balls vs sheets icon overlaying clothes tumbling in a dryer

HOW TO USE DRYER BALLS

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.

HOW MANY DRYER BALLS SHOULD YOU USE PER LOAD?

Most dryer balls are sold in packages of three, which is convenient as this is the amount usually required for a load of laundry. The number of balls you use is mostly up to you. Generally, you can use around three balls for a small to medium load, five for medium to large loads, and up to six for very large loads. Using the right amount can help decrease moisture in the dryer and reduce drying times.

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.

SHOP MAYTAG® DRYERS

Keep laundry day running smoothly with the help of Maytag® dryers. Browse dryers that have features, like Advanced Moisture Sensing, and a durable design to help you care for your clothes.

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