Wool dryer balls have the potential to change your laundry game, and ultimately the health of your household. The question is, do wool dryer balls work?
Well, that question can be interpreted a few different ways, so let’s dive into what wool dryer balls are, what they do and how they work to make drying your laundry more efficient and less toxic.
As a full disclaimer, once we started using dryer balls, we never went back to dryer sheets! We absolutely love dryer balls and we know you will too once you give them a try.
Here’s to clean clothes and easy laundry routines!
The Problem With Dryer Sheets – Dryer Balls Vs Dryer Sheets
There are a few reasons you really don’t want to be using traditional dryer sheets or fabric softener on your clothes or in your home.
- Dryer sheets are filled with chemicals, straight up.
- The #1 cause of indoor air pollution is fabric softener
- The dryer releases the aroma of these chemicals and synthetic fragrances throughout your home, as well as outside which is harmful to the environment
- The chemicals in dryer sheets transfer to your clothes and can often irritate the skin
“…some of the most harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener alike include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others.”
(source – www.scientificamerican.com)
Contrast that with wool dryer balls – all-natural, 1 ingredient, many benefits. So what are dryer balls?
What Are Dryer Balls?
Dryer balls, or wool dryer balls, are literally small balls of wool that you put in the dryer.
They are all-natural. And if you buy the right ones, there are no fillers, no toxic ingredients, no skin irritants, and are free from petroleum or plastic.
They are meant to replace regular dryer sheets or fabric softeners that we are used to using to make our clothes soft, smell good and remove static.
What Do Dryer Balls Do?
Wool dryer balls undo all the harm that dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners cause to us, our clothing, and our homes.
So what do they do?
- Soften laundry naturally
- Can scent clothes naturally by adding essential oils to them
- Can shorten drying time, saving money on electricity
Basically, laundry dryer balls soften and freshen our clothes naturally in the dryer and shorten dryer times.
How To Use Wool Dryer Balls
- 2-3 for a smaller load
- 5-6 for a full load
If you want to scent your laundry, add 2-3 drops of essential oil to each dryer ball, then just toss them in, close it and turn it on.
Easy as using a dryer sheet!
The Benefits – Why Use Wool Dryer Balls?
The Main Benefit – Chemical Free Laundry
Dryer balls replace the harmful chemicals found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
This means less toxic air is circulating in your home, making breathing easier and more natural for you and your entire family.
It also means that your clothes aren’t covered in chemicals (assuming you use natural laundry detergent as well).
So your skin is happier. Those with sensitive skin may find that switching to dryer balls will help them feel much more comfortable in their own clothes.
And you still get to have great smelling laundry!
We love adding essential oils directly onto our dryer balls before starting the dryer. Your clothes come out with an incredible scent, but it’s all-natural! And honestly, they smell WAY BETTER than synthetic fragrances.
Scroll down to see what oils are our favorites for adding to dryer balls.
The Bonus Benefit – They Save Money
Dryer balls help save money in a few ways.
First off, they are reusable for a long time! Whereas you might buy dryer sheets and fabric softeners multiple times a year, you only need to buy dryer balls once and they will likely last a few years.
On top of that, the shape and function of the dryer balls help to “break up” clumps of laundry while in the dryer. They move in and out of piles of clothes that get stuck together and push things around.
This helps clothes dry faster, which means less electricity needs to be used in order to dryer clothes.
This can secretly save you quite a bit over the course of time.
And a final bonus benefit – less drying time means less exposure to heat for your clothes. The heat from the dryer is the main reason clothes wear out over time. So using dryer balls may increase the lifespan of your clothing.
How Do Dryer Balls Work?
Well since dryer balls can do multiple things, they work in a few different ways.
To freshen and scent clothes, you just need some essential oils! Since they are thick, soft pieces of wool, you can drop essential oil straight onto the surface of the dryer ball. It will penetrate the wool. The heat of the dryer will essentially diffuse the oil in the dryer, permeating all of the clothes in there.
The more oil you use, the more your clothes will carry the aroma. I also recommend using a naturally stronger oil such as lemongrass. We use about 9 drops per dryer load.
To soften laundry, the dryer balls do the same thing – bounce!
They bounce and push the clothing around, similar to how you might “fluff a pillow.”
To save money, as mentioned before, the dryer balls bounce around very easily, breaking up the clothes that turn into big balls or get wrapped up in a large item such as a sheet. The heat and airflow can hit all of the clothing faster, making sure things get dry the first time.
We can usually dry a load of clothing in 60 minutes on medium heat, versus 75-90 minutes without the dryer balls. (each dryer will be different)
I put all as many dryer balls as I can find in the dryer each time (between 3-6, my toddler likes to hide them).
So, Do Dryer Balls Work?
We’ve been using them for quite a while now. It’s hard to imagine using dryer sheets now. I’ll go for a walk and smell someone using their dryer and the scent of synthetic sheets gives me a headache, lol.
If you add essential oils, they really do make your clothes smell GOOD, and the aroma lasts a long time if you use enough oil.
They really do help your clothes dry faster. And my clothes and sheets feel soft when they come out!
So the short answer is yes, they definitely work.
The long answer is – well, you just need to try them out for yourself.
Get The Best Dryer Balls
We recommend the Smart Sheep XL Dryer Balls. These are definitely the best wool dryer balls.
I love the large size. I’ve seen some that are just way too small.
We only do laundry when we have a full load (energy-efficient, baby!), so having the biggest wool dryer balls we can find works great for us.
They work well, the’ve lasted us a long time so far, and still seem pretty new (other than the essential oil stains).
There really is no reason to keep using synthetics in your dryer. Especially if you have babies or anyone in your home with sensitive skin, I’d recommend making the [super simple] switch right away!
To be fair, most dryer balls will be extremely similar. Just make sure they are 100% wool from a reputable company that sources their materials in sustainable ways.
Dryer Balls And Essential Oils
Using dryer balls by themselves can soften your clothing and dry loads faster, but they won’t add a scent to your clothes unless you add essential oils.
We 100% recommend adding essential oils because they are all-natural, ultra-concentrated, and health-benefitting.
It’s super simple. Here’s how to use dryer balls and essential oils:
- Once you put your clothes in the dryer, add 2-3 drops of essential oil to each dryer ball you are using.
- Then toss them into the dryer and let it rip! That’s it!
We use about 9 drops of oil for a full load of laundry.
We’ve found that if you want to use a gentle or light oil, such as lavender, you’ll need to use even more oil.
I recommend something a little bit stronger.
We love using lemongrass, as it is strong enough to stay with your clothing for days after coming out of the dryer. And it just smells clean and amazing.
I love it on our clothes, sheets, and towels!
Overall, the best essential oils for dryer balls are:
- Lemongrass – strong, long-lasting, clean and exotic
- Purification (blend from Young Living)
- Thieves (blend from Young Living)
- Geranium – romantic and classy
- Cedarwood – woodsy and comforting
- Eucalyptus – floral, refreshing and respiratory support
- Peppermint – refreshing and strong aroma
- Orange or Grapefruit – happy and uplifting aromaTea Tree – clean and fresh aroma
How Long Do Dryer Balls Last
If all you are using dryer balls for is drying (like you are supposed to), they can last anywhere from 2-4 years.
That’s a lot of dryer sheets you don’t have to buy (and throw away after using)!
Dryer Balls and Static
So what about static?
I hear you. I HATE static. It makes me cringe. While I’ve found the dryer balls don’t naturally stop static from occurring, a simple trick will help.
Just clip a few safety pins to a sock and your static problems will be taking care of!
I first tried clipping pins to the dryer balls themselves, but since they bounce so much and they are solid and round, the safety pins would fall out (and get lost in the laundry).
Pinning them to a sock or towel will ensure they stay put, so no surprises will be found.
Make Laundry Great Again
It’s super easy to make the switch to dryer balls.
They do everything you could ask for when drying your clothes. And they do it naturally in a way that saves money over time.
And they are just more fun. It doesn’t get much better than that, now does it?
Grab some dryer balls and make your home and your life a little healthier and a little more fun 😉