A dryer ball is a round laundry device used as a natural alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners. It is a non-toxic and chemical-free item that amplifies the laundry process without leaving residue on clothes and the dryer.
Types of Dryer Balls
Dryer balls come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. However, there are two main types: wool dryer balls and plastic or rubber dryer balls.
Wool Dryer Balls
The wool dryer ball is the more eco-friendly option made from natural fiber. Wool dryer balls are soft, manageable, and long-lasting.
They absorb water effortlessly in the dryer and make no noise when bouncing around. Unfortunately, the wool might pill and leave fiber residue on the clothes or dryer, but this is easily removable.
One option that is only available with wool dryer balls is the ability to add essential oils to the balls. When the oil-infused balls are in the dryer, they transfer the scent to the clothes, making the laundry smell fresh and fragrant.
Plastic Dryer Balls
The spikes on the plastic dryer balls open up every crevice of the clothes in the dryer, especially the folds, enabling more air circulation, which can reduce drying time even further.
Plastic dryer balls are hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and more durable. Unlike wool dryer balls, these are the better option for vegans and people wanting to prevent fiber shedding.
Plastic dryer balls are sturdier and more durable, making them eco-friendly as they last for years before they need change.
Aluminum Dryer Balls
Though not as prevalent as wool and plastic dryer balls, aluminum foil makes a good dryer ball.
Squeeze a decent length of aluminum foil into a 2-inch or 3-inch thick ball. These DIY dryer balls are just as effective as store-bought ones. The downside to aluminum dryer balls is they don’t last as long, flaking after a few uses.
Tossing the aluminum foil dryer balls into the dryer will untangle laundry and remove static from the clothes like regular dryer balls.
What do Dryer Balls do?
When clothes are drying after a wash cycle, the excess heat can cause wrinkles, pilling, and static buildup. Even after the intense drying session, some wet spots might remain on the clothes because the clothes tangle in the dryer.
Over the years, there have been different purported solutions to this problem, like fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and many homemade and commercial solutions.
With dryer balls, things are much simpler, and there are no extra additives that can potentially damage the clothes in the long run, like the chemicals in dryer sheets. You will get all the advantages of dryer sheets and fabric softeners, including the fragrant smell, as a result of incorporating essential oils without the side effect of the chemicals in the products.
Dryer balls efficiently and constantly reduce the static that would regularly affect clothes faced with such high agitation and heat. They fluff and bump the clothes to expose every hidden crevice, and they reduce drying time significantly. This movement also softens the clothes, especially towels and blankets.
The best part is they cut down waste because they have multiple uses before wear and tear.
How do Dryer Balls Work?
Wet clothes tend to cling together when confined in a tight space. The addition of tumbling and heat increases the stress these clothes go through in the dryer.
After drying, the clothes come out with plenty of wrinkles, piling, static, mild damage, and sometimes, annoying wet spots. Continuous dryer use will reduce the entire lifespan of the clothes and the dryer.
Using a set of three or six dryer balls – depending on the size of the laundry load – diminishes these issues in the dryer in a safe way. They do this by creating a physical barrier and space between the clothes in the dryer, leading to reduced touching. The reduced touching will prevent static buildup in the clothes.
The dryer must have space for the dryer balls to create a barrier, so place smaller loads in the dryer.
It is advisable to pause drying in the dryer when washing bulky clothing like towels and comforters and fluff them. This fluffing will prevent the formation of wrinkles and expose wet spots hidden in crevices.
Dryer balls bounce around the clothes in the dryer, eliminating the need for fluffing between drying sessions. They separate clothes in the dryer, making hot air circulate between the layers of clothing faster, accelerating drying time. Plastic dryer balls thrive in this area because the spikes attached to the balls maneuver this separation effortlessly.
Another way dryer balls accelerate drying time is by absorbing water. The wool dryer balls are proficient at this. They soak up water from the clothes and heat from the dryer, creating a scenario where the wetness spreads and evenly dries as it maximizes dryer space. Because of how tightly wound the wool dryer balls are, there is no risk of them coming apart in the dryer.
Putting a few drops of preferred essential oil on the dryer balls will safely incorporate fragrance into the clothes.
Uses of Dryer Balls
The various uses of dryer balls are endless, and the degree to which they are effective depends on the type of dryer balls and the dryer conditions.
- Dryer balls reduce drying time.
When dryer balls bounce around, they separate and fluff the clothes in the dryer, making sure there are no clumps and that air circulates to every part of the clothing – even the pesky hidden crevices – this ensures even drying of the clothes.
Conversely, wool dryer balls absorb water from the clothes, cutting drying time by 15 to 20 percent.
Dryer balls also prevent the formation of knots that slow the drying process in bulkier items like comforters.
- Dryer balls soften clothes in the dryer.
Dryer balls manage to soften clothes without coating them with any chemical solvent like dryer sheets and fabric softeners.
They achieve this by bumping the clothes in the dryer, which eventually softens them.
Another advantage of dryer balls is clothing like towels or pet pads don’t lose their absorbency.
- Dryer balls reduce static from clothes in the dryer
Dryer balls can reduce the static on clothes in the dryer by evenly distributing heat.
However, to make the static reduction more effective, spray the dryer balls with little water before placing them in the dryer. The damp dryer balls increase the humidity level in the dryer.
- Dryer balls prevent wrinkle formation
The mechanism that allows dryer balls to reduce static and shorten drying time also ensures the clothes will have little to no wrinkles after drying. Like reducing static, increased humidity prevents the formation of wrinkles by producing steam in the dryer.
- Dryer balls are hypoallergenic and environmentally-friendly
Dryer balls are suitable for people with skin and fragrance sensitivities or allergies. The manufacturers specifically added this feature to have broader appeal.
Dryer balls are good for the environment because they are so long-lasting. Users see a reduction in waste contribution and litter, even with plastic dryer balls. Wool dryer balls have the added advantage of being biodegradable.
- Dryer balls are affordable and effortless to use
Because dryer balls are a long-term purchase, they are considerably more inexpensive than other alternatives, which are short-term or one-time purchases.
Dryer balls are effortless to use and maintain. Toss a set of dryer balls with the laundry load, and afterward, leave them out to air-dry.
How Long Do Dryer Balls Last?
How long dryer balls last depends on their use frequency. However, dryer balls last for 1,000 loads, almost ten years in the twice-weekly laundry routine.
After a while, the dryer balls will start to disintegrate. The wool dryer balls will unravel, and the plastic dryer balls will crack.