Dryer balls are magical, reusable objects that reduce drying time and static and soften clothes by separating wet clothes in the dryer, causing hot air to circulate evenly and exposing the hidden wet spots.
Dryer balls have many significant purposes, but you have to know how to use them. The number of dryer balls to use in a load, the length of time they last, additives, and cleaning practices are some things to consider when using dryer balls.
How to Use Dryer Balls
There is no extra treatment to perform when you purchase dryer balls for the first time, simply toss them in the dryer with your wet laundry.
Choose the size of dryer balls based on preference, but it will advisable to start with large dryer balls before adjusting for size and drying time as time goes by.
The first few times you use dryer balls is the monitoring period. Take note of how the laundry reacts to the dryer balls, how the dryer reacts to the dryer balls, and reduce the overall drying time to avoid over-drying.
How many dryer balls per load
The user’s preference determines the number of dryer balls used during a single load. Some people might feel more comfortable with more balls, while others will want to use fewer balls.
The minimum number of dryer balls to achieve their purpose is three balls. This number is limited to a small or medium load. For larger loads, you should put up to six dryer balls.
As a result, dryer balls’ manufacturers conveniently sell them in a set of three or six.
Consider the minimum number of dryer balls, and improvise with the different numbers until you reach the perfect number.
How to recharge wool dryer balls
Wool dryer balls are eco-friendly, reusable, absorbent, and long-lasting. Their average shelf life is 1000 loads. However, they start losing efficacy with time and excessive usage even before the 1000th use.
Dryer balls get tired after doing too much work like any item or person. The advantage of wool dryer balls over plastic dryer balls is that there are treatments given to the wool to reverse this.
Recharging the wool dryer balls entails the treatment you give the balls to wake them up, so they will be almost as effective as they were at first purchase.
The recharging treatment should happen after three to four months.
Methods of Recharging Wool Dryer Balls
The First Method
Fill a sizable bowl or basin with hot water and pour in a few drops of essential oil and other preferred additives.
Soak the dryer balls in the water for 30 minutes and dry under direct sunlight or on a high heat setting in the dryer.
The Second Method
Set the washer to the hot water setting and delicate/gentle wash cycle, and toss the wool dryer balls inside. Use a mild unscented laundry detergent for the wash cycle.
An alternative to using the delicate wash cycle is putting the balls in a nylon sock before placing them in the washer.
The wool dryer balls should absorb enough heat and moisture in the washer, so turning off the spin cycle – if possible – is crucial.
Dry the balls on a high heat setting after the wash cycle ends.
How to use wool dryer balls with essential oils
The processing of plants’ parts to extract the highly concentrated elements that make up the beneficial parts of the plants form essential oils.
These oils are natural ways to infuse the scent and benefits of plants into various items. Essential oils have many uses across several industries, from aromatherapy to dermatology.
Infusing dryer balls with essential oils is a way to transfer natural scents to clothes. These natural scents will be for people who want fragrant clothes without the toxic chemicals contained in scented laundry additives.
How to Choose a Scent for your Dryer Balls
User preference, taste, and how the scent will smell on the clothing are some things to note when choosing your essential oil. Some essential oils have therapeutic properties, which can be a factor to consider when choosing which scents to infuse.
The intensity of the scent is also a contributing factor in the choice of essential oil. Stronger essential oil scents last longer, but they can disturb the user, while floral and citrus have softer scents but may not be the user’s preference.
Mixing scents from multiple essential oils is a fantastic way of getting the best of many scents at once.
You can start with one or two scents and proceed. However, some dryer ball companies have simplified this process by offering scented dryer balls.
How to Infuse the Dryer Balls with Essential Oils
You can add the essential oil to the dryer balls after selecting a scent or a blend of scents.
One way of infusing the dryer balls is by adding three drops of your chosen scent to the dryer balls. Let the dryer balls sit for an hour to dry and then use.
This technique might cause discoloration on the dryer balls, which should not be a problem unless it is.
Another method is using an injector to collect the essential oil from its bottle and injecting a few drops into the dryer balls. This technique will not cause discoloration, but it might be additional unnecessary work.
Note that you have to let the essential oils dry into the balls before using them or you risk transferring oil stains to your clothing.
How to Infuse your Clothes with Essential Oils
Once you have your scented dryer balls, you can infuse the essential oils into your clothes in two ways.
During the Drying Cycle
Infusing your clothes with essential oils is by tossing your scented dryer balls with your clothes during the drying cycle. After drying, the clothes will have the essential oil scent on them.
Dry the scented dryer balls with little heat or no heat to avoid flare-ups in the dryer caused by overheating the essential oils.
At the End of the Drying Cycle
Wait till it is five or ten minutes to the end of your drying cycle, and place the scented drying balls inside.
If this is the chosen option, remove five or ten minutes from your drying time and run another drying cycle with the scented dryer balls. Do not add the infusion time to the drying time or risk overdrying your clothes, which will create static and oil flare-ups.
How to Clean Wool Dryer Balls
Cleaning your wool dryer balls should happen more frequently than recharging the wool dryer balls. If the wool dryer ball is dirty, that dirt transfers to the laundry load, ruining the entire wash process.
Lint buildup on the wool dryer balls can also transfer to the clothes or clog the dryer.
Removing Lint from Wool Dryer Balls
Take a razor or lint roller and gently run it over a lint-filled wool dryer ball, section by section, till there is no lint left on the dryer ball.
Repeat the process with the other wool dryer balls.
Dust off the dryer ball or rinse the ball under running warm water to remove the lint crumbs.
Hand-Washing Wool Dryer Balls
- Fill up a sizable bowl or basin with warm (not hot) water.
- Place the wool dryer balls into the water and leave them to soak for ten minutes.
- After soaking, squeeze the dryer balls to remove air and water.
- Discard the water and fill the basin with clean water.
- Pour a mild laundry detergent into the water and agitate the water with your hand to foam bubbles.
- Place the wool dryer balls back in the soapy water.
- Roll and squeeze the dryer balls with your hands, using soapy water to clean the balls.
- Continue until the dryer balls become clean.
- Pour the soapy away and refill the basin with warm water.
- Soak the dryer balls in the water for a few minutes and then gently rinse till there are no more soap suds.
- Use a dry absorbent towel to remove the excess water and leave the dryer balls to air-dry, preferably under the sun.
Machine Washing Wool Dryer Balls
- Place the wool dryer balls in the washer on their own or with other clothes.
- Put the washer on the delicate wash cycle to avoid unraveling the wool. You can also place the dryer balls in a mesh bag to protect them.
- Use the cold or warm water setting to wash the balls. However, following the instructions on the care label is ideal.
- Start the wash cycle.
- After the wash cycle ends, place the dryer balls in the dryer on low heat or air-dry.
When to replace wool dryer balls
Wool dryer balls don’t last forever, even with the best care and regular recharging. After a while, they will have damage beyond repair, and it will be time for new ones.
You will know it’s time for new dryer balls when the current ones start looking tousled and worn out. Like any other item, the physical look of dryer balls is the perfect litmus test for continuance.
It will not be long before the tousled dryer balls start unraveling. The wool used to make the dryer balls are ultra-tight, lending to its durability despite repeated usage. When this ability begins to go, change the dryer balls.
Another way to know if it’s time to change your wool dryer balls is when it starts to shed more frequently.
After running your laundry through a drying cycle with your favorite wool dryer balls, you might notice sheds of wool littered over them. Do not recharge them or remove the lint; the dryer balls are no longer usable.
What to do with old wool dryer balls
It’s time to find new ways to repurpose your no longer usable wool dryer balls; so you don’t contribute to the waste you’re trying to avoid by using eco-friendly dryer balls.
Using old wool dryer balls as toys is the most obvious way to repurpose them. Young kids or pets will enjoy using these objects as toys because they are soft and don’t make much noise when bounced around.
You can also decorate the balls into different shapes and colors or turn them into dolls to create more fun for the kids.
The children and pets will still need supervision; so they don’t swallow the balls, and there is no problem if they lose the balls as they are biodegradable.
- Take-Back Programs
Some dryer ball companies have ‘Take Back’ programs where customers get perks when they return old dryer balls. These companies recycle and repurpose the dryer balls.
The natural wool material of the dryer balls makes them perfect for composting. Tear the old dryer balls apart and place the shred in a gardening container to create new compost or add them to existing compost.
- Air Freshener
Place the old wool dryer balls into a beautiful container and add a few drops of essential oil to freshen or deodorize chosen locations or items. Place the makeshift air freshener in your preferred location.
Crafty people can produce creative designs that will elevate the look of old wool dryer balls or completely transform them. Place the dryer balls in a beautiful vase or make them into ornaments to add to your house décor.