Nobody really enjoys doing the laundry, but there are a few tools you can use to lessen the burden or at least make the task a little easier. Dryer balls are one such tool, but do dryer balls work, really?
Even the best dryers (opens in new tab) can create some static, and one of the claims made by dryer balls is that they help to eliminate this, making for a more pleasant experience when unloading the machine. Of course, these claims are also sometimes made by certain softeners and dryer sheets, which can be marginally cheaper than dryer balls, so do you really need them?
Well, while not everyone will feel the need to invest, we think that dryer balls are worth the up-front expense (which can often be as little as $10 for a pack of four) for the difference they will make to your laundry routine.
Do dryer balls work?
While not all are created equal, a quality dryer ball will speed along the time it takes for your laundry to dry. This is because it will prevent laundry from becoming stuck together in the dryer.
Dryer balls will effectively come between sheets, socks, and other laundry, which will allow the hot air of your dryer to really reach into each towel and pillowcase to circulate more efficiently.
Another perk of dryer balls is their ability to absorb moisture in the air of your dryer to reduce that residual dampness that can linger when your dryer has finished its cycle.
This is because, like dryer sheets, dryer balls are often made of absorbent material such as wool.
A third and final advantage of a dryer ball is its ability to reduce static. This is achieved by reducing the amount that the clothes rub against each other in the dryer, which can cause friction and, as such, static. By rubbing against your laundry a dryer ball can often loosen the fibers from becoming too matted or tangled, which will make your sheets or sweaters even softer than usual.
What are dryer balls?
Dryer balls are exactly as they sound, a ball that goes in the dryer. There are two main types: a woolen drying ball, or a plastic one. While the plastic one could arguably last longer, a wool drying ball is more sustainable thanks to the fact that it uses a biodegradable material.
While plastic dryer balls are often spiked, which is very effective at parting sheets an creating more separation between your laundry while drying, they are also less useful than wool when it comes to absorbing damp and moisture in the air of the dryer.
Another perk of plastic dryer balls is that they are hypoallergenic, which will be more suitable for those with sensitive allergies. While not many people are allergic to sheep's wool, some have allergies to lanolin, which is an oil found in wool, or simply prefer not to use animal byproducts thanks to a vegan lifestyle. However, plastic dryer balls can often be a little noisy when bouncing around your dryer. By contrast, wool dryer balls are far softer and therefore create little to no noise when at work in your machine.
How do dryer balls work?
To use dryer balls you can put as many as four in with a load of drying. While many of the best front-load washers (opens in new tab) can be easily overfilled, it is best to make sure you don't make this mistake in the dryer.
Your sheets need plenty of space to separate out and dry more efficiently, and even a great dryer ball will be no good at speeding up your laundry drying time if it doesn't have the space to circulate in your machine.
Some dryer balls can last hundreds of cycles, which means it is only an investment you will need to make every few years. Compared to how fast you can get through a bottle of fabric softener, that's a fair enough price to pay. Of course, some will miss the scent of their favorite fabric softener when they're using this more eco-friendly alternative, but there is an easy solution to this.
Adding a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender or peppermint to your wool dryer ball can spread the scent through your entire load. By rubbing the oil into the fibers of your dryer ball you will also prevent it from staining any sheets or delicates directly, which could be a risk if you were to drop it straight into the machine.
How to make your laundry dry quicker
Buying a dryer ball is one of the best ways to make your laundry dry quicker, but there are other ways of making this happen without any added tools.
The first tip is to not overfill the dryer barrel on your machine. Creating more room if your dryer machine will leave less moisture for your dryer to remove, so if you need something to be dried in a jiffy, put it in the dryer without filling it up entirely.
Another great way of making your laundry dry quicker is to speed up the spin cycle. The faster the machine spins, the faster it will remove excess moisture from your laundry.
A final tip is to remove excess water from your clothing before you put it in the dryer. The simplest way to do this is to wring out any water from your sheets or towels, but if you are drying delicates, a more gentle way of removing excess moisture is to lay down your sweater or shirt onto a dry towel. Then, roll it up tightly and put plenty of weight on your finished roll.