Eco-Friendly Laundry Room: Wool Dryer Balls
Have you ever wondered why your clothes come out of the dryer wrinkled and static-y, despite using fabric softener? The answer might be that you're not using dryer balls! Dryer balls are a natural way to soften your clothes and reduce wrinkles and static. Plus, they can save you money on laundry detergent and fabric softener.
Dryer balls really gained in popularity in recent years, but by no means they are a new concept. People used to throw in all kinds of stuff like toys, tennis balls, etc. into their dryers in order to "beat up" on their clothes to make them softer. Wool dryer balls will do all that, plus they have a few extra benefits compared to plastic balls.
Wool dryer balls are more environmentally friendly than fabric softeners, which can contain harmful chemicals. Plus, they're reusable and can last for years with proper care. So if you're looking for a more natural way to soften your clothes, try using wool dryer balls!
What is a dryer ball and what does it do?
Dryer balls are just what you probably expected - round objects the size of a tennis ball that you mix with your laundry during the drying process. There are a few different types of dryer balls on the market. They maybe made from plastic, rubber or (our favourite) New Zealand wool. The plastic or rubber dryer balls may come in different shapes. Some of them have spikes others have holes and some are not balls at all.
No matter the material and shape, dryer balls have one mission: separate your wet laundry during the dryer cycle. By doing this, the balls create air tunnels allowing the hot air to pass through which in turn helps to reduce the drying time by an average of 20%.
There are some "specialized" dryer balls that claim to scoop and remove pet hair from the laundry, but from now on we will talk about wool dryer balls and their benefits.
Another use of wool dryer balls as opposed to other dryer balls is to use them instead of dryer sheets. Dryer sheets release liquid softeners, lubricants and fragrances under the heat, softening the fabrics and prevent static cling. Organic dryer balls to the same and are reusable and chemical free.
Are wool dryer balls better than dryer sheets?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as both wool dryer balls and dryer sheets have their pros and cons. Wool dryer balls are more eco-friendly, as they can be reused multiple times, while single use dryer sheets often contain synthetic fragrances and dyes that can be harmful to the environment. Fabric softener sheets also tend to be less effective at reducing static cling than wool dryer balls.
You can also "customize" your wool dryer ball by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to have your gourmets smell the way you like. Dryer balls will also decrease your drying time while doing the drying sheet's job, so I give the edge to the balls here.
Do dryer balls damage dryers?
There is no evidence that wool dryer balls damage dryers. In fact, they may actually help to reduce wear and tear on your dryer by speeding up the drying process.
Are dryer balls effective?
The jury is still out on whether wool dryer balls are actually effective at reducing drying time. Some people report that they do see a difference, while others say that they don't make much of a difference at all. However, the consensus seems to be that they're at least worth trying, especially if you're looking for a more eco-friendly way to do laundry.
How long do dryer balls last?
Most wool dryer balls will last for 1,000 loads or more. However, there are a few things that can shorten their lifespan. First, if you use them with very hot water or high heat settings, they may start to fall apart after a while. Second, if you have pets, their fur can get tangled in the wool and cause the balls to fall apart. Finally, if you don't store them properly (in a cool, dry place), they may start to develop mold or mildew.
With proper care, your wool dryer balls should last for 2-5 years.
How to use dryer balls?
Using dryer balls is as simple as it gets.
- (optional) Infuse your dryer balls with few drops of essential oils few hours before use.
- Open your dryer and and put laundry in. Small to medium loads are recommended to give the balls room to work their magic.
- Throw in about six balls or three XL balls per load.*
- Start the dryer.
When using wool dryer balls, it is important to remember a few things:
- Use enough balls for your load size. The more balls you use, the faster your clothes will dry.
- Do not overload your dryer. This will prevent the balls from working properly.
- Make sure the balls have enough room to move around in the dryer. If they are crammed in with no space to move, they will not work as well.
What should be considered when choosing the best dryer ball?
When choosing the best dryer ball, first you need to decide the material from which the ball is made. Plastic dryer balls will probably last longer, but they offer fewer benefits than the organic wool dryer balls. Beside the eco-friendliness aspects of wool dryer balls (renewable material, compostable, 100% natural etc.) they tend to be quieter than plastic or rubber balls.
You should also consider the size of the ball. There are some XL wool dryer balls on the market. Larger balls are generally more effective than smaller balls, but they can also take longer to dry.
Last but not least, if you go with wool balls make sure they're made from good quality wool, such as New Zealand wool. Organic New Zealand wool is considered one of the best in the world. But in the end the best dryer balls are what's best working for you.
The benefits of using wool dryer balls:
- wool is a renewable resource
- dryer balls can be reused multiple times
- help to reduce static
- fluff up clothes and towels
- absorb moisture from the air
- can help reduce drying time
- don't contain any synthetic fragrances or dyes
- environmentally friendly
- 100% natural
The best way to care for your dryer balls
The best way to care for your wool dryer balls is to clean them periodically. This can be done by rinsing them off with warm water and allowing them to air dry. You may also want to comb them occasionally with a wool comb to keep them in good condition.
It can also be washed in your washer and dryer with ease. Simply wash them in a warm water cycle and dry them in the dryer.
Finally, always store your wool dryer balls in a cool, dry place when they're not in use. This will help them last longer. With proper care, they can be reused for many years.
Common problems and how to fix them
If you've ever noticed your clothes sticking together after coming out of the dryer, you've experienced static cling. Static cling occurs when different fabrics rub together in dry air, like in winter. The fabrics stick together because the positively and negatively charged particles of the fabrics attract (and cling to) each other when they come in contact.
Much of the reason static occurs is due to over-drying clothes. You are definitely going to notice static if the dryer is allowed to run too long, with or without wool dryer balls!
One way to prevent it is to keep your clothes and laundry moist. You can do this by moisturizing the wool balls. Spraying them with water or even giving them a quick soak under the faucet should do the trick. They will increase the humidity level in the dryer, which will help to reduce static. This method does not harm the dryer balls in any way, and it does not seem to increase the drying time.
Since wool dryer balls are made from wool fibers, without any other additives, it is only natural some of the fibers will get loose and end up on your gourmet. There is no real way to prevent this, but you can have two sets of dryer balls. One light and one dark and try to match them with the colour of your load.
Missing fresh scent
New Zealand wool dryer balls are great for people with sensitive skin because they're organic and hypoallergenic, but if you miss that lavender scent often provided by fabric softeners, there is a simple solution.
Add a few drops of essential oil to each dryer ball. Allow them time to soak up the oil into the fibers—a few hours is ideal. The more oils that are absorbed into the dryer balls before they're used, the slower the fragrance will be dispersed in the dryer. You'll begin to detect a mild, non-toxic scent in your clean, soft clothing. Set the dryer to warm when attempting the method of utilizing essential oils.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy bill, help out the environment, and get your clothes fluffed and static-free, then wool dryer balls may be the perfect solution for you.
Eco friendly dryer balls can replace both; dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. They will reduce drying times, save money, soften clothes, produce fewer wrinkles and make your laundry day more fun.