On this site, we talk a lot about hankies, but today we’re talking about balls – dryer balls!
If you have a passion for sustainability, you must have heard of them, they are the new “It Girl” when it comes to an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric.
They are functional, fabulous, and oh-so fluffy.
What Are Dryer Balls?
Dryer balls are sets of balls made of wool or, every now and then, spikey plastic. When placed in the wash with your items, they will get into all of the knots and tangles of your clumped-up laundry.
This effect makes sure the warm air can flow through items to reduce static and drying time, saving your electricity bill from going through the roof. Now that is true love.
Why Wool Dryer Balls?
Time to answer the “not-so-age-old” question, why wool?
Well, chemical softeners are not the friendliest characters when it comes to caring for the environment, and some people even find that the chemicals make their skin dry and itchy.
But fabric softeners are not the only culprits, oh no no no… Dryer sheets contain fragrances made from chemicals, shocker!
These fragrances combined with the acetone in the sheets have actually made people lightheaded and dizzy. In some cases, these two softening villains have even triggered cases of asthma.
Back to the question, why wool? Well, since the yarn it knitted so tightly, these white tennis balls are quite difficult to unravel, which means they are durable (in case you haven’t figured that one out) and, as you’ve probably guessed, they don’t have any of those nasty chemicals knitted inside them.
Yup, they are sweet and innocent inside and out. (Can you hear the choir sing?)
Do Dryer Balls Work?
The question is, do they work? Well, obviously, why else make a fuss about dryer balls on a hanky site? Besides for the fact that these balls do not contain any chemicals, the tightly knit structure means no batteries, refills, subscriptions, terms and conditions or repairs required.
It’s that simple? Yes, but they also reduce static, which means you can wear that interesting Christmas sweater all year round.
How Do Dryer Balls Work?
If you put your laundry in the dryer and pressed start, the wet clothes will just bunch together like wet hair and flop around in a solid pile. If you could get your hands in there and separate them after each turn, they should dry nicely and evenly.
This is exactly what dryer balls do, they roll in between the folds and layers of your clothes to make sure the hot air moves into all the bits so that everything dries evenly. With this being said, you could also expect your drying time to decrease.
Popping about 3-4 balls in your dryer will give you the best results, but hey, go wild!
Tell me more!
Since these balls move their way through the whole pile, even the sleeves of your shirt, the wool from the balls cause friction in the fibres of your clothes so they come out of the dryer soft, fluffy and without that annoying static cling.
I mean, who doesn’t love a fluffy towel?
For those who don’t understand the static problem, the longer you dry your clothes for the more static they become. Overheated clothes are like heated people, ready to zap anyone.
By decreasing the drying time and creating an even heat flow, you can prevent your clothes from becoming static. So no, the balls don’t have magic power, but they do a kind thing.
If you do miss that fresh fragrant smell, all you need to do is add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the ball.
The balls need room to move
I know we all tend to leave our laundry until it becomes a cute little mountain, but it is important to note that you can’t cram your dryer with clothes. The balls need some room to move and carry the hot air through. No one likes a crowded room.
How Long Do Wool Dryer Balls Last?
By now you must be completely in love with the idea, but the flirting isn’t over. These balls last up to 1000 drying loads, for those who need the math done for them, here we go; if you do 2 loads of drying in a week, that is 104 loads of drying in a year.
You still have 896 loads to go. To make sure it lasts that long, do not keep them stored in a plastic container, let them breathe freely. To hell with it, you can even just leave them in the dryer.
And if your cat attacks your precious balls…
Or your dog decides to run away with your dryer balls, don’t worry, it is perfectly safe for the pup and if they decide to bury them in the ground; it is not the end of the world; they are biodegradable.
How to make your own wool dryer balls?
I decided to make my own dryer balls and documented the process (with video!) – it was a really fun project with a surprisingly steep learning curve, so follow my lead and learn more my mistakes.
If you haven’t tried dryer balls yet, now is the time. Have fun with laundry day and brag about your next electric bill, because hey, we are adults but we’re still allowed to get excited about fluffy things.
I created HankyBook to help sniffle sufferers and the planet.
Sustainable, eco-friendly products are a passion of mine – you can see this in my annually updated sustainable gift guide.
This year, I’m chasing my passion and will be raising awareness of other awesome eco-friendly products, that I hope the HankyBook community will enjoy.
For now, these will fall under the HankyBook umbrella but in the future, I may create a new site, so it’s a bit less confusing.