Once you learn how to use wool dryer balls, you’ll not only save money but you’ll avoid exposing your family to harmful chemicals. As they are a reusable replacement for traditional liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets, they are ideal for those hoping to make their laundry routine eco-friendly, as well as cut down drying time and reduce static.
Dryer Sheets vs. Wool Dryer Balls
If dryer sheets are already part of your laundry routine you will likely be aware of their benefits. Dryer sheets are used to reduce static as well as soften fabrics and add scent to keep clothes smelling fresh.
However, in order to achieve this dryer sheets are coated in a thin layer of stearic acid (or fatty acids) as well as synthetic fragrances and various other chemicals. Not only do dryer sheets coat your clothing in chemicals which can potentially irritate the skin, but as they are single use they are damaging the environment too.
That is why switching to wool dryer balls are an ideal alternative. Made from wool, dryer balls are natural, hypoallergenic and chemical free. If you’re considering making the switch but are unsure how to use wool dryer balls or you’re skeptical of the benefits, this guide covers all you need to know.
5 Benefits of Using Wool Dryer Balls
1. Reduce Static Electricity
One of the biggest advantages of using wool dryer balls is that they can help reduce static cling in your clothes. As the balls bounce around in the dryer, they help separate the fabrics and allow air circulation between them.
Not only does this save you using a wrinkle release spray, but it helps keep clothes from sticking together and eliminates static build-up. Plus, because there are no chemicals involved unlike traditional dryer sheets so your clothes won’t be left with a waxy residue or an overpowering scent.
2. Save Money & Time
One of the best benefits of wool dryer balls is that they are reusable. This will not only save you money but time too as it means less trips to the store for expensive dryer sheets. Once you learn how to use wool dryer balls correctly, they should last years making them a worthwhile investment for your home.
In addition, as they help reduce static cling and increase air circulation, your clothing will get dried faster. This will not only save you time but can help cut energy costs too. Faster drying times means less money spent on electricity or gas bills to run your dryer.
Unlike conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets, dryer balls won’t irritate your skin or cause any allergic reactions. This is because there are no perfumes or dyes in wool dryer balls, so they are perfect for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
They are even gentle enough to use with baby clothing and can help safely make those special items soft and static free.
4. Environmentally Friendly
Wool dryer balls are made from natural fibers (such as merino wool) which are non-toxic. This makes them a sustainable alternative to single use dryer sheets or conventional fabric softeners which contain harsh chemicals. Not only are these products wasteful, but the harmful toxins contribute to pollution and leave synethic residue on your clothing.
Wool dryer balls are also biodegradable and made from a renewable resource, this makes them superior to the rubber dryer balls and plastic dryer balls too. As they are designed to be gentle on you’re your laundry and dryer drum, this will maximize their lifespan which also benefits the environment.
Depending on how often you use them, wool dryer balls should last between 1-3 years. Imagine how many dryer sheets you’d throw away in that time? As a reusable alternative, they not only benefit the planet but your pocket too.
5. Won’t Affect Absorbency
A major benefit of using wool dryer balls is that they won’t reduce the absorbency of your towels, linens or workout clothes. Conventional fabric softeners coat fabric in petroleum-based ingredients or a waxy residue which can hinder absorbency.
Not only does this encourage you to wash the items more often – reducing their lifespan – but it prevents them doing the job they were intended for which can be frustrating. Wool dryer balls will not affect the absorbency of your laundry as they are natural and chemical free.
How to use wool dryer balls
Now you’re aware of the benefits, it’s time to learn how to use wool dryer balls correctly. Put simply, you just add them to your dryer drum alongside wet clothing as you would with dryer sheets. However, there are a few additional tips for best results.
- Add essential oils – Instead of the synthetic fragrance of fabric softener or dryer sheets, add essential oils to wool dryer balls for a natural, lasting scent. Add 4-6 drops to one of the wool dryer balls before adding it to the laundry on your usual cycle.
- Don’t cram the dryer – if you’re wondering how to use wool dryer balls to cut down drying time the best tip is to use a small load of laundry. The larger the load, the less room the dryer balls will have to bounce around, circulate air and help the clothing dry quickly.
- Store correctly – When you’re finished using them, store dryer balls in a well-ventilated area to avoid them absorbing odors or retaining moisture. For example, do not store them in a plastic bag. Storing them correctly will help to maximize their lifespan.
How do wool dryer balls work?
You may be wondering how wool dryer balls actually work. Thanks to their lightweight composition, they bounce around in the dryer with your laundry. As they do so, this helps to separate items which improves air circulation. Not only does this help reduce drying time but helps to reduce wrinkles and static electricity too. Overall, this means wool dryer balls help to save you time, money and the environment.
How many wool dryer balls do you use at a time?
An important element of learning how to use wool dryer balls is ensuring you use the correct number of balls for your laundry. If you find your laundry is not drying effectively, it’s likely the balls do not have enough room to bounce around so you will either need to reduce the load or increase the dryer balls.
As a general guide:
- Small Load: 3-4 wool dryer balls
- Medium Load: 4-5 wool dryer balls
- Large Load: 6-8 wool dryer balls
- Extra Large loads: It’s best to split larger loads to allow more air circulation.
What are wool dryer balls made from?
Wool dryer balls are made from sheep wool usually from New Zealand. The wool is then spun into yarn, and hand-wound into tight circles until they reach their desired size (usually 3-4 inches in diameter).
Each ball is then felted by hand using hot water and soap, which helps shrink them down even more as well as make them stronger. This gives the wool dryer balls their spherical shape but also makes them more durable.
How long do wool dryer balls last?
Once you learn how to use wool dryer balls, they can be reused for up to 1000 loads or about 1-3 years depending on your usage. Once the wool starts to unravel it’s time to replace.
You may need to give your dryer balls a quick refresh occasionally which will help to regenerate the wool. The easiest way to do this is to recreate the felting process that was used to make them originally.
To do this, wash the wool dryer balls in hot water on a gentle cycle then dry them on high heat. A fresh recharge every so often will help your wool dryer balls keep their effectiveness and last longer.
How to use wool dyer balls with essential oils
As clothing, bedding and towels are in contact with the skin daily, it’s important to minimize the amount of chemicals in your laundry routine. This is why I use natural laundry detergent scented with essential oils.
I then add essential oils to wool dryer balls for an added fragrance boost. As their scent is natural it is not as overpowering or long lasting as the synthetic fragrance found in convention fabric softener. This means a more subtle fragrance without the toxic chemicals or risk of skin irritation.
To use, simply add 4-6 drops of oil to one of the wool dryer balls you’ll be using. Let the oil soak in/dry for a few minutes then add to the dryer with the laundry.
Be sure to use high-quality essential oils and not too many drops. Essential oils are flammable so the combination of heat from the dryer and large amounts of oil can be a fire risk. I prefer the Young Living brand and my favorites for laundry are Lavender, Purification, or Lemon.
How to stop static cling with wool dryer balls
There are a few tips that can help stop static cling using wool dryer balls. These include:
- Reduce drying time – Static cling can occur of you overdry your laundry. The easiest way to avoid this is to reduce the drying time.
- Safety pin – Add a safety pin to one or a few of the wool dryer balls you are using. As it is made of metal the safety pin helps to diffuse static electricity.
- Increase humidity – If you have purchased new wool dryer balls and find static build up is still an issue, spray the balls with water before adding them to the dryer. This will increase humidity helping their static-solving magic to work.
Which wool dryer balls should you buy?
If you’re ready to start using wool dryer balls, it’s important you choose ones that are made from 100% wool. Do not buy dryer balls made from plastic or any other material as not only are they not sustainable, but they are more noisy and more likely to cause damage to your laundry and clothing.
I also recommend you buy a set of six (like this pack) as this means you should have enough for even a large laundry load.
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