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Are you looking for a simple, cost effective way to remove some of the chemicals from your home that you are currently exposed to that is increasing your toxic load? Consider the small investment in wool dryer balls.
It is no secret that laundry softeners and dryer sheets contain various chemicals to soften and scent your laundry, especially to create the fragrance that is left behind on your clothing. Some of these chemicals that are left in our clothing and linens can cause skin irritation, allergies, respiratory distress and even hormonal disruption.
The fragrance and other residual chemicals from traditional laundry softening products are not great for the environment either. Also, these chemicals add to the indoor pollution in our homes (on average homes have 2x-5x more pollution compared to the amount of outside pollution due to all of our cleaning products and household items).
Now that you are ready to ditch the chemicals, does this mean you are left with stiff, wrinkly clothing that takes forever to dry? Not at all.
Switch to Dryer Balls
There are a number of a laundry dryer ball options when it comes to finding a solution to help with softening and fluffing laundry as it dries. Some will work better than others for your needs.
When I was first moving away from liquid laundry softeners and dryer sheets I just stopped using them (mostly out of concern of what I was exposing my infant daughter to regarding the unknown chemicals in these products). I found that this worked but was wondering if there was something that could be done to help soften my laundry naturally.
I read that some people will use tennis balls to help fluff laundry while drying to help cut down on the drying time, so I figured I would give that a try. Talk about loud (did I mention the nursery was next to the laundry room? Not great for doing laundry during naps). And I didn’t think that heating up the plastic on the tennis balls and smell was that much better than the chemicals on the dryer sheets.
Then I tried making my own dryer balls with aluminum foil by just rolling them into balls. This worked for a little while (I would have to reshape them periodically) but still did not produce the results I was after.
After exploring these two options I decided it was time to take the plunge and order some dryer balls. Generally you will find ones made out of plastic, often with little nubs to help grab and fluff the laundry, or they will be made from wool.
I am sure the plastic dryer balls will get the job done, but I am trying to steer away from plastics, especially when heating due to the chemical nature of these products (even if they are listed as being eco-friendly). And I am also concerned with how loud they would be after my tennis ball experience. This left me the option of trying wool dryer balls, and I am so glad that I did.
Wool Dryer Balls
What are Wool Dryer Balls?
Wool dryer balls are made of wool that is tightly compressed into round soft balls through the process of felting. Technically anyone can make these types of wool balls for the dryer, if you purchase the wool and undertake the process to make.
I love that this is a sustainable product since they are made only from wool. And that there is no care involved with this product. They just stay in your dryer until the next load of wet laundry.
How Many Wool Dryer Balls Should Be Used?
When purchasing, I suggest buying a pack of 6 wool dryer balls that are the size of a tennis ball or larger. It is usually recommended to use 3 wool dryer balls for small or medium sized loads and 6 balls for large loads (although I tend to use 6 wool dryer balls for all of my laundry loads since I have them).
How Long Do Wool Dryer Balls Last?
The wool dryer balls last for years, most list that they can be used on over 1,000 loads of laundry! This can fall anywhere in the 2-5 year range (or more) depending on how much laundry you do in your home.
I used my original set of wool dryer balls for 5 years before replacing. I technically can still use them but a few have been misplaced and some are starting to come undone so I figured it was time to invest in a new set.
Can You Add Essential Oils To Wool Dryer Balls?
Some people “miss” the fresh scent in their laundry, or don’t feel like their laundry is clean unless it smells good. Fortunately, with wool dryer balls you can add 2-5 drops of essential oils to lightly scent your laundry in the dryer and make your laundry room smell amazing (let dry for about an hour before using or dry the balls alone in the dryer for a bit before using).
I will often add my drops of essential oil to my dry balls after finishing laundry for the day so they are all set to go for the next load (usually the next day in our home).
What Essential Oils Are Good For Wool Dryer Balls?
Using essential oils on wool dryer balls is a fun way to experiment with your essential oils. For bedding try using lavender to help promote relaxation and sleep. For regular laundry loads try using a fresh citrus scent such as lemon or sweet orange (one of my favorites right now from Plant Therapy).
Want to try out some essential oils for your wool dryer balls? Click here to get $10 towards your first Plant Therapy purchase.
For more savings on essential oils check out this post How to Get Free Essential Oils
What Else Can Wool Dryer Balls Be Used For?
Wool dryer balls are also great for entertaining kids. My son loves to come into the laundry room and “help” me, which is great but often makes the task harder. To distract him while I work I have him play with the wool dryer balls. He loves taking out our wool dryer balls (usually climbing half way into the dryer to retrieve) and then will stand a few feet back from the dryer to throw them in. Or he will throw into empty laundry baskets until I am done.
My daughter’s preschool even used the wool dryer balls as snowballs for a snowball fight that the kids had a blast doing!
Final Thoughts on Do Wool Dryer Balls Work?
Wool dryer balls are the best eco-friendly and cost effective way to fluff laundry to quicken drying times, reduce wrinkles, reduce static electricity and soften, without needing to use products full of chemical. They also allow you to customize the scent of your laundry by adding your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend for a natural scent instead of a chemically created scent.
Wool dryer balls can be a great solution for those who have sensitive skin, or for babies and children, to avoid unnecessary chemicals having constant contact with the skin that can cause irritation. Also, these are a great alternative for those dealing with asthma, hormonal imbalance or allergies by removing the off-gassing that the clothing produces (releasing of chemicals that make the scent in the air around the clothing).
With so many reasonably priced wool dryer balls on the market today it is easy to buy a set for the same amount as what you are already spending on fabric softener and/or dryer sheets, or close to it. Then you will save money in the future by not purchasing these disposable products again and again.
As a mom, I love that I don’t have another bottle or product that contains chemicals that I have to worry about trying to keep away from my kids. Or have something else that is sitting around taking up space that I have to remember to replace when running out.
Do you use wool dryer balls or some other eco-friendly product to help soften and reduce wrinkles in your dryer?
Additional FAQ on Wool Dryer Balls
Do wool dryer balls reduce drying time?
Yes, as wool dryer balls bounce through your laundry in the dryer they help to lift and separate the items. This helps the warm air to surround each item easily to quicken drying time.
Do wool dryer balls hurt your dryer?
No, not at all. They are soft and lightly bounce around in the dryer drum in and around your laundry. They do not leave any type of marks or dings.
Do wool dryer balls reduce static?
Wool dryer balls will absorb some moisture from the items that are drying in the dryer as they dry. This helps to prevent the dryer from becoming “too dry” where dry laundry items rub together to cause static.
However, if the dryer is left on too long and the dryer has effectively dried all items, including the moisture on the wool dryer balls, then some static can be experienced.
Can you reuse dryer balls?
Yes, absolutely you can reuse dryer balls and is one of the best points of owning your own set. Dryer balls (plastic or wool) can be reused multiple times, usually thousands of times, before needing to be replaced. This provides ongoing savings after a set has been purchased.
Do dryer balls save energy?
Yes, dryer balls save energy. Since dryer balls cuts down on the drying time needed to dry your laundry less energy is needed to be used for this job.
Do wool dryer balls make you itch?
Generally, no they do not. Most people get itchy from the scratchy wool fibers rubbing against their skin, so unless you are taking the wool dryer balls and rubbing against your skin you should not experience this type of irritation.
If you have a lanolin allergy that causes you to be itchy, you still might be able to use wool dryer balls as the lanolin (wax secreted by sheep to help to naturally waterproof, also used in many beauty products as it is good for the skin…that is if you do not have an allergy) is usually stripped out of the wool used in wool dryer balls in the manufacturing process.
Other Posts You Might Like:
- e-cloth vs. Norwex Microfiber Review (toxic free, eco-friendly, efficient cleaning products)
- 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Chemicals In Your Home
- 12 Easy Ways to Start Using Essential Oils
- How To Get Free Essential Oils
Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.