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What are Dryer Balls?

By J.Gunsch
Updated May 16, 2024
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Dryer balls are a unique product designed to leave clothes soft and static free as well as make the process of doing laundry more economical. They are relatively large rubber balls about 3 inches (7.6 cm)in diameter that have rubber spikes on the surface. When placed in the dryer among the wet laundry the balls help to lift and separate the clothes reducing static and drying time as well as leaving the clothes soft and fluffy. Technically, they work by improving the circulation of heat and air through the wet items.

Ideally, the dryer balls eliminate the need for dryer sheets by doing the work naturally rather than chemically. Replacing dryer sheets with dryer balls will save money since the balls are reusable. They are relatively inexpensive and are intended to last for at least two years before they need to be replaced. Compared to the average price of dryer sheets, which must be purchased regularly, using dryer balls may save people a lot of money.

Using dryer balls instead of chemically treated dryer sheets may also be healthier for people as well as the environment because there is no risk of chemical residues being left on clothing and released into the air. The balls are non-toxic and hypoallergenic, a definite advantage for people and babies with sensitive skin.

Dryer balls are also economical because they reduce drying time by up to 40%. As a result, electrical bills and energy consumption will decrease. A reduced drying time is far more convenient for those with busy lifestyles as well.

Though better for the environment and your wallet, dryer balls do have one negative aspect. Because of their size and weight, when placed in a running dryer, they are noisy. This may be a problem for people who have a dryer in their home in close proximity to their living area. For those who dry their clothes at a laundromat or have a separate laundry area in the home, the benefits will probably far outweigh the potentially irritating thumping noise.

The actual effectiveness of dryer balls is disputed among users. Many people have found that they meet all their expectations while others think that static electricity is increased and that drying time stays the same. These discrepancies concerning their effectiveness can probably be explained by the quality and efficiency of the appliance that they are used in.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon930090 — On Feb 03, 2014

Where is this 40 percent number coming from? Was there a study?

By anon295053 — On Oct 04, 2012

My wool dryer balls have cut my drying time by almost 20 percent. I use six of them that I purchased on etsy. I am not sure if it is because they are wool core needle felted, but they don't make a loud noise either. I never scent them because I still use toxic laundry soap that smells good, but you can use a drop of essential oil for a better smell.

Increase the number of balls and I'll bet you will see more drastic results. I love them!

By anon263441 — On Apr 24, 2012

You must try woolzies wool dryer balls. They really work!

By anon155894 — On Feb 24, 2011

The wool dryer balls are a joke, they don't work. They just pill and mat your clothes. No static control, no softening, and your clothes smell like a wet sheep.

By anon143664 — On Jan 17, 2011

I set my dryer for less time than usual but the clothes were still damp. Ended up having them in for the same length of time I always have. Didn't save a dime on energy. Didn't matter the size of the load being dried! None dried in less time. Disappointed!

By ryanquinn — On Sep 18, 2010

I bought inexpensive ones a few months ago. They don't cut drying time by 25 percent but they do cut it down significantly, 15 minutes less on average. And no issues with static. They are loud though but not an issue for us since the dryer is in the basement so we don't hear it.

By anon106464 — On Aug 25, 2010

the dryer ball I am looking for is made with yarn.

By amijaded — On Oct 27, 2009

I've been using 'things' in my dryer for years!

A dry towel (or a couple/few) works great with smaller loads! (If the dryer is relatively empty the clothes don't 'bounce around' so much, therefore don't dry as quickly.)

I also have a mattress protector (4ft/4ft.)that I use (equivalent to a spring jacket/wind-breaker), and a fleece blanket (smaller one)!

I've been known to swipe the kids' stuffed toys too! (But not the 'furry' ones as the fur gets 'matted'!)

As for the dryer balls, a chew toy comes to mind. A trip to a dollar store would be cheaper! (As long as they aren't ones that will smell like burning rubber when they get hot!)

I don't like to use shoes. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to wash my face with a wash cloth that been flipping around with my shoes. (Not to mention the foot smell which is going to be there whether the shoes are clean or not -it just will be. And the rubber smell.

You get to know your laundry. (Boy, that sounds *so* sad!) After a while you just know what will work with what!

Sheesh! Doing laundry is such a complicated business!

By anon31934 — On May 13, 2009

I bought some Wool Dryer Balls and *love* them! No chemicals, plastics/rubbers. They sped up the drying time, I do not use softeners anymore and it saves money on the energy bill.

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