How To Use Wool Dryer Balls and Do They Work?

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how to use wool dryer balls

I remember seeing people use dryer balls when I was a kid. I remember thinking that friend’s parents were a little crazy because they were chucking her kids toy balls into the dryer with the laundry.

I never put too much thought into using dryer balls myself.  They are just one of those things in life that I would see other people using, but never once considered there might be a place for them in my own life, as silly as that sounds.

Until now! (said as an intense movie voice over guy)

A few months ago my wife and I went on a little trip to France, it was wonderful.  While in France we had our minds blown when we used soap nuts as laundry detergent for the first time.  

After finding such a crazy and wonderful solution for washing clothes I decided I should give dryer balls a chance and see if dryer balls really do work.  If you are looking for fabric softener recipes in general check out my other post on diy fabric softener recipes.

Related content:
8 Most Popular Wool Dryer Balls Our Readers Like

What You’ll Need

how to use wool dryer balls from woolzie

Dryer Balls, also know as laundry balls, of course!  You don’t need to use Woolzies, there are a bunch of different dryer balls out there.  I personal am not interested in plastic or rubber ones, so I looked for dryer balls made from natural fibers.  

I found Woolzies on Amazon.  They sounded good and were made of 100% wool so I gave them a try, and haven’t been disappointed.

Update: Personally, after using them now for a few years I think Woolzies are the best wool dryer balls. They are simple, have no gimmicks, and last for a very long time.

You can pick up some of Woolzies Dryer Balls from Amazon: Woolzies XL Dryer Balls or Woolzies 3 Dryer Balls.

There are also a bunch of other great dryer ball choices, check out the most popular dryer balls our reads love or the top rated wool dryer balls on Amazon check them out and pick what will work best for you!

I bought the three pack of XL dryer balls.  I really like these woolen laundry balls. They don’t have all the chemicals that their plastic brethren have, and they look a lot better too!

I was a little worried that they would last very long and that they would come unraveled.  So far after several loads they have held up really well.  According to the box these wool dryer balls are reusable up to 1,000 loads.  

For me, that means these dryer balls will last for several years.

What Do Dryer Balls Do?

Benefits of using wool dryer balls

The primary benefits of wool dryer balls are that they help to dry laundry more quickly and are made from all natural materials.

When you load a big armful of wet towels into the dryer they will flop and tumble around. Normally fabric will stick together in the dryer, slowing down the drying process.

On the other hand, when you add dryer balls into your clothes dryer the balls will get in-between the towels and clothing.  The balls will separate and pull them apart with their weight.

This in turn is allows more hot air in and around your laundry helping the dryer to heat your laundry more quickly and suck the evaporated water out of the dryer more efficiently.

This more aerated drying also helps your laundry to feel more dry when it comes out of the dryer.

Do Wool Dryer Balls Work for Static?

In my experience, wool dryer balls work amazingly well to get rid of static. I used to have a lot of static in my laundry especially when washing towels.

Every since I have started using wool dryer balls I have had no static in my clothes or towels!

Wool balls vs Dryer sheets

I personally am not a fan of store bought dryer sheets as they are typically saturated with chemicals and perfumes.  I would also much rather use something in the dryer to help speed up the drying time and reduce energy usage in the process.

Are wool dryer balls better than plastic

Yes, wool dryer balls are better than plastic ones in my opinion, all day long!  Why use something plastic when you can use a naturally sources product like wool dryer balls!

Another nice perk to using wool dryer balls over plastic dryer balls is that they are much more quiet than plastic dryer balls.  Plastic dryer balls can make a lot of clattering noise when they are being used in the dryer.

How To Use Dryer Balls

here how you can use wool dryer balls

Here’s how to use wool dryers balls:

Keep in mind when using dryer balls is how dryer balls work.  Like I said above, dryer balls work by separating laundry in the dryer so that hot air can circulate more evenly and efficiently.

What this means to you and I is that we can’t dry great big loads of laundry at one time.

The dryer balls need room to work.  Only dry loads that are small or medium sized. If you’re wondering how many dryer balls to use a common amount is 3 of the XL balls per load.

Grab your dryer balls and just throw them into the dryer along with your laundry.

That’s it, your clothes dryer and the dryer balls will do the rest! Keep an eye on your laundry for the first few loads.  Your laundry will dry much faster, and over drying clothes isn’t very good for them.

How long do wool dryer balls last?

You will want to replace wool dryer balls approximately every 1,000 loads.  However, you will also know it is time to replace wool dryer balls once they begin to look scraggly. 

You don’t want chunks of wool fiber to rip off in the the dryer.  The occasional tissue making it into the dryer to disintegrate is bad enough.

Adding Essential Oils

Use during a non heated tumble dry setting only. Heating essential oils to a high temperature in a clothes dryer has in some cases caused fires.

how to use dryer balls by adding essential oils

Another neat little trick you can do when you’re using wool dryer balls is to splash a few drops of essential oil onto them similar to what you would do if you where making homemade dryer sheets.

By splashing a few drops of essential oils onto the wool dryer balls you can make your laundry smell awesome without having to use super chemically dryer sheets to do it!

Let the essential oil soak on the dryer balls for a 10-20 minutes before you use them.  The more the oils are absorbed into the dryer balls before use the more slowly they will be dispersed in the dryer, and slower is better!

To use essential oils on your dryer balls:

  • First dry your load of laundry completely. 
  • Then, add in the dryer balls with the essential oils and run the load again on a non-heat setting for 10-20 minutes.

If you’re new to essential oils I recommend picking out a starter set of essential oils and the book Essential Oils for Beginners both will help you find the scents that you enjoy most and teach you how to use them!  There are more options than lavender and peppermint(I honestly had no idea).

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How Well Do Dryer Balls Work?

How to use dryer balls, do they work

Do wool dryer balls really work? So far my wool dryer balls have been working very well. My laundry seems to be getting dryer a little faster which is the whole point, so I’m happy!

I did a little experiment to see what the time difference is when drying with and without dryer balls. I dried two equal loads of towels one with dryer balls, and one without.

The load with the dryer balls was done roughly 8 minutes sooner than the load without. That is more than enough of a time and energy savings to make me happy.  

The longer load went for about 38 minutes, and the shorter one went for 30 minutes.  That works out to be a little over 20% savings. Not quite as good as Woolzies own claim of 25% savings, but still great in my book!

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls Organic: Our Big Wool Spheres are the Best fabric softener | 6-Pack XL...
LASTS FOR 1,000 LOADS; 100% Pure New Zealand Wool; Softens Naturally; Reduces Drying Time by 25%
$16.95

How do dryer balls reduce drying time?

Dryer balls reduce drying time by getting in between items in the dryers and helping to separate them as the tumble.  This promotes better air circulation within the dryer helping to more quickly evaporate moisture in the towels and draw it away.

At the end of the day, I’m really happy with my new wool laundry balls. I will definitely keep using them, and I recommend you give them a try for yourself!

You can read my full post of homemade fabric softener recipes for more laundry solutions.  Thank you for reading, I hope you found this post helpful! If you did like it please share it with a friend!

-Lance

Last update on 2020-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  • junasie14 says:

    Thanks for the review. Good information to have, as I’ve been thinking of trying these wool balls.

  • Bridget Langley says:

    Thank you for posting your experience with the dryer balls as well as how to use and how they work. This helps the rest of decide if we want to invest.

    Bridget

  • Mary S says:

    Thanks! I just purchased a set of these and appreciated the information you gave.

  • Barbara says:

    You can also make your own dryer balls. It takes a bit of time, you have to get the wool (Amazon or eBay – be sure to get wool that has already been cleaned, unless you are a masochist. . . ) and the only other thing you need is the leg or two of a pair of pantyhose. Ball up a good wad of wool, and put into the hose. Tie a knot and repeat until the hose is full., then toss into the washer. The agitation of the washer will cause the wool fibres to fell into a ball.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have been using Woolzies with lavender essential oil for 2 years now. I decided to try them when I read that dryer sheets were full of harmful chemicals. I also use an organic laundry detergent. Honestly, some of my clothes do not look as nice as when I used Bounce sheets. Also, the static is through the roof. The balls do not help with static at all for me. Some of my clothes started to get more pilly looking and they didn’t do this with Bounce sheets. However, I am still using the balls and have taken to hanging the items that were not looking as nice when dried with the balls. This seems to be a good remedy. I do like the fact that I am not using a product full of harmful chemicals and I love the lavender scent on my clothes. So while they are not perfect, I do like using them and I will continue to do so.

    • Mollie says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience Elizabeth! While no method is perfect I’m glad you were able to find a routine that worked for you while using the dryer balls. I love the lavender scent too!

  • Art says:

    Hi Lance. I just stumbled on this site, probably much later than most as I keep myself busy creating my own homemade stuff rather than cruising the internet, but I’m happy to see what you do.

  • Kimbro says:

    Most of my loads are medium cuz I have a washer that can’t handle much but I have never found these dryer balls to keep clothes from sticking together. Actually I think they’re more staticy then when I didn’t use them. Got mine from Fred Meyer. As for keeping clothes from being staticy what a huge disappointment they are.

    • Mollie says:

      I have noticed that if my laundry to wool ball ratio is off my clothes come out a little staticky. Have you tried adding in an extra ball to see if that helps?

  • Dee Sam says:

    Thanks for your experiment. heard of dryer balls but never used them. i will soon start.

  • Thanks for the info! I just bought a set!

  • Deborah says:

    Wow! Sounds really great I will definitely try them.
    Thanks

    • Mollie says:

      I hope you will! I have been very satisfied with them and haven’t purchased dryer sheets in quite a few years. Thank you for commenting!

  • KC MacLellan says:

    So glad to have found this review. Well written. I just ordered a pkg of 6 Woolzies on Amazon. Looking forward to the energy savings and the reduction of chemical laden products in my house.

  • Laurel Magee says:

    Thanks for al of the info. My guy and I just had a conversation about dryer sheets not being good for people or the environment. I had never heard of such a thing, but I now know better! Shhh! I won’t tell him that I took his advice until after I use the dryer balls a few times and see if he notices.

  • Renee says:

    I actually made my own dryer balls, using washed, carded wool for wool felting. There are instructions for several different ways to make them on the internet. I made 3 using all wool for felting and another 3 using wool felted strip reclaimed from a wool blanket that shrunk. Reclaimed wool is only used on the inside, to start your wool ball, saving money, as felting wool, though not terribly expensive, is still a monetary investment, while recycling an old wool blanket, or a wool, oops sweater is repurposing a resource you already have. Using reclaimed wool made the assembly of the balls a little faster. Both types of balls seem to work equally well, and the clothed do dry faster, with fewer wrinkles. Haven’t tried the essential oils, yet, but that’s next.

    • Mollie says:

      Way to go Renee! I’ve noticed a couple people commenting about making their own wool dryer balls, maybe I will have to give that a try! Thank you for sharing and commenting!

  • Peter says:

    The product you used also goes by the name ‘Wooly Tumblers’ here in the UK which I picked up in a discount store. In my old small 3 kg capacity vented dryer its possible they made a difference, but its still very hard to say. However when I replaced the same recently with a modern 7 kg condenser dryer that users a sensor to measure the humidity in the drum and should therefore stop when it senses the load is dry enough a lot of my washing frequently came out damp, when I stopped using the dryer balls the washing was as dry as it was supposed to be on the given set dryer programme. Its purely anecdotal I know but based on my experience I wouldn’t use such a product again. Its also frankly superfluous anyway with a large capacity dryer that reverse tumbles.

  • Marie says:

    I bought wool dryer balls on Amazon after I saw them in use at my daughter’s house. I had tried dryer sheets that had naturally derived ingredients, trying to get away from skin irritants but was not impressed. I have found that the wool dryer balls produce fluffier towels, are pretty good at removing wrinkles. I also found that there is some static cling with synthetic fabrics but it dissipates fairly quickly. I love the hint about adding essential oil to a couple of the balls and tossing them with the dry laundry. I will definitely try that.

    • Mollie says:

      Definitely give the essential oils a try Marie, they add a lovely scent to your fresh laundry! Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your story!

  • Deborah M. says:

    I do my laundry at a Laundry mat and I have found the wool balls to be helpful IF I use at least 6 balls per load. I have to do 6 loads. The only problem I have noticed is the static in my blankets is bad and I do use softener sheets along with the dryer balls for that.

    • Mollie says:

      Glad you found a dryer ball/laundry ratio that works for you! Blankets can be a bit tough when it comes to static cling, I’ve even had them come out staticky with dryer sheets in the past. Thank you for commenting!



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