How Do Dryer Balls Work?

December 7, 2022
Dryer Repair

Have you seen dryer balls at the store, or seen an ad for them, but are not sure what they are or how they work? This article will walk you through what they are and how to use them properly with simple, straightforward instructions. 

What are dryer balls?

Dryer balls are reusable orb-shaped laundry products. They bounce around inside the dryer with your wet clothes, separating them and allowing warm air to circulate efficiently. They also absorb moisture and retain heat, which helps to dry your laundry.

All of this adds up to faster drying times, lower electricity consumption, and super soft laundry!

Dryer balls can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common varieties are made of felted wool, rubber, or plastic. The different types of dryer balls have different benefits. 

Different types of dryer balls

When choosing your dryer balls, there are several factors to bear in mind. Read on to figure out which type of dryer balls are right for you. 


Wool dryer balls are smooth spheres. They are made of natural materials and are environmentally friendly and long-lasting. Wool dryer balls can help absorb moisture from fabrics and improve drying time. When bouncing around in the dryer, they are also the quietest option. 

They are not as long-lasting as rubber or plastic varieties and will need to be replaced more frequently. Wool varieties can also sometimes shed fibers on your laundry, which may be irritating to some people.

Rubber or plastic

Rubber or plastic dryer balls usually have spikes or bumps on them to help agitate your clothes. This option is more durable than woolen balls, although all types can last for several years if taken care of. Rubber and plastic balls also have the advantage of not shedding fibers on your clothes. 

The rubber and plastic varieties can be noisy bouncing around in the dryer, especially if they are being used with a small load of laundry.

Why should I use dryer balls?

There are many benefits to using dryer balls, as follows:

1. They shorten drying time

By tumbling between layers and separating fabric, they help keep laundry from clumping together in the dryer. This action allows warm air to circulate more freely, thus reducing drying time. The movement of the dryer balls against the fabrics can also help fight wrinkles, prevent static electricity, and soften clothing.

2. They are good for the environment

Dryer balls are eco-friendly, especially compared to using fabric softeners. Conventional fabric softeners work using chemicals, usually quaternary ammonium cation or stearic acid, which is either suspended in liquid or, in the case of dryer sheets, applied to polyester. 

Some people are concerned about using unnecessary chemicals on items that will be close to their skin. If this is something you are concerned about, dryer balls could be a good option for you. 

Dryer balls are also reusable, as opposed to dryer sheets, which are typically one-time use products.This can be an important factor for those wishing to reduce their waste. 

Wool dryer balls are typically biodegradable as they are made of natural fibers, and rubber and plastic dryer balls last almost indefinitely. 

The increased drying speeds that you get when using dryer balls aid in energy conservation, as laundry that dries faster means less electricity is used. This is not only good for the environment, it can also save you money on your electricity bill!

3. They are good for those with sensitive skin

Dryer balls are sometimes marketed as hypoallergenic or better for people with sensitive skin because they do not use artificial softeners or fragrances on clothing.

How should I use dryer balls?

Now that you know what dryer balls are and have chosen the ones that are right for you, the next step is to use them! Follow the steps below to get the most out of your dryer balls. 

  • Step 1: Toss your dryer balls in with your wet laundry. Dryer balls require space to bounce around and circulate air, so never overfill the machine.
  • Step 2: Close the dryer door and begin the drying process.
  • Step 3: Keep an eye on your laundry because the drying time will be shorter than usual.
  • Step 4: Take your clothes out of the dryer and store the balls somewhere dry to avoid dampness and odors.

If you have wool dryer balls, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the balls before putting them in the dryer. This will infuse your dry laundry with your favorite scent. 

Tips to get the most out of your dryer balls

  • Use them three at a time. This is the optimum number, as too many can lead to overcrowding and too few can mean that you don’t get the full benefit. 
  • If you are using wool dryer balls, spritz them with a little water before adding them to a load of laundry in your dryer. This will help to reduce static. 
  • Make sure you wash your wool dryer balls when they need it. You should wash them once a year, or more frequently if they are used very often. Simply put them through a regular cycle in your washing machine by tying them inside an old sock to prevent the felted wool from being damaged. This will help to keep the fibers firm and well compacted.

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