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The One Big Laundry Mistake That Most People Are Still Making

dryer balls

Does anyone else find the experience of pulling a load of warm, fluffy laundry out of their dryer oddly luxurious? Sometimes I’m tempted to skip folding altogether and just carry it over to my recliner chair, use my warm laundry as a blanket and grab a nice midday nap! ;-)

But I’m sure we all have enough laundry experience under our belts to know that not every load comes out of the dryer all warm and fluffy. Some loads of laundry find a way to get hopelessly tangled together while tumbling around in there, resulting in damp pockets that require additional drying time.

I used to struggle with this exact problem on a semi-regular basis, and I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t figure out how to prevent those troublesome laundry clumps from happening! It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I finally corrected my mistake by discovering the wonders of dryer balls.

In today’s post, I wanted to share a bit more about why relying on dryer sheets alone ended up being my biggest dryer mistake, and why dryer balls ended up being the fix I didn’t even know I needed. And if you’ve been having dryer woes of your own, this post will tell you exactly how dryer balls can help solve them!

5 Of The Best Reasons To Use Dryer Balls In Your Dryer

dryer balls

1. They’re More Cost Effective Than Dryer Sheets

Dryer balls are a “one and done” purchase, as opposed to dryer sheets that you have to buy again and again over time. But after you buy a set of dryer balls, you can reuse them for years, making them a much more cost effective option in the long run!

dryer balls

2. They Don’t Contribute To Residue Buildup

Dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners work by coating fabrics in a thin layer of chemical softeners. These chemicals have a tendency to repel water, making it difficult for your washer to get your laundry completely clean.

Over time, fabric softener residue can have a waterproofing effect on certain fabrics, or even lead to issues with mildew or mold. Residue buildup is especially problematic for towels and athletic clothing, which is why their care tags often specifically warn against the use of fabric softeners.

But residue isn’t just an issue for fabrics—it can also be a factor in dryer fires. The residue from fabric softener sheets can create buildup on your dryer’s lint screen, impeding airflow and potentially posing a fire hazard.

Dryer balls represent a simple solution to the problems posed by residue buildup, because they don’t leave behind any residues at all! (And for more tips on maintaining the cleanliness and safety of your dryer, check out this post.)

dryer balls

3. They’re Reusable

I’m always looking for ways to cut back on the amount of single-use items I use at home. And even if you’re making the most of your dryer sheets by using them twice or cutting them in half, you still have to throw them out eventually!

But you can use dryer balls an almost infinite number of times, and it’s an easy way to cut back on waste (with no cutting required!)

dryer balls

4. They Save Energy

Using dryer balls can actually help your laundry dry faster than it would otherwise, because they help separate the layers of fabric and improve airflow as they tumble around your dryer. It may not be something you notice at first, but those faster drying times will reduce your energy costs over time!

Reduced drying times also means you’ll put less wear and tear on your dryer, potentially extending its lifespan and helping you get the most out of your investment.

DIY Fabric Softener Crystals - putting essential oil on a dryer ball

5. They’re Free Of Chemicals And Irritants

A set of 100% wool dryer balls doesn’t contain any complicated ingredients or anything that could potentially irritate sensitive skin. But if you miss the fragrance element of traditional dryer sheets of fabric softeners, you don’t have to give it up completely!

I like to add a few drops of Freshly Washed (a fresh and sunny blend of essential oils that’s ideal for laundry applications) to each of my dryer balls before I put them in with my damp laundry. I much prefer the light and natural fragrance from this method to the overwhelming scent that many fabric softeners leave behind!

dryer balls

Soak Your Dryer Balls To Reduce Static

  • The chemical softeners in dryer sheets that coat fabrics don’t just make them feel softer—they also help prevent static from forming. Because of this, some people some people may notice an increase in static buildup in their dryer after making the switch from dryer sheets.
  • Personally, I have not noticed more static since I started using dryer balls in my own dryer. But with that said, I do have a suggestion that will help those of you who are experiencing more static!
  • Before putting your dryer balls into your dryer with a load of damp laundry, soak a few of the balls under running water while squeezing them lightly to ensure they’re fully saturated (but not dripping wet.)
  • Once you get them in the dryer, the water will start to evaporate, keeping your dryer more humid and helping to prevent static buildup.
  • Saturating the wool thoroughly will help ensure that the effect lasts throughout the entire drying cycle.
Wool dryer balls are part of my laundry essentials.

Looking to revamp your laundry routine? Check out the Laundry Kit in my online shop, which includes an eBook that features all of my very favorite DIY laundry recipes.

What’s the best change you’ve made to your laundry routine?

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Homekeeping Tips

  • Been using dryer balls for several years but I still use liquid fabric softener in some loads. I really can’t notice that much softening from the dryer balls alone. Do they shorten drying time? Since I’ve not actually tested that I don’t know.

  • I have found that when my dryer balls start having static it is because they need to be recharged. I was hoping that this article would talk about that. I love using the wool dryer balls. I am going to try saturating them with water and see if that does the trick.

  • The article says to wet the dryers balls before putting them in the dryer. Would you add the essential oils before or after wearing the balls? Thank you!

  • OMGosh, I was wondering what could be done to get rid of the awful static and never would have thought to soak them in water. Thank you! And please tell me where you found colored dryer balls? I have only seen white ones.

  • Hello Folks, I love dryer balls and have six hard plastic dryer balls in my dryer, they work well but over time, ten years, they tend to soften at which time I purchase some new dryer balls. I have very sensitive skin and fabric softener can aggravate my skin, hence the dryer balls.

  • I use Dropps laundry detergent and love it. But their ‘fabric softener’ (doesn’t really soften) smells great, but is VERY heavily perfumed. I’ve used their different scents, and all too strong. My next thing to try was making Jillee’s fabric softener. I’ve thought about using dryer balls, and adding essential oils, but wouldn’t there be a problem with the oils occasionally staining the clothes? Thanks in advance!
    p.s…love your blog, Jillee!

    • I, too, would wonder if the essential oils would not just stain the clothes, but, also, be so heavily perfumed that they would irritate sensitive skin. I have what is called Chronic, Idiopathic Urticaria, which means hives that come and go for no apparently reason that dermatologists can figure out.

  • Based on an article on your blog years ago, I began making my own laundry powder.
    Then, a couple years later, started using dryer balls. On both counts, I have never looked back and have encouraged others to do the same. Saved so much $$ it is crazy. Thank you Jillee for sticking with your ‘mission’ and helping folks to find better ways to live in this life.

  • Great idea. This the first time I’ve heard of dryer balls. I had to quit using dryer sheets or use the unscented due to allergies. What I’ve done if I have a load that takes longer to dry .- I’ve just put a towel in the dryer to help soak up some the excess moisture. Some fabrics just take longer to dry.

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