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Do Dryer Balls Really Work? Everything You Need to Know About Wool Dryer Balls

Wool Dryer Balls and Laundry Detergent
Written By
Parachute Team
Photographs By
Nicole LaMotte for Parachute
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Dryer balls aren’t exactly a new product on the market, but there’s a reason they’ve become increasingly popular — they work. We know that doing laundry isn’t fun. Putting on a fresh duvet cover or folding a fitted sheet after a drying cycle isn't everyone's favorite way to spend time — but there’s no way around it.

Crawling into a freshly made bed at the end of a long day is one of life’s coziest pleasures. To make the most of washing your bedding — and give you back some time — let us recommend using Wool Dryer Balls. For those of you wondering what dryer balls do, they decrease drying time, reduce static and make your fabrics softer.

We asked Parachute’s Chief Creative Officer, Amy Hoban, for the 411 on dryer balls. Do dryer balls really work? This complete guide will tell you everything you need to know, including all the many benefits of dryer balls.

What Are Wool Dryer Balls?

A dryer ball is a ball — typically made of compressed wool or plastic (in our case wool) — that you can throw into your dryer to help reduce static, add softness and speed up the drying cycle of your load of laundry. Think of it as an alternative to the standard dryer sheet but with added benefits, especially if you’re washing larger types of bedding that have high dry times. Our Wool Dryer Balls are made from 100% New Zealand Wool, shaped like a tennis ball, and specifically designed to get in between pieces of laundry to create better air circulation (and, therefore, faster drying).

“Using a Wool Dryer Ball can decrease drying time by up to 50%. That’s a lot of time and energy saved — good for you and the environment,” Amy says.

Dryer Balls vs Dryer Sheets: Which is Better?

You might be used to using a regular dryer sheet, but dryer balls have a lot of added benefits — especially for people with sensitive skin or those looking to reduce their environmental impact. According to Amy, “Dryer sheets tend to be full of chemicals, fragrances and synthetics, which can potentially be absorbed into the skin. We recommend wool dryer balls instead, as a natural alternative.” So, what chemicals are in dryer sheets that you might not want against your skin? 

Most dryer sheets are made from a synthetic microfiber-like polyester, whereas dryer balls can be crafted from natural or organic materials like wool or rubber. That doesn’t just help the planet — it helps your skin. According to Scientific American, both fabric softeners and dryer sheets can contain known carcinogens like limonene and chloroform.

Dryer balls are also more eco-friendly because they help reduce drying times, saving on water and power usage. They last longer too, so they cut down on the waste of single-use dryer sheets. Best yet, once a natural wool dryer ball reaches the end of its lifespan, it takes much less time to decompose than a polyester dryer sheet, Our Wool Dryer Balls are chemical-free and hypoallergenic, making them a safe option in your dryer unit.

What are the Benefits of Wool Dryer Balls?

You may be wondering: do dryer balls really work? In truth, the benefits of dryer balls are outstanding. They’re a little, inexpensive addition to your laundry cycle that goes a long way. They cut down on dry time, save some money on washes and even get rid of clingy pet hair that just won't budge. “Wool dryer balls can soften linens, reduce static cling, increase fluff and eliminate wrinkles,” Amy says. Pretty powerful stuff. But how does it all work?

Wool dryer balls are very absorbent. They reduce static because they absorb humidity at the start of the drying cycle, then release it at the end. Over-drying clothes and bedding breeds static electricity, and humidity is the key to eliminating it. According to Amy, the biggest benefits of Wool Dryer Balls include:

  • Reduce drying time

  • Saves energy

  • Made from eco-friendly New Zealand Wool

  • Safe for your skin

  • Free of harmful chemicals and toxins

  • Reduce static electricity and any build up in the dryer

  • Can be reused in the dryer – up to 1,000 times

  • Much healthier for the environment

  • Removes pet hair from laundry (Wool Dryer Balls repel pet hair, sending it straight to the lint trap)

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls?

Using Wool Dryer Balls is incredibly simple! Load your dryer with wet clothes and add in two to three dryer balls before starting the machine. Sit back and enjoy watching your clothes or bedding dance in the dryer! 

Keep an eye on the cycle as drying times might be shorter due to your new Wool Dryer Balls. We always recommend removing sheets before they are completely dry as it helps to reduce wrinkles once placed on the bed.

How to Make Your Own Essential Oil Dryer Balls

The fragrances in dryer sheets and fabric softeners contain known irritants for people with sensitive skin or asthma. Essential oil dryer balls are a great way to save your skin and breathe easy while still enjoying the fresh smell of clean laundry. It’s easy to customize dryer balls with your favorite scents by using this non-toxic alternative.

“Even if you don’t have an oil diffuser, our Essential Oil Sets work great when used with Wool Dryer Balls,” Amy says. Just add three to four drops of essential oils to the dryer ball before throwing it in the machine. To avoid accidentally staining your clothing, make sure the oil soaks all the way into the wool before combining it with your load. You can even play around with aromatherapy, using lavender oil for a calming effect, jasmine oil to help ease anxiety or peppermint oil to help energize you in the morning. Between our Natural Laundry Detergent that has hints of lavender and the essential oils, your laundry will smell and look better than ever!

How Long Do Dryer Balls Last?

Part of the reason dryer balls are so eco-friendly is that they’re reusable. They last for up to 1,000 washes, which works out to almost 10 years if you do your laundry twice a week. Dryer sheets, on the other hand, are a single-use product. If you buy a typical 240 count box, you’ll need to buy about four boxes to get the same use as a single dryer ball. That adds up. Over all, dryer balls save you money — not to mention that the dryer sheets and their packaging all end up in landfills.

How to Refresh Dryer Balls

You might be thinking about throwing your dryer balls in the wash to refresh them, but can you wash dryer balls? The answer is a resounding yes. Washing is the perfect way to give an aging dryer ball a reboot. Simply throw your Wool Dryer Balls into the wash on the gentle cycle with hot water, then dry on high heat. 

Wool vs. Plastic Dryer Balls: Which is Better

Deciding between wool and plastic dryer balls is a matter of personal preference. Overall, plastic dryer balls are not as environmentally friendly, though some vegans do prefer them as a way to avoid using animal products. They also tend to let you clean your lint trap a bit less frequently. 

Surprisingly, wool is actually more durable than plastic and can be used with essential oils. That can save you from the need to add a scented fabric softener to get that comforting, fresh laundry scent. Since wool dryer balls are generally heavier than plastic, they do a better job at breaking up your laundry and shortening dry times.

Dryer Balls Work Great With These Types of Bedding

You can use dryer balls on any type of bedding that can go into the dryer — but they work particularly well with heavier-duty items that seemingly take forever to dry. While our Percale Duvet Cover Set is one of our favorites, no one wants to wait for hours to fluff a bulky duvet cover to make sure it dries evenly inside a small, consumer-sized machine. Our Wool Dryer Balls will help speed the process. 

Beyond that, we here at Parachute love linen, but it’s notoriously prone to wrinkles. Using a dryer ball when washing one of our Linen Duvet Covers or Linen Fitted Sheets will help preserve the fabric and foster a wrinkle-free wash. Remember, over-drying tends to decrease the lifespan of your bedding and make it wrinkly, but dryer balls help prevent that by shortening dry times and adding a tiny bit of moisture back into your ultra-dry load.

Regardless of what you use them on, the best dryer balls will change the way you view laundry day. You can test our Wool Dryer Balls for yourself, either by checking them out online or in a Parachute store near you.

For more laundry room and home tips, read on:

Laundry Room Accessories 101: Home Essentials for Clean Living

How to Wash, Dry, and Care for Bed Sheets

How to Wash, Dry, and Care for Baby Bedding and Towels

How to Wash, Dry, and Care for Silk Pillowcases

How to Wash, Dry, and Care for Bath Towels

Household Chore Checklist: Daily, Weekly, Monthly Chores for Your House

Eco-Friendly Home Essentials: Necessities for a Sustainable Household

How to Donate and Recycle Blankets, Towels, and Sheets

How to Recycle & Reuse Candle Jars & Candle Wax

How to Best Use Linen Spray for Your Room, Bedding, and Laundry

What is Organic Cotton?

DIY Natural Room & Laundry Spray