All the other green, crunchy people have been telling me lately that I need to get some balls.
You know, to help with the laundry.
So when Brooke from Bogberry wool laundry balls was looking for bloggers to try out her wool dryer balls, I said sure!
What are wool dryer balls?
Balls of felted wool. You know how you don’t want to wash your wool sweaters in hot water or they will shrink up forever and become matted? Well, wool dryer balls have been shrunken and matted on purpose so they keep their lovely round shape. The better to pound your clothing in the dryer, my dear. You just pop them into the dryer with your wet clothes and they soften the clothing naturally, by pounding the heck out of them. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the balls to provide a pleasant scent to your dried clothing without the toxic chemicals.
What do they do?
They are a great alternative to fabric softener. Liquid or sheet fabric softener chemicals are a fun combination of phthalates and other toxic chemicals that coat the fibers of our clothing so that we can then absorb directly into our skin throughout the day. Hooray! Except, not really. I stopped using fabric softener about 5 years ago and haven’t missed it at all. So really, I didn’t need the wool dryer balls for fabric softening purposes.
Remove static cling. If you live in a really dry climate (I don’t), the balls should reduce your static in the dryer. I wasn’t able to test this because it is humid as heck here in Texas despite the drought.
Shorten drying time. I was primarily interested for this reason, because we have a weird dryer setup. Our washer and dryer are in the garage in the middle of the room, not near an outside wall. Which means that the dryer vent hose snakes out and around, turns corners twice, and goes on for about 10 feet before venting outside. I’ve found, since moving into this house about a year and a half ago, that this setup has increased the drying time of everything.
What do you think?
I have to admit, I haven’t added essential oils to the balls yet, so I don’t know how that works with scenting the clothing. Honestly, it doesn’t occur to me to scent my clothing so I keep forgetting. I am also not sure how my husband would feel about his clothes smelling like ylang ylang and lavender.
When I got my first batch of dryer balls, I had 6. I promptly lost one somewhere. With 5 dryer balls, I definitely noticed softer clothing but not much difference in drying time for my cloth diapers. I still had to run two dry cycles. I emailed Brooke about this, and she gave me some very valuable advice that I just had to pass on to anyone else trying wool dryer balls:
The general rule is, the heavier the load of laundry ( diapers, towels, jeans, sweats etc) the more dryer balls you need to see a significant decrease in drying time. 6 will still do all of the regular dryer balls jobs…helping to soften clothes, helping things dry more evenly, helping to decrease static etc., but if someone’s main goal for using them was to decrease drying time, they’d need to be using a much higher number of balls…to see a few minutes shaved off of the drying time of diapers, you’d need considerably more. We cloth diapered and have a horrid, ancient dryer. With 10 extra large balls, we got our diapers down to once through the dryer. They last indefinitely, so once you’ve got that magic number that works with the loads of laundry you’re doing and the dryer that you have — you’re good to go!
I increased the number of dryer balls to 11 total and was finally able to see a difference in drying time for my cloth diapers. Unfortunately, my ridiculous vent situation is still working against me. I tested the dryer balls again by drying 3 heavy floor mats, disconnecting the dryer vent and using 11 balls. It only took about 1 1/2 cycles to dry the load! In the past I’d had to run as many as 3 drying cycles for those same mats, and even then had to air dry to finish. Success!
Where can I get some balls?
I got mine from Bogberry Handicraft Etsy store. She has some beautiful, bright colors and some more classic neutrals. I have both shades and they are all great. Tip: it’s a bit easier to find the brighter balls in your laundry if you wear a lot of boring colors like we do. All wool dryer balls are handmade, and this is great because you are supporting a skilled individual who is putting time and effort into these balls. I say, give them a try!