How to Use Dryer Balls

Kathy Adams

Add dryer balls to the dryer to help cut down on drying time, whether drying clothes, bed linens or cloth diapers. Dryer balls do not add chemicals to laundry.

No matter what they're made of, dryer balls help keep items from clumping together as the items dry, preventing uneven loads and potentially cutting down on drying time. Add the balls to the dryer when drying fluffy or bulky items such as comforters, blankets and towels.

Dryer Ball Basics

Dryer balls vary from brand to brand; some are made of a firm rubber or plastic-like material with knobs over the surface, resembling dog toys. Others are similar to tennis balls, while yet others are made of felted wool. The wool versions are completely natural and are much softer than plastic and rubber balls. Wool balls also make less noise in the dryer than the harder, firmer styles of dryer balls.

Using Dryer Balls

Add two or three dryer balls to every load of wet laundry placed in the dryer if you are using hard plastic or rubber balls. If you are using wool balls, more can be used without creating excessive noise in the dryer. The balls, regardless of composition, help separate the laundry items from one another so the hot air in the dryer reaches all areas of the fabric, cutting down on drying time. Depending on the type of dryer ball, how full the dryer is and the types of fabrics being dried, the total drying time may be reduced by up to 40 percent.

Dryer Balls Versus Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets cut down on static cling and add softness and fragrance to laundry as it dries. Dryer sheets coat the laundry with chemicals that make the fabric feel softer, but some of the chemicals may be toxic or cause reactions to those with sensitivities. Neither wool nor rubber or plastic dryer balls add chemicals to the laundry; they simply separate the fabrics from one another, preventing clumps. Dryer balls can be used many times, while dryer sheets typically are good for one load.

Wool Ball Benefits

Wool dryer balls offer a more eco-friendly option than plastic or rubber, since wool is natural. Some plastic or rubber may emit chemical smells when dried at high temperatures. Wool balls also absorb some of the moisture from the wet laundry, potentially reducing the drying time even more than a similar volume of rubber or plastic dryer balls. A few drops of your favorite essential oils may be added to wool dryer balls if you wish to add a slight fragrance to the dried laundry.