Homekeeping, Laundry

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls

When I heard about using wool dryer balls as a replacement for fabric softener, my ears perked up. I had stopped using fabric softener and dryer sheets a long time ago, once I learned that they can be skin irritants, and I hadn’t missed them at all. But wool dryer balls do much more than soften laundry, so I knew I had to give them a try. And now I’m hooked!

Why Switch to Wool Dryer Balls?

Because they have so many benefits! For example, wool dryer balls:

  • soften clothing without any of the toxic chemicals found in traditional products
  • help laundry dry faster (saving you money)
  • keep clothing from bunching together and wrinkling in the dryer
  • can be used to cut down on static cling
  • last for years (saving you even more money)

If you’ve been using traditional fabric softener, you might be wondering how to transition to wool dryer balls, so I thought I’d answer some questions you may have and share some tips with you today.

1. Which Wool Dryer Balls Should I Buy?

I have these Handy Laundry Dryer Balls, which I bought on Amazon. They come in a pack of 6 and I’ve been very happy with them. Just make sure that you choose dryer balls made from 100% wool. Or you can trying making your own wool dryer balls using yarn or an old sweater, as shown in this tutorial for diy wool dryer balls.

2. How Many Wool Dryer Balls Should I Use?

This depends on the size of your load and the size of the dryer balls you’re using. Again, I have the Handy Laundry Dryer Balls and I use 2 for small loads, 3-4 for mediums loads, and 5-6 for large loads.

3. Where Should I Put the Wool Dryer Balls When I’m Adding Them to My Laundry?

It’s best to spread the dryer balls throughout the laundry rather than just throwing them in at the bottom or top of the load. I try to layer laundry, then dryer balls, then more laundry, and if I have a larger load, I just add more layers. This way the dryer balls are in there where they can really help to separate and soften the clothing and they’ll be less noisy.

4. How Long Do Wool Dryer Balls Last?

Usually about 2-4 years or 1,000 loads. (!!!) In other words, you’ll be re-purchasing them a lot less often than you need to re-purchase conventional fabric softeners. Since the dryer balls cost only a little more than one bottle or box of fabric softener, that adds up to huge savings. (Especially since they’ll also cut your drying time.)

5. How Can I Avoid Static Cling?

I haven’t had trouble with this, but if you’re used to using traditional products it’s possible you’ll notice more static cling when you make the switch to wool dryer balls. A few simple tips can help if this happens:

  • First, avoid over-drying your clothing. Remember, your laundry will dry faster now that you’re using the wool dryer balls, so try setting your dryer for a shorter amount of time and see if this helps.
  • Another tip is to dampen the dryer balls before putting them in with your clothing. This might seem strange (it did to me at first) but the idea is that the laundry will dry faster than the wet dryer balls and the humidity they give off will offset the static problem.
  • You can also add a wad of aluminum foil to the dryer or put a safety pin on one of the dryer balls; the metal will help diffuse the static electricity.

6. What About Adding Essential Oils?

{Before you try this, please check out this article which describes how adding essential oils to laundry may cause a fire hazard. Based on this information, I’m going to be cautious about using them in the future!}

It’s very popular to add essential oils to wool dryer balls to add some subtle fragrance to your laundry. Apparently there is a right and wrong way to do this, which I did not realize until recently. I would just add a few drops and throw the dryer balls right in. However, the correct method is to add 2-3 drops of oil to your dryer balls and then allow them to dry for at least an hour before using them. This prevents the oil from transferring to your laundry and leaving grease spots. (I never had any problems with this but I’ve heard that other people have.) The scent usually lasts for at least 2-4 loads before needing to be reapplied.

Choose oils that are safe for topical use since they may transfer from your clothing or sheets to your skin. This means choosing both a safe variety and a safe grade. I usually use a therapeutic grade lavender oil on my dryer balls when I want to scent my laundry. Some other popular suggestions are lemon, orange, lemongrass, rosemary, and grapefruit essential oils.

I hope these tips encourage you to make the switch to wool dryer balls! It’s a great way to save money, avoid adding toxic chemicals to your laundry, and be more eco-friendly.

If you have any more questions, feel free to share them below. And I’d love to hear about your experiences with using wool dryer balls or any tips you have for someone making the switch!

Happy Ever After! xo Sarah

 

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2 thoughts on “How to Use Wool Dryer Balls”

  1. Thanks! That was really helpful. We use dryer balls but I just through them in at the bottom and we have issues with static cling. I am going to try layering them in with the clothes and putting a safety pin on them like you suggest.

    1. I definitely notice a difference when I layer them and wish I would have known about it sooner. And I’d love to hear if the safety pin tip helps–it’s hard for me to test because I don’t notice a lot of static in our laundry even without it lol.

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