Is It Better to Use Dryer Balls or Dryer Sheets? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
You’ll finally know why everyone’s using wool dryer balls.
While doing laundry might be at the bottom of your favorite things to do on a weekend, there are certainly a few laundry hacks and laundry products that help make the household chore a little more bearable.
To be honest, I never truly believed that dryer balls—often made of wool—could actually cut down on drying time and help elongate the life of your clothes, but I’m officially a convert. Not only did my recent loads of laundry have zero static after using my new favorite dryer balls, but I spoke with Branch Basics co-founder Kelly Love (who happens to know a lot about natural laundry practices) about how dryer balls really work and why you should use them instead of dryer sheets.
What’s the difference between dryer balls and dryer sheets?
If you’re unsure how dryer balls can really be effective, Love suggests giving them a try because they are great for reducing lint and static, and will even grab pet hair.
"Dryer balls separate clothes better than dryer sheets, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, which then reduces drying time,” she says. “Because the wool from the dryer balls is so absorbent, dryer balls can reduce drying time by 10 to 25 percent. Ultimately, over-drying can damage clothes as well as increase static. You can also use lower temperature settings with dryer balls, which also helps reduce damage to clothes."
How can I tell if dryer balls are actually working my clothes?
"The primary way is by shorter drying time. If your clothes take less time to get dry in a dryer cycle, you know they’re working,” Love says. “They should also help minimize static and wrinkles. It’s worth noting that synthetic clothing like workout clothes can create a lot of static so I recommended hang drying to get the most static-reducing benefits."
If you’ve been using dryer balls for a while, you should remember that they typically last up to 1,000 loads of laundry or about two to three years. Since I just started using wool dryer balls regularly, one of my favorite tips that Love shared is sticking safety pins through each ball (you should be using three per load) to help discharge and static. She also suggested if you like a little extra fresh scent, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil before using them on a no-heat tumble dry setting.
If you’ve tried all the cult-favorite laundry products including everything from this best-selling fabric defuzzer to this portable clothes steamer, now’s the time to bite the bullet and finally hop on the dryer ball bandwagon, too. Below you’ll find the five top-selling dryer balls to try, because who said you had to keep using the same boring laundry products?
One of the best-selling sets of dryer balls on Amazon (they’ve been rated a whopping 16,000 times), these are handmade in Nepal with 100 percent New Zealand wool. Even though your dryer balls may experience pilling, they are guaranteed to continue softening your clothes without the added toxic chemicals of dryer sheets.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
Eco-friendly and made in the U.S., these dryer balls are completely pesticide-free, chemical-free, and will never leave a residue on your clothing like a dryer sheet or fabric softener might.
To buy: $19; branchbasics.com.
With more than 1,600 five-star reviews, this set of six organic wool dryer balls is a customer favorite because reviewers claim they last a lot longer than 1,000 loads, and they also come in other fun colors, including grey, pink, and purple.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.