Is this the secret to the softest laundry ever?

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated December 05, 2017
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Food52 / James Ransom, Mark Weinberg, Rocky Luten and Bobbi Lin

When something as unassuming as a dryer ball becomes a best-seller, we can’t help but take notice. Case in point: these wool dryer balls from Food52, which the company appropriately calls a “sleeper hit,” because they sold out on the very same day they launched more than two years ago. Created by Brooke Petry of the Philadelphia-based company Bog Berry, these wool dryer balls are meant to soften laundry and reduce wrinkles, similar to a standard dryer sheet, but without all of the harsh chemicals and irritating perfumes.

Each ball is created by hand using a felting tool, so it’s strong and won’t fall apart in the wash. Unlike a typical single-use dryer sheet, these balls can be reused forever, making them a more eco-friendly option in more ways than one. Petry says that after several years of use, they won’t stay perfectly round, but they’ll still work just as well. They’re also unscented, so they’re safe for those with sensitive skin, who tend to break out every time they try a new perfume or detergent. And for those who miss that familiar dryer sheet scent, Petry suggests adding just a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender.

So how does a dryer ball work, you ask? Just toss the set of all six balls along with each load of laundry in the dryer, and they’ll keep your clothes and towels soft, all while knocking out wrinkles, reducing static, and shortening the total drying time. In between loads of laundry, they double as pet toys and stress-relief balls, so feel free to leave one in your home office.

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While $38 sounds like a lot to spend on a dryer ball (something you didn’t even know you needed five minutes ago), they last for years, and if you consider how many times you would probably buy a $7 box of dryer sheets over five years, they’re likely worth the initial investment. With these in your laundry room, your least favorite chore just got a little more luxurious.