Why You Should Put Tennis Balls in Your Dryer

This is a laundry hack everyone should know.

Over the years, we've learned lots of unusual cleaning tips—like why you should put a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher or how to clean rugs with a shower squeegee—but some of our all-time favorites are unconventional laundry hacks. Considering how time-consuming and labor-intensive the laundry can be (especially if you have kids, or have to lug a basket up and down the stairs), we're always looking for ways to make it faster and easier. One of the tried-and-true tricks Real Simple editors have been using for years is to add a few tennis balls to your dryer—here's why it works.

Fluff Up Comforters and Pillows

When you're washing anything down-filled, such as a comforter or bed pillows, adding a few new, clean tennis balls to the dryer will help fluff them up. If you've ever pulled a freshly-washed pillow out of the dryer to find it's become lumpy and misshapen, the tennis ball trick can prevent that.

Reduce Wrinkles and Static

If you hate ironing, here's some good news: Adding tennis balls to the dryer will keep sheets, jeans, and t-shirts circulating so there's never a chance for wrinkles to set in. Just be sure to remove the linens and clothing as soon as the cycle is done since wrinkles will develop as the fabric cools down. Bonus: The tennis balls will also reduce static in the dryer, so your newly-cleaned shirt won't be so clingy.

Speed Up Drying Times

The only thing we love more than a cleaning hack is a time-saving cleaning hack. Besides reducing wrinkles and fluffing towels, a few tennis balls can help speed up drying time, so your laundry will be done faster.

Dryer Balls Are the New Tennis Balls

While we've been using the tennis ball trick for years, recently more and more companies are making wool dryer balls ($17 for 6, amazon.com) that serve the same purpose. They soften the wash and shorten drying time without added chemicals, making them an eco- and allergy-friendly alternative to traditional dryer sheets.

And if you're afraid you'll miss the familiar smell of dryer sheets, consider adding a few drops of essential oils to wool dryer balls to give your bed linens a soothing scent. Whether you reach for the tennis balls you already have lying around or order a pack of wool dryer balls, this is one laundry tip you're going to want to try ASAP.

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