How to Use Wool Dryer Balls | Laundry 101 - Public Goods

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How to Use Wool Dryer Balls | Laundry 101

What’s fluffier than a freshly sheared sheep’s wool? Answer: your clothes after you take them out of a spin with wool dryer balls.

two wool dryer balls, leaf, basket

You may not have heard about these fluffy dryer balls, but they will forever change your laundry room experience for the better.

There are different types of “balls” that can be used when drying your clothes, the most popular being made of wool. You can also find plastic and rubber dryer balls, but as you’ll soon find out, the wool ball is superior in nearly every way.

After finding out what these soft and sweetly scented dryer balls have to offer, you’ll surely want a box of rounded wool balls stashed next to your laundry detergent and liquid fabric softener. Here’s everything you need to know about wool dryer balls, including how to use them and what the benefits are.

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What Are Wool Dryer Balls and How Do They Work?

two wool dryer balls in sack

Wool dryer balls are a fantastic all-natural way to soften your clothes, eliminate static and reduce energy usage by drying your clothes faster. It may look like a stripped-down tennis ball, but these wool balls are made for your dryer, not the tennis court.

Made of 100% wool yarn, these wool balls are becoming increasingly popular with parents who’ve taken up using cloth diapers over disposable diapers. They’re a great addition to your family’s eco-friendly weekly chores.

Wool dryer balls work by bouncing their way in between wet layers of clothing that would otherwise stick together. The separation of the layers of clothes allows warm air to dry your clothes more quickly.

These wool dryer balls also absorb some of the moisture, adding a second layer of drying to the mix. The inherent bounciness of these dryer balls also make your clothes static-free after taking a tumble in the dryer, making the ensuing folding process a breeze.

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls

wool dryer balls in dryer with clothes

Upon opening your box of wool dryer balls, you may be tempted to start bouncing or juggling them. But don’t fret, the process of using these dryer balls is surprisingly easy.

Simply open up your dryer, put in your wet clothes, throw three or four extra-large dryer balls into your laundry and turn on your dryer. Then, sit back and let these magical balls of wool turn your dryer into a more efficient machine.

Now, you may want to keep an eye on your dryer the first few times you include wool dryer balls. As we mentioned above, these dryer balls reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your laundry. You’ll probably need to reduce your dry time to prevent your clothes from over-drying, which could cause them to wear out faster. If you don’t have a dryer that senses how dry your clothes are and automatically turns off, make sure you pull your laundry out before it gets too dry.

When To Replace Wool Dryer Balls

wool dryer balls close up

Most wool dryer balls last up to 1,000 loads, which may seem like an eternity depending on how often you’re doing laundry. You’ll know when to replace your dryer balls when they start looking scraggly. Pieces of wool will start to tear off. Wool yarn fibers may even begin to appear on your dry clothing, looking a bit like pet hair.

The Benefits of Using Wool Dryer Balls

four wool dryer balls, basket, sack

Once you learn the benefits of these soft dryer balls, it’ll be hard to go back to using dryer sheets. Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits:

  • Cost-effective compared to dryer sheets
  • Reduce energy used by helping clothes dry 20-30% faster
  • Made of naturally sourced, non-toxic materials, unlike plastic dryer balls
  • Can be reused up to 1,000 loads of laundry
  • Reduce static electricity build-up in the dryer
  • Can be used with a drop of essential oil to add all-natural fragrance
  • Once used up, they can be composted at home or in municipal facilities
  • Often comes in a cotton bag that can also be reused and composted (plus it’s much prettier than those boxes dryer sheets come in)


The cost-efficiency of wool dryer balls comes two-fold. First, you don’t need to keep buying them as you do with dryer sheets. One dryer ball can be reused up to 1,000 loads of laundry and cost about $6.50 for four.

A typical box of dryer sheets will last about 200 loads and cost about $10. That’s $50 for dryer sheets when you could be spending $6.50 on wool dryer balls.

Furthermore, you won’t need to dry your clothes for nearly as long. Throwing a dryer ball into your laundry will help your clothes dry 20-30% faster.

Let’s say your typical dryer load takes approximately 60 minutes to finish. Conservatively, your laundry will be finished drying in 45 minutes with wool dryer balls. Over the course of 1,000 loads of laundry, you’ll have reduced drying time by 15,000 minutes, or 250 hours.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

wool dryer ball, leaves, wood, nature

We hope the image above showed you just how much energy you could be saving by switching to wool dryer balls. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

Disposable products such as dryer sheets and plastic dryer balls are a major contributor to ocean waste. Wool dryer balls are natural and compostable.

If you prefer composting at home, your garden will love the water retention abilities of wool. Lastly, you can pat yourself on the back for ending your contribution to the devastating problem of pollution.

Protecting Your Health

three wool dryer balls, close up, clothing

Wool dryer balls are a sustainable alternative to wasteful dryer sheets that are often covered in harmful chemicals like benzyl acetate (linked to respiratory irritation), and even chloroform (a neurotoxin and known carcinogen). Sure, synthetic fragrances may smell nice, but they can also cause unwanted health problems.

“But I’m not rubbing dryer sheets on my body!” you may protest. Well, those chemicals can still get absorbed into your clothes, which touch every part of your body. Let’s face it, it’s probably best to avoid harsh chemicals in your home goods — let alone on your clothing.

Adding Essential Oils

wool dryer ball, lavender essential oil, drop

If you’re looking for an alternative to those fresh-smelling dryer sheets, you can add a drop of essential oils onto your balls of wool.

However, we must caution that adding too many drops of essential oil onto the balls could cause a dryer fire.

We recommend that you wait until your load of laundry is completely dry before adding essential oils. Once dry, you can add a drop or two and run the load again on a no-heat setting. This method will quickly freshen your clothes and keep them wrinkle-free.

Have A Ball

three wool dryer balls stacked

There’s really no downside to switching to wool dry balls. Their benefits are tenfold. You’ll enjoy a little extra cushion in your budget as you reduce your carbon footprint.

Wool dryer balls and intuitive to use and pose no health risks, unlike dryer sheets and plastic dryer balls. Don’t do another load of laundry without throwing some wool into the mix.

Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.

From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.

Comments (1)

  • I would love to be on your mailing list.

    Do dryer balls work on the air fluff cycle? I do most of my laundry on airfluff.

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