Product Design

The All-Natural Alternative to Dryer Sheets That's Worth The Hype

August  9, 2016

Using a tool that looks like a many-pronged hair pick, Brooke Petry rolls and sculpts a handful of washed wool until it's a little bit smaller than a baseball. And then she makes another, and another, and another, and so on. The process, called felting, knots the wool fibers together and makes the balls strong.

If you hang around our Shop, you might know what's happening here. Brooke is making a set of dryer balls, our much-beloved, all-natural alternative to dryer sheets that have become a favorite amongst our readers, shoppers, and staff. Here's what they are and why we love them so, and why you might, too.

They reduce drying time, release wrinkles, and abate static.

As they bounce around in your drying laundry, wool dryer balls sneak into the folds to aerate and fluff, keeping your wet shirts from being pinned together in one dense, soggy clump. Not only does this quicken the whole drying process, but it also smooths out wrinkles and reduces static along the way.

They're won't leave any chemical residue on your clothes (or you).

Unlike dryer sheets, which smell so good because they contain waxy chemicals that will rub off on your clothes—and, therefore, you—Brooke's dryer balls are composed of 100% wool. The fabric softener from dryer sheets might feel soft, but Brooke says it can actually render towels and cloths less absorbent. Not so with wool dryer balls, which won't leave anything on your laundry at all.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I am very impressed with my dryer balls. At first, there was a lot of static left on the clothes and towels. However, the more I used them the better they worked. Now, I am a big fan and cannot imagine using dryerror sheets again! I would like some more information about the essential oils people use. I do miss the scent dryer sheets give off. Thanks for another great product! ”
— Kim
Comment

And if you miss the scent of dryer sheets, Brooke suggests adding a few drops of essential oils to your dryer balls before tossing them in.

100% wool, felted into a tightly-wound ball (yes, we cut one open for this photo). Photo by Mark Weinberg

They last and last and last and last.

The felting process makes dryer balls them sturdy; they aren't ever going to unravel on you or quit doing the job you hired them for. After about a year of use, wool dryer balls won't be as perfectly round as when you first got them—but they will still work! (Brooke's been using one set for five years!)

Dryer sheets, on the other hand, can only retire to a landfill after you've used them (and you have to keep buying them when you run out!).

They are exceedingly cute.

The laundry room isn't where you typically expect pretty, happy things to pop up—which is why we think there's all the more reason to beautify it. A bowl full of dryer balls (especially if you opt for a colorful set) is a happy addition—and they make a great gift.

Editor's Note: This article previously stated that Brooke's dryer balls are baseball-sized and will eliminate state; it's been updated to reflect that they're actually just smaller than a baseball and reduce static.

Do you use dryer balls? Tell us why you love them in the comments.

9 Comments

Linda S. August 15, 2016
They are amazing the way they eliminate static!! Not to mention they speed up the drying time. My puppies love them as well.
 
Natalie August 14, 2016
Love my set! Their bag hangs just above the dryer on a cabinet knob so they're always within reach. Because of the residue issue we'd never been big dryer sheet users (I think the box in the cabinet has been there 20 years?!?) and they're certainly more helpful in "fluffing" something filled with down (for example) than a dryer sheet would.<br />Plus, yes, I've got to add that they're just plain cute!
 
Kim August 12, 2016
I am very impressed with my dryer balls. At first, there was a lot of static left on the clothes and towels. However, the more I used them the better they worked. Now, I am a big fan and cannot imagine using dryerror sheets again! I would like some more information about the essential oils people use. I do miss the scent dryer sheets give off. Thanks for another great product! <br />
 
Lollypaul August 11, 2016
We really like the dryer balls, and like a healthy alternative to dryer sheets.
 
LaRubia August 10, 2016
I love my dryer balls! Static cling be gone, and no dryer sheet chemicals.
 
Judith H. August 10, 2016
I love my dryer balls. The only problem I have is that they are wearing out and I have to buy a new supply.
 
cynthia August 10, 2016
I have achieved the same results with balls that I knitted, filled with leftover yarn and felted. For an added touch, I dab a little lavender essential oil on the ball.
 
josefernandez August 10, 2016
Was never a fan of those downy dryer sheets. It actually ruins clothes. Have been using these dryer balls for 2 years...they are AMAZING http://amzn.to/2bgv6le!! Highly recommended.
 
Shelby S. August 9, 2016
Dryer balls are the best! I recently started making them as well, it's such a fun process