Product Design

This Trick for Cutting Laundry Time by 25% Couldn't Be Simpler

Or easier on the eyes.

May  2, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

There's a lot to love about our new Five Two dryer balls—seriously, it's pretty much all we talk about—but chief among the reasons is that they'll save you tons of time on laundry day. Adding just three balls to a load means it'll dry about 25% faster, an increment of time also known as "enough extra minutes to grab that cappuccino on the way to work, while wearing fresh socks."

But let's back up for a sec. If you've never met dryer balls, please allow us to introduce you:

They're essentially just balls of wool that get tossed in with wet clothes in the dryer, where they take on the job of absorbing moisture. As the whole thing tumbles, they create activity that keeps clothes from bunching (aka, wrinkling), and zap static and lint. The finished product? An extra soft, fluffy load of laundry ready and waiting. And as of today, you can preorder your own; they come in groups of three or six, and they’ll start shipping on May 13th, 2019.

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"Dryer balls have always been a Food52 community favorite," says Director of Product Development Kristina Wasserman. "We knew we wanted to make our own version."

Photo by Rocky Luten

Ours are handmade from 100% New Zealand wool, which means they're hypoallergenic and can withstand high heat. They're also bigger than lots of others out there, because the 3.5-inch diameter (roughly the size of a navel orange) allows each dryer ball to absorb even more water, for speedier drying. And each can be used over and over, for up to 1,000 loads. According to our resident mathematician cookie counter, that means they'd last almost three years if you did a load of laundry every single day.

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Top Comment:
“The programs timing in the dryer are predetermined, using those balls or not doesn't make a difference, power-wise.”
— Baruch N.

Earth-wise, dryer balls are an eco-friendly swap for products like fabric softener and dryer sheets, which are typically laden with chemicals that can coat laundry and irritate skin—and in the case of dryer sheets, generate waste after a single use. For a hit of your favorite scent, you can dab a few drops of essential oil on these dryer balls, and they'll share it with your clothing as they spin.

And the icing on the cake? "They're not only eco-friendly," says Wasserman. "They'll also save you time and money on your electric bill."

Have any other time-saving laundry tricks? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    Baruch Nahon
  • Martha Peterson
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Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Angela September 21, 2019
When drying do they make noise?
Joana May 20, 2019
How do you know when it’s time to replace them?
Liora June 9, 2019
I've had mine for several years now. They look perfect - the same as they did when I got them.
Baruch N. May 5, 2019
How can I save anything using them? The programs timing in the dryer are predetermined, using those balls or not doesn't make a difference, power-wise.
Joana June 10, 2019
I think it would depend on whether you use a timed cycle or a sensor one (less dry, normal, more dry).
Martha P. May 3, 2019
For anyone out there has actually used these for awhile - how do you keep them from mildewing?
Noreen F. May 3, 2019
We've been using them for years and never had a problem. We just leave them in the dryer.