Do dryer balls work?

Dryer ball in front of an open tumble dryer
(Image credit: Alamy)

Dryer balls are one of the many tools out there that can make doing your laundry that little bit easier. But with how much they're hyped up, do dryer balls really work?

Nobody really enjoys doing the laundry, but there are a few tools you can use to lessen the burden or at least make the task a little easier. Dryer balls are one such tool, but do dryer balls really work? 

Even the best dryers can create some static, and one of the claims made by dryer balls is that they help to eliminate this, making for a more pleasant experience when unloading the machine.  Of course, these claims are also sometimes made by certain softeners and dryer sheets, which can be marginally cheaper than dryer balls, so do you really need them? 

Well, while not everyone will feel the need to invest, we think that dryer balls are worth the up-front expense (which can often be as little as $10 for a pack of four) for the difference they will make to your laundry routine. 

What are dryer balls? 

Dryer balls are exactly as they sound: a ball that goes in the dryer. There are two main types: a woolen drying ball and a plastic one. While the plastic one could arguably last longer, a wool drying ball is more sustainable thanks to the fact that it uses a biodegradable material. 

While plastic dryer balls are often spiked, which is very effective at parting sheets and creating more separation between your laundry while drying, they are also less useful than wool when it comes to absorbing dampness and moisture in the air of the dryer. 

Another perk of plastic dryer balls is that they are hypoallergenic, which will be more suitable for those with sensitive allergies. While not many people are allergic to sheep's wool, some have allergies to lanolin, which is an oil found in wool or simply prefer not to use animal byproducts thanks to a vegan lifestyle. However, plastic dryer balls can often be a little noisy when bouncing around your dryer. By contrast, wool dryer balls are far softer and, therefore, create little to no noise when at work in your machine. 

Do dryer balls work?

While not all are created equal, a quality dryer ball will speed up the time it takes for your laundry to dry. This is because it will prevent laundry from becoming stuck together in the dryer. 

Dryer balls will effectively come between sheets, socks, and other laundry, which will allow the hot air of your dryer to really reach into each towel and pillowcase to circulate more efficiently. 

Another perk of dryer balls is their ability to absorb moisture in the air of your dryer to reduce that residual dampness that can linger when your dryer has finished its cycle. 

This is because dryer balls, like dryer sheets, are often made of absorbent material such as wool - like the top-rated Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls at Amazon. Alternatively, there are also reusable ones made from plastic, like the Whitmor Dryer Balls at Amazon.

Another advantage of a dryer ball is its ability to reduce static. This is achieved by reducing the amount that the clothes rub against each other in the dryer, which can cause friction and, as such, static. Rubbing against your laundry a dryer ball can often loosen the fibers from becoming too matted or tangled, making your sheets or sweaters even softer than usual.  

Do dryer balls work? Image of an open dryer

(Image credit: Getty)

How do dryer balls work?

To use dryer balls, you can put as many as four in with a load of drying. While many of the best front-load washers can be easily overfilled, it is best to make sure you don't make this mistake in the dryer. 

Your sheets need plenty of space to separate out and dry more efficiently, and even a great dryer ball will be no good at speeding up your laundry drying time if it doesn't have the space to circulate in your machine. 

Some dryer balls can last hundreds of cycles, which means it is only an investment you will need to make every few years. Compared to how fast you can get through a bottle of fabric softener, that's a fair enough price to pay. Of course, some will miss the scent of their favorite fabric softener when they're using this more eco-friendly alternative, but there is an easy solution to this. 

Adding a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or peppermint, to your wool dryer ball can spread the scent through your entire load. By rubbing the oil into the fibers of your dryer ball, you will also prevent it from staining any sheets or delicates directly, which could be a risk if you were to drop it straight into the machine. 

Do dryer balls work? Image of man and child unloading dryer

(Image credit: Getty)

How to make your laundry dry quicker

Buying a dryer ball is one of the best ways to make your laundry dry quicker, but there are other ways of making this happen without any added tools. 

The first tip is to not overfill the dryer barrel on your machine. Creating more room if your dryer machine will leave less moisture for your dryer to remove, so if you need something to be dried in a jiffy, put it in the dryer without filling it up entirely. 

Another great way of making your laundry dry quicker is to speed up the spin cycle. The faster the machine spins, the faster it will remove excess moisture from your laundry. 

A final tip is to remove excess water from your clothing before you put it in the dryer. The simplest way to do this is to wring out any water from your sheets or towels, but if you are drying delicates, a more gentle way of removing excess moisture is to lay down your sweater or shirt onto a dry towel. Then, roll it up tightly and put plenty of weight on your finished roll. 

Millie Fender
Head of Reviews

Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Top Ten Reviews. She also works on our sister sites: Real Homes, Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, and Livingetc. As Head of Reviews, Millie is on a mission to make sure that we are reviewing all of the latest and greatest products for you and your home, whether it's a vacuum cleaner or an inflatable hot tub.

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