Wool Dryer Balls: A Reusable Fabric Softener

Wool dryer balls being placed into dryer with clothes

These natural wool dryer balls don’t look like much, but they can help care for your clothes by reducing drying time and static while softening the fabric.

Although there are several types of dryer balls on the market, choose the natural wool balls for the most zero waste option. Avoid the plastic and rubber options. Many brands also pack them in a natural cloth bag that can be reused.

To use them, load your clothes and toss 3-4 balls into the dryer. The balls absorb some water and help create space between clothes as they tumble around. This reduces drying time, so be sure to check your loads the first time you use them, to be sure you don’t over-dry. You may need to adjust your regular dryer settings to a shorter amount of time or a lower heat.

The balls also reduce wrinkles and static cling, and soften the fabric. For a fresh scent, you can add one or two drops of essential oil to the balls before loading.

Dryer balls can last up to 1,000 loads (2-4 years depending on how much laundry you do) and run about $6.50 for four. They replace fabric softening-dryer sheets, which are thrown away after one use. You’ll be able to tell when the ball is ready to be replaced when you notice it looking scraggly or see wool fibers sticking to your clothes. When they are at the end of their useful life, you can throw them in your green compost cart!  

If you’ve used dryer sheets in the past, or just want to save energy, try these simple, natural wool balls with your next load of laundry!