I was a fan of dryer sheets pre-baby, though I knew the “fresh scent” was pretty much “eau de cancer” and not the best for long term use. Cloth diapers and baby clothes don’t mix with commercial detergents and they sure as hell don’t mix with chemical laden dryer sheets, so how was I going to keep everything smelling good around here?
Meet the wool dryer ball. While these little things may look more like cat toys (oh wait…they can also double as cat toys), they actually are effective at removing lint, wrinkles, softening clothes and if you use enough of them, your clothes dry quicker too. I was skeptical at first, but they really do work.
Most wool dryer balls are about the size of a baseball. They should be made out of 100% wool as the fibers help dissipate static cling. Also, wool has the natural ability to absorb odors, so it helps your laundry come out of the dryer smelling fresher. Many people choose to scent their wool balls with essential oils. You can buy them pre-scented (I found our first batch on Etsy), but I’ve rescented them on my own since. I just dropped 4-5 drops of oil on each ball and kept them in a bag overnight. (The scent I used wasn’t very strong, so adjust accordingly!)
We have 12 balls going in our dryer, which has a decent capacity. They definitely cut down the drying time as the movement of the balls allow for more air circulation. A load that used to take 60 minutes to dry now takes 45 when we have the full dozen working (though often there are 3-4 missing in a laundry basket).
Besides knowing that you’re not exposing your family to toxins on the clothes they wear, you have the added bonus of saving money - these balls can be used for years without breaking down. After the initial investment of a set of however many balls you want, you’re done spending! (as long as they don’t roll off, get carried off by the dog, double as a ball……)