Should You Use a Plastic Dryer Ball?

You can use plastic dryer balls, but why would you when you can use our Smart Sheep wool dryer balls?

Quick links:

Do plastic dryer balls work?

How to use plastic dryer balls?

Wool vs plastic dryer balls

Wool dryer balls are far superior to tennis balls, plastic dryer balls, and dryer sheets. They’re pretty much magic for your laundry. Want to try them for yourself?

Smart sheep 6 pack

Do Plastic Dryer Balls Work?

Plastic laundry dryer balls are made of hard, durable materials like PVC or rubber. While they help aerate laundry, they lack other benefits that wool dryer balls have.. Unlike wool dryer balls, these balls do not have the same ability to absorb moisture or improve air circulation, resulting in longer drying times.

Plastic balls lack the natural softening properties of wool, which means clothes may not come out as soft and fluffy.

While plastic dryer balls may seem like a cost-effective option, remember that plastic is a synthetic compound that is nonbiodegradable and could take centuries to start breaking down. 

How Do I Use Plastic Dryer Balls?

Using dryer balls is easy:

  1. Start by loading your wet laundry into the dryer as you normally would.
  2. Add the desired number of dryer balls to the dryer drum. It's recommended to use at least 3-4 balls for small loads and 6-8 balls for larger loads.
  3. Close the dryer door and select your desired drying settings.
  4. Run the dryer cycle as usual.
  5. Once the drying cycle is complete, remove your dry clothes from the dryer.
  6. Store them in a dry place until the next use.

It’s important to note that wool dryer balls have more benefits than their plastic counterparts in terms of reducing drying time, softening clothes, reducing static, and being eco-friendly.

Why Use Plastic Dryer Balls?

Plastic dryer balls can help prevent clothes from tangling and reduce the formation of wrinkles during the drying process. They can also improve the airflow within the dryer, allowing hot air to circulate more efficiently. The result is that these dryer balls reduce drying time and energy costs. 


Although they will leave your laundry wrinkle free, these dryer balls actually have some drawbacks too.

  • They may not provide the same level of fabric softening as wool dryer balls, as they lack the natural fibers that help to fluff and soften the clothes.
  • Plastic dryer balls can produce more noise compared to other alternatives, such as wool dryer balls, during the drying cycle.
  • Over time, they may wear down, crack, or lose their effectiveness, requiring replacement more frequently.
  • In rare cases, plastic dryer balls can cause damage to delicate or sensitive fabrics, leading to pilling or fraying.
  • They are not biodegradable and may contribute to plastic waste in the environment.
  • Plastic dryer balls are primarily designed for use in the dryer and may not offer additional functionalities or versatility like some alternative options. 

Our organic wool dryer balls are made of 100 percent New Zealand wool. They offer an effective, eco-friendly alternative to softeners, plastic balls, or dryer sheets.

Are Plastic Dryer Balls Bad for Your Dryer?

Plastic dryer balls are generally safe to use. But there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. They create more noise compared to other alternatives, which may be a concern for those sensitive to loud sounds.
  2. Be sure that the plastic you use is heat-resistant and suitable for dryer use, to avoid melting or damage.
  3. In rare cases, plastic dryer balls can cause damage to the dryer drum or lint trap, especially if they become cracked or break apart.

Wool vs Plastic Dryer Balls

If you’re looking for fabric softener substitutes, laundry balls are your best bet. But which type of dryer balls should you choose? Wool or plastic? Wool dryer balls win hands-down. Let’s see why!


Both wool and plastic dryer balls can help laundry, but wool dryer balls tend to be more effective. They are heavier and more absorbent, allowing for quicker drying, softer clothes, and reduced wrinkles and static.


Wool dryer balls can last around 2 to 5 years or 1000 uses before they start to lose shape, while plastic dryer balls gradually lose effectiveness over time and may crack or wear out sooner.


Wool dryer balls are made from natural and biodegradable materials, while plastic dryer balls are made from non-renewable resources and contribute to plastic waste and pollution.


Wool dryer balls are quieter than plastic balls, making them a better choice for those living in small spaces or sensitive to noise.


Although wool dryer balls are unscented, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil before you use them. You can also spritz them with your favorite Smart Sheep scenting spray. Things like orange, lemon, and lavender work well and will help your clothes come out smelling nice and fresh.

Plastic dryer balls can't absorb essential oils. 


One more benefit of wool dryer balls is their adorableness. Choose between puppysheep, and penguin sets of dryer balls and enjoy pure cuteness.

Plastic Dryer Balls FAQ

Are plastic dryer balls a good alternative to dryer sheets?

If you compare plastic balls and dryer sheets, plastic dryer balls are effective and will leave your laundry wrinkle free, but our wool dryer balls are way better. They reduce drying time, reduce wrinkles, and are an eco-friendly product.

How many plastic dryer balls should I use?

The number of dryer balls depends on the size of the load. Experiment with the number of dryer balls to find what works best for you. This is general guidance:

  • For small and medium-sized loads of laundry, 3 balls should be enough.
  • For larger loads, you can use 5-7 balls.
  • For extra-large loads, you may want to go as high as 8-12 balls.

Are plastic dryer balls as good as wool?

Plastic dryer balls are not as good as wool. Wool dryer balls are heavier and more absorbent, allowing for better separation of clothes and improved airflow during drying. They are also more effective at reducing drying time, minimizing wrinkles, and eliminating static cling.

Plus, wool dryer balls are eco-friendly, sustainable, and can be scented with our Anti-Static Essential Oil Scenting Spray for a natural fragrance.

How do you recharge plastic dryer balls?

Plastic dryer balls do not require recharging like wool dryer balls. Wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any lint or debris that may accumulate during use.

Can plastic dryer balls damage the dryer?

Plastic dryer balls are safe to use in dryers and do not cause damage to the machine. But the harsh tumbling action of plastic balls may damage your dryer's sensitive electronic sensors.  

Do plastic dryer balls replace dryer sheets?

Plastic dryer balls can replace dryer sheets, as they’re reusable and can last for multiple laundry drying cycles, making them a cost-effective and eco-friendly option compared to single-use dryer sheets.

Can I use tennis balls as dryer balls?

You can use tennis balls as a substitute for dryer balls. But if you compare wool dryer balls with tennis balls, wool balls are way more effective. 

Are dryer balls worth buying?

Wool dryer balls are worth buying. They shorten drying times (sometimes by up to 25%), soften clothes, and reduce static in your laundry. Organic wool dryer balls are particularly useful because, unlike plastic and rubber balls, they operate quietly.

How often should you wash dryer balls?

If your laundry day is once or twice per week, you should clean it every two to three months. If you use them more than once a week, it is recommended to clean them once a month due to the buildup that can occur over time.

Can you use too many dryer balls?

While using multiple dryer balls can offer additional benefits, it is possible to use too many. Overcrowding the dryer with an excessive number of dryer balls can impede proper airflow and hinder the drying process.

How many times can you use dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls can last for as many as 1,000 laundry cycles. This means that each ball should serve you for nearly three years if you're running your dryer daily. 

Are six dryer balls enough for a small load of laundry?

Using six dryer balls for a small load can be excessive. For a small load, it is recommended to use 3 to 4 dryer balls. 

Do dryer balls remove pet hair?

Wool dryer balls remove pet hair from your clothing during the drying cycle. They remove fur, hair, lint, dander, and other debris from your clothes, bed sheets, duvet covers, jackets, dresses, blankets, and anything else that you wash and dry.

What are the benefits of dryer balls?

Here are some of the benefits of dryer balls.

  • Decrease drying time
  • Reduce static cling
  • Quieter operation
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Great for people with sensitive skin
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Save money

Which stain remover is an eco-friendly product?

Smart Sheep’s “Top Secret” stain stick is an eco-friendly product. It is a compact and portable solution for treating stubborn stains on clothing and fabrics.

Can you wash wool dryer balls in the washing machine?

You can wash your wool balls with the rest of your laundry. Wash on a gentle cycle.

Further Reading

Wool dryer balls vs dryer sheets

Essential oil recipes

Essential oils for laundry

Do dryer balls work?

What are dryer sheet alternatives?

How to use dryer balls for down jackets

How to add essential oils to dryer balls

The best wool dryer balls

What are the benefits of natural clothing stain removers?