Are wool dryer balls safe to use in the dryer?

Wool dryer balls are dryer-safe and provide a lot of benefits to your laundry. 

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How do wool dryer balls work?

Are they good for the dryer?

What are their benefits?

How to care for wool dryer balls

Wool vs plastic dryer balls

The natural wool fibers are soft enough to be gentle on your dryer's drum, and great for saving money and making laundry come out soft, great-smelling, and static-free.

Shop Smart Sheep wool dryer balls to experience the magic! 

“These work very well. I feel good about helping the environment and not having to use dryer sheets or spend more money on them. Pro tip: if you have a large front-load dryer, you're gonna need six of these bad boys. Three work just fine in my apartment dryer though.”— Bham Girl, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

How do wool dryer balls work?

Smart Sheep wool dryer balls are made of 100% natural New Zealand wool. When placed in the dryer, the balls lift and separate clothing items as they tumble. This allows air to circulate fully and prevent wet clumping. With no clumps and more aeration, wet laundry dries faster.

As the wool rubs against the laundry, it releases natural oils that act as a fabric softener, reducing static cling and wrinkles. 

Wool will also absorb moisture from the laundry, helping fabrics dry better. Wool dryer balls are a natural alternative to dryer sheets and are good for your wallet, your family’s health, and the planet. 

Are wool dryer balls safe for the dryer drum?

It’s smart to be careful what you put into your dryer (for example, we’d never put golf balls into ours). Fortunately, wool is one of the safest substances on the planet. Our wool dryer balls are designed with your dryer's well-being in mind.

Wool fibers are flexible, soft, and smooth. Unlike stiffer synthetic materials, wool easily conforms as it rubs against surfaces. There are no scratchy edges to abrade or scrape the drum interior. Even with frequent use, wool won't harm the drum's polished surface.

Our wool dryer balls are a sufficiently large size—about 71mm—to avoid slipping under the drum lip or squeezing into vent ductwork where they could jam the airflow. You'll never have to disassemble your dryer looking for a lost ball! 

They maintain their felted structure wash after wash, unlike tennis balls that disintegrate. As a natural fiber, wool won't melt or deform under high heat like plastic dryer balls potentially can.

A small amount of lint may accumulate on the balls over time. The balls actually capture much of this lint so your filter stays cleaner. Any fibers that detach are too small to obstruct airflow significantly.

What are the benefits of dryer balls?

When you use wool dryer balls, you're reducing dry times, saving energy, and keeping toxic chemicals out of the ecosystem. Here are some of the many benefits of wool dryer balls:

  • Reduce drying time. Wool dryer balls separate and aerate clothing, allowing more air circulation to cut the dry time by 25-40%. Your clothing, towels, and sheets will be ready faster.
  • Eliminate static cling. Keeping fabrics separated prevents static buildup so clothes won't stick together.
  • Soften fabrics. Wool dryer balls are a great alternative to fabric softener because they soften naturally. Clothes come out soft, not stiff or scratched.
  • Minimize wrinkles. The constant tumbling motion of the wool dryer balls discourages wrinkles and knots from setting into fabrics.
  • Reduce lint. Lint attaches to dryer balls rather than clothes. Filters stay cleaner too.
  • Hypoallergenic. Wool dryer balls contain no chemicals, perfumes, or toxins. Their gentle formula is ideal for all types of fabrics and even baby laundry.
  • Reusable. Each ball lasts for over 1000 loads, saving money and reducing plastic waste versus disposable dryer sheets.
  • Eco-friendly product. Wool is a natural, biodegradable fiber that is sustainably produced. It has a neutral environmental impact, whereas products such as toxic dryer sheets have a very negative impact on the environment.
  • Versatile. Although they come unscented, you can add essential oils to dryer balls. With just 3-4 drops or a spritz of our scenting spray, your laundry will get the natural fragrance you love.

With benefits like these, it's easy to see why wool dryer balls are a popular option. And why they are better than synthetic dryer sheets. Give them a try and your laundry will thank you!

“These have made an incredible difference in getting lint off my towels. The towels are super plush and even after years of use, will leave substantial amounts of lint in the trap. I wish I had gotten these years ago - after just a few months of use - towels changed weekly, washed bi-weekly - the towels no longer leave lint behind just from use.”— Eve Vulgaris, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Are wool dryer balls worth it?

Yes, wool dryer balls are definitely worth it. They pay for themselves in energy savings and by rendering traditional dryer sheets and fabric softeners obsolete. A set of wool balls replaces approximately 3,000 sheets over their lifetime. Factor in the higher cost of "premium" scented dryer sheet brands, and the savings are substantial.

Wool dryer balls reduce drying time and cut dryer-related energy costs by up to 25%. Considering that they last for several years, wool dryer balls can pay for themselves (and hten some) in energy savings alone.

“I purchased these to see if we could stop buying the dryer sheets. These balls work great. I usually put three in the dryer with a regular load and have had no issues. So far, there has not been any static electricity on the clothes.”— Amazon Customer, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

How to take care of your wool dryer balls?

To get the most out of your wool dryer balls safely, be sure to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Use the recommended number of balls for your dryer's capacity. This ensures proper tumbling action without overcrowding. For small to medium loads, 3-4 balls per load are ideal. For larger loads, you can use 5-7 balls. For extra-large loads and bulky items go as high as 8-12 balls if your dryer allows.
  • Check sizing guidelines and do not use balls that are too small. They could get pulled into ductwork. Our 71mm balls are an optimal size.
  • Clean the lint filter before each load to prevent blockage. 
  • Refresh wool dryer balls periodically by soaking them in warm water and reshaping them.
  • Replace balls immediately if you notice damage, irregular wear, or disintegration. Don't wait for complete failure.

“I was pretty surprised by these little balls, I didn't really think they would work but after reading the reviews I decided I would give them a try. The first thing I noticed was absolutely no static cling in my dried laundry, No more crackles or pops.”— MoGal64, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Wool vs plastic dryer balls

Wool dryer balls and plastic dryer balls both aim to soften fabrics and speed up drying time by lifting and separating your laundry as it tumbles. But wool dryer balls have some clear advantages:

  • Plastic can melt and get stuck to fabrics. Not an issue with wool.
  • Plastic relies on coatings that wear off over time. Our wool dryer balls’ softening power lasts longer.
  • Plastic does not absorb moisture like wool.
  • Some plastic dryer balls use artificial fragrances and coatings that irritate sensitive skin. That is not the case with our wool dryer balls—they are hypoallergenic with zero chemicals.
  • Plastic balls lose effectiveness after a few hundred loads. Wool dryer balls last for an average of one thousand loads.
  • Plastic dryer balls create plastic waste. Wool is biodegradable and renewable.
  • Plastic can shed microplastics into waterways. Not an issue with our wool dryer balls.

Wool laundry balls deliver better value than plastic. Their natural softening, static reduction, and eco-friendly benefits make wool the winner! They pay off over hundreds of loads of laundry.

Smart sheep 6 pack

Wool dryer balls FAQ

Are wool dryer balls bad for your dryer?

No, our wool dryer balls are not bad for your dryer at all! They are safe for dryers.

The wool is soft and flexible so it won't scratch the dryer drum surface. Our wool dryer balls maintain their shape and won't disintegrate into lint over time. They are large enough not to get sucked into vents or jammed in ductwork. The natural wool fiber won't melt or deform from heat like plastic balls could. While a tiny bit of lint may stick to the balls, it's negligible and won't obstruct airflow. The tumbling action actually helps keep your filter cleaner by capturing lint. 

Do dryer balls leave lint?

A small amount of lint may accumulate on the surface of wool dryer balls over time. However, it's really negligible compared to all the lint that comes directly off your fabrics.

The wool actually captures a lot of that lint before it reaches your filter, helping keep the filter cleaner. Any fibers that detach from the balls are tiny and get carried away in the airflow without issue. The tumbling action also helps shake loose any lint so it doesn't build up.

Are wool dryer balls healthy?

Our wool dryer balls are a very healthy option for your laundry routine! As a natural fabric, wool contains no chemicals, dyes, perfumes, or toxins. 

Lanolin is wool’s natural oil. When wool is processed to make products like yarn and dryer balls, most of the lanolin is removed. Some people are allergic or sensitive to lanolin and it can cause itchy skin, redness, or other reactions to their sensitive skin.

Some traces of lanolin can be found in some dryer balls, but not in ours—ours are lanolin-free.

Wool dryer balls are hypoallergenic and safe options for even delicate fabrics and baby clothes. Babies and children can snuggle up in soft blankets and clothes dried with wool balls, without risk of exposure to harsh laundry residue.

Do wool dryer balls shorten drying time?

Wool dryer balls shorten drying time. As they tumble, the balls lift and separate laundry items, allowing better airflow. This prevents wet clumping that can trap moisture.

With the fabrics spread out, more surface area gets exposed to the hot air. Heat and moisture get evenly dispersed rather than concentrated in bunches. The wool also absorbs some of that moisture into the fibers.

With clumps busted up and moisture wicked away, clothes dry up to 25% faster with wool dryer balls! 

Do dryer balls damage fabric?

When used properly, organic wool dryer balls will not damage fabrics. The felting process gives the balls a dense structure so they maintain their shape and won't unravel. This prevents any snagging of delicates and prevents scratches, pulls, or abrasions. The spherical shape also means no corners or edges that could catch on the fabric. As the balls fluff and lift the laundry, they decrease wrinkles instead of imprinting new ones. 

How often should dryer balls be replaced?

With proper routine care such as periodic soaking in hot water, spot cleaning as needed, frequent fluffing, and proper loose storage allowing airflow, high-quality wool dryer balls can effectively last for over a hundred laundry loads or for more than 2 years before needing replacement.

How do you recharge wool dryer balls?

Recharge wool dryer balls by soaking them in warm water for 30-60 minutes, gently squeezing out excess moisture, allowing them to completely air dry, and fluffing up the wool before returning the refreshed balls to the dryer.

You can also put them in a mesh laundry bag and wash them on a gentle cycle using hot water. You don’t need any laundry detergent or fabric softener.

Recharge them once per month to prevent your wool dryer balls not losing their effectiveness over time.

Do wool dryer balls leave residue on clothes?

Quality wool dryer balls don’t leave residue on clothes. They are safe for dryer loads.

Which dryer balls are better, wool or rubber?

Wool dryer balls are better than rubber dryer balls because wool offers natural softening anti-static properties to aerate and promote faster drying time. Wool has extreme durability over 1,000+ loads and is safe for sensitive skin. Plus, it’s and biodegradable.

What should I do with a dirty dryer ball?

To clean a dirty dryer ball, simply wash it with mild soap and warm water, then air dry it. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach.

Further reading

Do dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals?

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

Will essential oils on my dryer balls stain clothes?

Why do people put metal safety pins on wool dryer balls?