Do dryer balls have a scent?

Unlike dryer sheets, Smart Sheep wool dryer balls have no added fragrances. Our balls are made from 100% New Zealand wool, which has a mild, natural scent when dry. Once damp, the wool loses its odor. 

This makes them ideal for those with scent sensitivities.

Quick links:

Why are wool dryer balls unscented?

How to add scent with essential oils?

How to do it without essential oils?

What are the benefits of unscented wool dryer balls?

Are other types of dryer balls scented?

Skip unnecessary perfumes and simply enjoy the fresh, clean smell of your laundry. If you wish to add a light scent, we recommend using our essential oil spray. Spritz it onto our wool dryer balls and toss them in the dryer.  

“Wool dryer balls are so much better than dryer sheets. No smelly odors, no sheets stuck to your clothes, no sheets stuck to your lint screen, and much softer clothing. Have used wool dryer balls for years. They last forever.” —Linda Rowlands, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

6-Pack Original 100% Wool Dryer Balls

The beauty of fragrance-free wool dryer balls

Our customers appreciate fragrance-free laundry for health reasons. Synthetic fragrances added to dryer sheets, detergents, and fabric softeners can cause issues for those with scent sensitivities. The artificial chemicals trigger headaches, asthma attacks, nausea, and more in susceptible individuals. Babies and children are also more vulnerable.

For example, asthma sufferers may experience wheezing and shortness of breath when exposed to synthetic perfumes. Individuals with migraines report fragrances as common headache triggers. Those with chemical sensitivities can develop rashes, sinus irritation, and more when fabrics treated with scented products touch their skin.

Natural, fragrance-free wool dryer balls avoid subjecting delicate respiratory systems, skin, and noses to these toxic chemicals. The ingredients are non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

Added perfumes just mask odors temporarily instead of removing them. As fragrance residues build up over time, clothes may irritate sensitive skin. The inside of your clothes dryer also becomes a haven for lingering perfumes and synthetic chemicals.

Smart Sheep skips synthetic scents entirely. Our wool dryer balls let the natural fresh scent of your laundry shine through. And for those who wish to add a light scent, adding essential oils is always a good option. 

To learn more about the best essential oils for your laundry, take a look at our blog post!

How can I add scent to dryer balls?

Our wool dryer balls have a mild, natural unscented aroma on their own. But if you want to include a delicate fragrance, there are a couple of natural options.

With essential oils

Pure essential oils like lavender, lemon, and peppermint can provide a subtle scented boost to wool dryer balls. A few drops —start with just 1-2—rubbed gently into the wool before drying is all you need. The key is using a very light hand so the oils enhance rather than overwhelm the fresh scent of your laundry.

With essential oils, quality matters. Always source 100% pure therapeutic grade oil for the best aroma. Synthetic fragrance oils won't provide the same benefits. Different essential oils have different purported benefits based on their scents. For example, lavender is known for its relaxing properties while citrus oils provide an energizing effect. Research different oils to pick one that fits your needs.

While essential oils can scent wool dryer balls effectively in the short term, the aroma does tend to fade after repeated loads. Reapply 2-3 drops periodically for lasting pleasant fragrance. Be cautious about using certain oils around pets or small children as well.

Here are some of the best essential oil blends to choose from!

Without essential oils

You don't need expensive essential oils to add a dash of natural fragrance to wool dryer balls. Dried flower buds like lavender, rose, or chamomile placed in a small homemade dryer sachet will transfer their aroma to the laundry when tumbled in the dryer. Just place the reusable sachet in with your wool dryer balls. The heat gently releases soothing floral scents into your fabrics.

For an herby aroma, toss a few fresh rosemary, sage, or lemon verbena springs into the dryer as well. They'll impart hints of their natural oils over the drying cycle. Remove herbs after one load before they dry out.

Whether you use essential oils or other botanicals, the goal is a whisper of scent—a delicate enhancement, not a perfume overload. The wool fibers will absorb and transmit even subtle fragrances readily. Let that fresh-from-the-dryer smell you love still come through.

What are the benefits of unscented wool dryer balls?

No scent means no harsh fragrances. No scent also means your laundry's natural freshness can shine through without being overwhelmed by competing perfumes.

Here are some of the advantages of using unscented wool dryer balls:

  • Gentler on sensitive skin. Wool's natural scent is hypoallergenic and less likely to cause irritation or reactions, especially for those with skin conditions like eczema. Synthetic perfumes used in traditional dryer sheets and fabric softeners often contain harsh chemicals.
  • Prevents buildup of scented residues. Skipping artificial fragrances means fabrics stay free of lingering perfumes that can get increasingly overpowering over time and repeated dryer loads.
  • Better for babies and young children. Fragrances can cause headaches, wheezing, and other issues in little ones. Unscented wool dryer balls are a safer choice for their delicate systems.
  • Ideal for scent-sensitive individuals. For those with allergies, asthma, migraines, chemical sensitivities, and more, avoiding synthetic scents reduces exposure to common triggers.
  • Allows true clean scent to shine through. Without competing perfumes, you can enjoy the fresh, crisp scent of truly clean laundry.
  • Versatile for all loads. Unscented balls can be used on all laundry without concern about discoloration, residue, or overwhelming scent mixing.

“Love love using these in the dryer. I have been able to completely skip using dryer sheets and since the “balls” last a very very long time, they can save you quite a bit of money! Helps so much with speed of drying as well as less wrinkling of clothing!” —Tamie Schrader, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Smart sheep 6 pack

How about other types of dryer balls?

Other types of dryer balls can’t compare to the benefits of wool dryer balls. We’ll show you why.

Plastic dryer balls

Plastic balls are usually made from rigid plastic or rubbery silicone. They typically do not have any added fragrances. 

However, low-quality plastic can give off a strong chemical odor, especially when new. Higher-quality plastic balls are unscented.

Reusable fabric dryer balls

These are made from scraps of cotton, fleece, or other fabrics. The quality of the material affects scent—some may have a faint detergent residue smell at first. 

Most are free of any added fragrance, but lower-quality ones may be treated with synthetic scents.

Tennis and rubber balls

Tennis balls in particular can be quite smelly. But who wants noisy tennis balls to bounce in their dryer?

The rubber off-gasses as it heats in the dryer, releasing a potent rubbery odor many find unpleasant. Not recommended for those sensitive to scents. Wool dryer balls are better than tennis balls in the laundry room. Tennis balls are better on the tennis court.

“Wife asked me to order these as she was getting frustrated with how noisy the rubber balls with nubs were. She also said that they rubber ones tore some items up. After using these, she exclaimed: "Perfect! These do exactly what I wanted them to. I love them." Wife recommended: That's all I need to say.” —Robert K. Sischka, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Wool dryer balls FAQ

Will essential oils on wool dryer balls make stains on clothing?

Essential oils can potentially stain clothes when applied directly to wool dryer balls. However, the risk of staining is low if proper precautions are taken. Using only 2-3 drops per ball of pure, high-quality oils reduces over-scenting and staining risks. 

Do wool dryer balls make clothes smell?

Wool dryer balls on their own are odorless and will not make clothes smell. In fact, they can help absorb odors and freshen laundry. However, scented laundry balls infused with essential oils will impart some fragrance. The intensity and longevity of the scent depend on the quality of the oils and balls.

Can I spray perfume on dryer balls?

You can spray perfume or scented mist on dryer balls to add a light fragrance, but it may not last as long as balls infused with oils during production. Rubbing a few drops of essential oils on dryer balls works better. Lightly scenting items like washcloths is an effective option too.

Are dryer balls sanitary?

Dryer balls are sanitary if properly cared for. It's ideal to have at least two sets to alternate, allowing a complete dry cycle between uses. Regularly cleaning balls with gentle soap and water is recommended. Avoid shared use, and replace old balls periodically.

Is it better to use dryer balls or dryer sheets?

Wool dryer balls are so much better than single-use dryer sheets for several reasons: 

Although scented dryer sheets seem like a better option for adding fresh scent, you can add essential oils or spritz your wool dryer balls with our anti-static scenting spray, for a fresh aroma.

Which works better: wool or plastic dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are far better than plastic dryer balls. They are also more effective.

Wool's natural absorbency helps remove moisture, cuts drying time, and reduces static and wrinkles more than plastic. Wool's softer surface is also gentler on fabrics. Plastic dryer balls can make loud noises too.

How do you scent dryer balls naturally?

To naturally scent dryer balls, you can add a couple of drops of essential oils like lavender, lemon, or peppermint. Or toss in dried fragrant herbs like rosemary or wildflowers. For a stronger scent, put oils on absorbent items like cloths, bamboo charcoal bags, or sachets. You can also make homemade scented balls with essential oils mixed into the core wool.

How many dryer balls do you use per load?

Use 3-12 wool dryer balls per load depending on your dryer's capacity. 

  1. For smaller laundry loads, 3-4 wool dryer balls are enough. 
  2. For larger loads of laundry use 4-5 wool dryer balls.
  3. For heavy and extra large loads, you can go as high as 12 wool dryer balls.

The balls need room to bounce around and aerate clothes effectively. Too many can over-soften fabric. Experiment to find the right amount for your dryer and preferences. It takes some trial and error.

Are there scented dryer balls?

There are scented dryer balls infused with essential oils to provide a natural fragrance while drying clothes. Most wool dryer balls can be purchased unscented or with various scent options like lavender, jasmine, fresh citrus, vanilla, and more. The intensity and longevity of the fragrance will depend on the quality of the oils and balls.

Further reading

What is the best laundry detergent for sensitive skin?

Detergent sheets vs. liquid detergent—who wins?

How can I keep my sheets from balling up in the dryer?

Homemade stain remover for white clothes

Why is the dryer making my clothes smell burnt?