Do dryer balls melt?
The natural fibers in wool make wool dryer balls resistant to high temperatures of up to 300°F or more. But not all dryer balls are made equal.
Cheaper alternatives may have much lower melting points. When exposed to heat over time, these materials are at risk of warping, contracting, or melting into an unrecognizable lump.
Smart Sheep wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand wool and do not melt in normal drying temps. Try them yourself and enjoy fluffy, static-free laundry.
“Have stopped using dryer sheets. Use nothing but these balls. My laundry comes out of the dryer flawless.” —biggiesmalls, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)
Do some dryer balls melt?
Most laundry dryer balls are designed to easily handle the temperatures that household dryers produce. But some dryer balls are much better than others.
Do plastic dryer balls melt?
Plastic dryer balls made from polyethylene or PVC can become misshapen or form clumps if they’re exposed to high temperatures for a long time. The vents and ridges on plastic dryer balls are prone to collapsing and merging.
Fortunately, household clothes dryers don’t get hot enough to melt most plastics, so you don’t need to worry about this aspect. Even if they don’t melt, plastic dryer balls just aren’t as good as wool dryer balls in all sorts of ways.
Do tennis balls melt?
Tennis balls aren't well suited for dryers. Repeated drying causes the fuzzy felt to wear off and exposes more surface area to heat. While the rubber core can withstand temperatures up to 250°F, nobody likes bits of tennis ball fuzz in their laundry. And that tennis ball smell? No thanks!
Tennis balls excel on the tennis court, but wool dryer balls are better in every way in the laundry room.
Do rubber dryer balls melt?
Lower-grade rubber from tires or other recycled sources gets sticky starting at around 250°F. This is well above the range of most dryers, but prolonged exposure to heat can degrade rubber over time through oxidation, even at lower temperatures.
Can wool withstand heat?
Natural wool fibers are highly heat-resistant, thanks to their unique structure and composition.
The proteins, amino acids, and molecular makeup of wool make it very difficult to melt or deform under standard drying conditions. You can expose wool to temperatures between 250-300°F before it starts to char or burn. This is well above the 120-160°F operating range of most dryers.
Wool can withstand such high temperatures because of its natural crimped fiber structure. Each strand of wool contains an irregular pattern of curves along its length. These crimps act like small springs that help wool hold its form when subjected to heat.
The scales on the outside of wool fibers also deflect excess warmth. This prevents the proteins within the strands from unraveling or melting together when heated.
Wool also contains moisture-wicking lanolin oils that keep the fibers pliable and heat-resistant. The more lanolin present, the higher temperature wool can withstand without becoming brittle.
Wool emerges from even very hot dryers just as you put it in—felted, durable, and ready for many loads of laundry.
“Don’t know why I waited so long to switch from dryer sheets. I finally purchased these and I think they work better! No weird perfume smell and your clothes are soft and static free, definitely recommend!” —Margaret McGraw, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)
Care tips for wool dryer balls
To help your wool dryer balls maintain their shape and effectiveness for as long as possible, follow these simple care tips:
- Follow instructions on wash and dryer settings. Never use hotter water or dryer temperatures than recommended for that particular wool product.
- Wash in cool or warm water, not hot. Hot water can deplete the natural lanolin in wool over time.
- Dry on a medium or low heat setting. High heat can accelerate wear and may felte wool dryer balls too densely.
- Don't overload the dryer each use. Overcrowding reduces airflow and forces balls to endure more heat friction against other items.
- Replace wool dryer balls every few years depending on use. Long-term heat exposure slowly reduces their fluffing power. New balls mean refreshed fabric softening.
Properly caring for your wool dryer balls helps prevent deformation, maintains their natural bounce, and extends their lifespan. Following wash and dry recommendations keeps wool safely below its melting threshold.
While wool is naturally heat-resistant, excessive drying force over many years can degrade the fibers. Proper care helps wool maintain its structure to continue effectively softening laundry.
Learn more about the benefits of wool dryer balls. You won’t think about any other type of dryer balls ever again!
“Love these balls. They are super good and work very well. I have been using them for a long time and they make my clothes dry faster. They are worth the money.” —Archishman Dakua, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)
Dryer balls FAQ
Are tumble dryer balls safe?
Tumble dryer balls made from 100% wool are completely safe to use in your clothes dryer. They contain no harmful chemicals such as you find in dryer sheets and fabric softeners. The natural wool is durable and heat-resistant.
Can I use laundry dryer balls and dryer sheets together?
It's not recommended to use dryer balls and dryer sheets together. Dryer sheets contain irritating chemicals and perfumes that coat the balls and make them less effective. The anti-static properties of dryer balls also make sheets redundant.
If you want a light scent, add a few drops of essential oil to wool dryer balls instead. Or spritz them with our essential oil scenting spray—you’ll get the pleasant aroma of orange, lemon, or lavender spread all over your clean clothes.
What are the pros of wool dryer balls?
Here are the pros of wool dryer balls:
- Soften clothes naturally without chemicals
- Reduce static cling and wrinkles in clothes
- Reusable for up to 1,000 loads
- Allow faster airflow and spread of heat to speed up dry time
- Save energy
- Environmentally friendly and cost-saving
- Hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin
- Made from renewable and biodegradable wool
- Naturally antibacterial properties
- Can add essential oils for a light scent
Are dryer balls safer than dryer sheets?
Wool dryer balls are much safer than chemical-laden dryer sheets. They contain no toxins, fragrances, or coatings that deposit on clothes and skin. All-natural wool dryer balls are hypoallergenic and come without health risks, especially for sensitive skin.
Can I use tennis balls as dryer balls?
You can use tennis balls as dryer balls, but they sort of suck. Tennis balls can melt, leave lint, and damage clothes and dryers. Their surfaces degrade over time and they may contain chemicals. Tennis balls are not a good alternative to wool dryer balls.
How many dryer balls should you use in the dryer?
There isn’t an exact number on how many wool dryer balls you should use. It is up to your preferences and the size of your laundry load.
Here are some general guidance you can follow:
- For small to medium loads, 3--4 balls are enough.
- For larger loads, you can use 5-8 balls.
- For extra-large and heavy loads, you may want to go as high as 9-12 balls.
How many times can you reuse dryer balls?
With proper care, quality wool dryer balls can be reused for up to 1,000 loads before losing effectiveness. Avoid bleach, hot water, and fabric softener to extend lifespan. Retired balls make great crafting materials.
Do wool dryer balls have chemicals?
Our 100% natural wool dryer balls contain no harsh chemicals, such as dryer sheets have. They also contain no, dyes, or additives. Wool's natural oils allow it to soften fabrics without chemicals. Some plant-based fiber balls may contain botanical scents, but no toxic chemicals.
Will wool dryer balls damage clothes?
When used properly, all-natural wool balls will not damage clothing fibers or fabrics. Their smooth felted surfaces are gentle on clothes. Make sure not to overload the dryer, and use a lingerie bag for delicate items.