Do wool dryer balls shrink clothes?

Wool dryer balls don't shrink clothes. They do make them soft, fluffy, and static-free.

Quick links:

What causes the shrinkage of clothes?

How do wool dryer balls reduce shrinking?

What are the other benefits of wool dryer balls?

Our high-quality wool dryer balls will be the best thing that ever happened to your laundry.

Smart Sheep wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand wool. They're the best that money can buy!

“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 in my dried laundry, No more crackles or pops lol” —MoGal64, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Smart sheep 6 pack

What are the main causes of clothes shrinkage?

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of laundry doers like the dreaded shrinkage. Despite your best efforts, clothes seem to mysteriously contract, warp, and shrivel away. But shrinkage doesn't just happen randomly—the culprits are well known.

  • Heat is enemy number one. Excessive temperatures make fibers tighten and lose their elasticity. Delicate and natural fabrics such as wool, silk, and rayon are most vulnerable, but even sturdy cotton will shrink if overheated. 
  • Agitation is another hazard, as vigorous washing and drying physically damages textile structures causing them to contract. Chemical residues build up over time from laundry products like detergents and fabric softeners. These coat the fibers and cause stiffening that shrinks clothes. 
  • Improper care is a major factor. Neglecting fabric content labels and garment washing instructions often has disastrous consequences.

To avoid tragic shrinkage, carefully follow all clothing labels. Wash delicate items in cold water on a gentle cycle. Use mild, eco-friendly detergents instead of harsh chemicals. Maintain elasticity with fabric softeners like wool dryer balls. With mindful laundering habits, you can stop shrinkage in its tracks.

How do wool dryer balls work to reduce shrinkage?

Wool dryer balls are shrinkage superheroes. Their clever design and natural materials save clothes in multiple ways:

  • The wool fibers absorb moisture from wet laundry, pulling water out of the fabrics. This helps wet clothes dry faster, reducing heat exposure.
  • As the balls tumble, they lift and separate the items. This increases airflow and decreases friction and agitation between garments.
  • Wool dryer balls contain no added chemicals. They do not leave any chemical residue on clothes that could cause stiffening or shrinkage over time.
  • The all-natural wool material is gentle on all fabrics. There are no harsh effects that could damage or shrink clothes.

Tips for drying laundry

Outsmart shrinkage with these tips:

  • Carefully consult clothing labels and sort with delicates in mind. Cooler drying is safer drying.
  • Use the right number of wool dryer balls—3-4 for small and medium loads, and 5-8 for larger. For extra-large loads of laundry, use up to 12 balls per load. More balls increase air circulation in your dryer drum.
  • Choose lower heat settings, even if not required. A lower temp enhances wool's shrink protection.
  • Clean the lint filter before each laundry load for optimal moisture and air flow. Excess lint reduces effectiveness.
  • Remove clothes promptly when dry. Extra drying time risks heat exposure.
  • Consider air-drying treasured delicates. Wool dryer balls help, but air drying is safest for high-risk items.
  • After drying, allow clothes a short air fluff before folding or hanging. Helps them regain shape.

What are the benefits of dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls offer incredible shrink-fighting benefits beyond basic softening. Their natural materials and clever design make wool dryer balls a laundry game-changer:

  • Natural alternative to chemical-laden dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners, which can cause shrinkage over time.
  • Expertly softens fabrics by separating clothes and allowing efficient airflow, reducing heat exposure and agitation.
  • Reduces drying time by efficiently circulating air, minimizing shrink-risking heat.
  • Reusable for over 1,000 loads, saving money without chemicals that lead to shrinkage.
  • Hypoallergenic wool is gentle on all fabrics. No harsh residues put clothes at risk.
  • Made from renewable wool. An eco-friendly choice for sustainable laundering.

“One of the most impressive benefits is the reduced drying time. My clothes are coming out of the dryer much faster than before, which not only saves energy but also keeps my utility bills in check. As someone who's always on the go, this is a huge time-saver, allowing me to get through my laundry piles more efficiently.” —JCastro, Amazon purchaser (5 stars)

Wool vs. other fabric softening options

Dryer sheets may seem like an easy way to keep clothes soft and static-free. But those good smells and silky finishes come at a price. The perfumes and harmful chemicals in dryer sheets leave residues that build up on fabrics over time. These added coatings cause fibers to stiffen and shrink. Delicates like wool sweaters and silk dresses are especially prone to shrunken ruin.

Liquid fabric softeners also cling to clothes in ways you can't see. They leave behind a waxy film that reduces natural fiber elasticity. As this residue accumulates from repeat washing, it can cause major shrinkage issues. Wool, cotton, linen, and other breathable textiles lose their ability to flex and move.

But, there are safer fabric softening alternatives. A way better than these single-use products full of toxic chemicals. Our all-natural wool dryer balls provide natural softening without chemicals or clingy residue. Through the power of moisture absorption and friction, Smart Sheep wool dryer balls leave clothes fresh and snuggly soft, minus the shrinkage risks. 

Other great options are vinegar rinses, salt scrubs, and plain old line drying. With a few easy swaps, you can keep fabrics feeling divine while avoiding shrinkage disasters.

Wool dryer balls FAQ

Do wool dryer balls damage clothes?

Wool dryer balls will not damage or harm your clothes when used properly. The wool is tightly felted into a solid shape that does not shed fibers onto fabrics. As the balls tumble and bounce, they gently lift and separate clothes to allow air circulation. With enough wool balls for the dryer load size, they spread freely without clinging to or tugging fabrics.

Do plastic dryer balls work?

Plastic dryer balls do work to speed up drying time, but they lack the extra softening and moisture-wicking abilities of wool dryer balls. They also don’t fight static cling like wool does.

Do dryer balls reduce static?

Dryer balls help significantly reduce static cling by separating clothes and allowing moisture to dissipate. Wool's natural oils also act as a natural antistatic. Plastic vented balls speed up airflow to prevent static buildup. Using dryer balls cuts down on static better than toxic dryer sheets.

How long do dryer balls last?

With proper care, high-quality wool balls will last for thousands of loads of laundry or around 1-2 years with regular use. Be sure to wash the balls monthly in hot water to revive the wool oils. 

Replace balls if they become misshapen, worn out, or matted. Quality wool balls should bounce back to their original shape.

Do dryer balls replace dryer sheets?

Wool dryer balls are an effective eco-friendly, economical alternative to disposable dryer sheets. The wool's lanolin oils naturally soften fabrics over time. If you miss the scents from sheets, add a few drops of essential oils to the balls, or get our anti-static essential oil scenting spray

When properly cared for, wool dryer balls are a smart reusable replacement for dryer sheets.

Do wool dryer balls reduce drying time?

On average, wool balls can reduce drying time by 25%. As they absorb and disperse moisture evenly, it significantly speeds up the drying process. The natural wool oils also help repel water from fabrics. More balls in larger loads maximize air circulation for the fastest drying.

Do dryer balls make your clothes soft?

Wool dryer balls gently soften fabrics and reduce wrinkles by lifting and separating the laundry. Over repeated uses, the lanolin in the wool transfers to clothes and provides natural conditioning. For super soft results without chemicals, wool balls are highly effective fabric softeners.

How often should you wash wool dryer balls?

It's best to wash wool dryer balls once every 1-2 months in hot water or on a gentle cycle, using mild detergent. Let them air dry completely before reuse. Washing revitalizes the wool's oils for peak performance. Regular cleaning maximizes their lifespan and effectiveness at softening laundry.

Are dryer balls worth buying?

Wool dryer balls are absolutely worth investing in for soft, static-free laundry without chemicals. Their reusable nature also makes them highly economical compared to disposable dryer sheets. Use them in your laundry routine and change your laundry habits for good.

Are tennis balls a good choice for your clothes dryer?

Tennis balls are not the best choice for your dryer. A lot of people opt for tennis balls as a cheap alternative to dryer balls. But don't do that. Wool dryer balls are superior in every way.

The glue used in tennis balls can be toxic and it can spread all over your clothes. Also, they can be super noisy. 

Further reading

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

Detergent sheets or liquid detergents—which is better?

Why is the dryer making my clothes smell burnt?

Will essential oils on my dryer balls stain clothes?

Do we really need fabric softeners?

Why should I put safety pins on my wool dryer balls?

Can I place dryer balls in the washing machine?

Line drying vs machine drying—what to choose?