How to Use Wool Dryer Balls

Sick of static cling and wrinkled clothes? Ready to ditch those chemical-laden dryer sheets? Wool dryer balls are a natural, eco-friendly alternative that can help soften fabrics and reduce drying time. Bonus: they’re super easy to use!

Quick links:

What are the benefits of wool dryer balls?

How do I use wool dryer balls?

How many wool dryer balls should I use?

Can I use essential oils on wool dryer balls?

What are the best wool dryer balls?

Do you wet wool dryer balls?

Do wool dryer balls work?

How do I use wool dryer balls in the washing machine?

Do I need to wash wool dryer balls?

Can I use wool dryer balls with dryer sheets?

Need some? Shop our adorable collection of wool dryer balls and get some on their way to your door today!

6 pack penguins

Why Wool Dryer Balls?

Wool dryer balls offer a chemical-free way to soften fabrics and reduce drying time. They’re reusable and eco-friendly. Unlike single-use dryer sheets, wool dryer balls soften clothes naturally as they bounce around the dryer. They help decrease wrinkling and static cling as well. Wool dryer balls can cut drying cycles by up to 25%, saving time and energy. 

Made from a renewable resource, they can be used repeatedly for hundreds of loads, reducing waste. 

What are the Benefits of Wool Dryer Balls?

These wooly wonders offer several benefits that make them useful laundry aids:

  • Reduce drying time: wool dryer balls separate clothes and allow more air circulation, resulting in faster drying.
  • Cut down on wrinkles: the agitation from the wool dryer balls decreases bunching and wrinkling of garments in the dryer. Less ironing is needed.
  • Quieter operation: wool absorbs noise during drying for a more peaceful laundry experience.
  • Chemical free: wool dryer balls contain no added perfumes, fragrances, or chemicals, making them suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Eco-friendly: as a sustainable alternative to disposable dryer sheets, wool dryer balls are biodegradable and reusable.
  • Energy savings: shorter drying times and no need for fabric softeners equal cost savings on utilities.
  • Unscented: wool dryer balls can be customized with a few drops of your favorite essential oils for light fragrance. Or you can spritz them with Smart Sheep anti-static essential oil spray, available in lemon, orange, and lavender.

Anti-Static Scenting Spray

How do I Use Wool Dryer Balls Correctly?

Using wool dryer balls couldn't be easier—just toss, dry, and go! Follow these simple steps:

  1. Throw a few dryer balls in with your wet laundry at the start of the drying cycle.
  2. Close the door, choose your drying cycle, and let wool dryer balls work their magic!
  3. Keep an eye on the time, as your clothes will dry faster than usual with them bouncing around.
  4. When the cycle finishes, take out your laundry and admire those soft, static-free clothes.

Pro Tip: For a light, natural scent, spritz them with our scenting spray or add 4-6 drops of essential oil to each wool ball before drying. As the balls bounce around, they'll release their fragrance into your fabrics.

For best results, use wool dryer balls with smaller loads to give them room to work their spin cycle sorcery.

Store the balls in a well-ventilated space between loads to keep them fresh.

How Many Wool Dryer Balls Should I Use?

Here are some general rules that should help you judge how many wool dryer balls to use.

  • For everyday loads go with 3-4 balls. This number works great for small and medium-sized loads to get your clothes soft and static-free.
  • For big batches of laundry bump it up to 5-8 balls. When dealing with larger loads, more balls help ensure every piece gets exposed to their softening effects.
  • For mega-sized loads use 9-12 balls. Stuffing the dryer to max capacity? Use a dozen or so balls to make sure they can work their magic on all your clothes.

Can I Use Essential Oils on Wool Dryer Balls?

While you can add a few drops of essential oil directly to the wool dryer balls, we recommend using our essential oil scenting sprays instead.

Our anti-static essential oil sprays allow you to lightly mist the wool dryer balls before drying for a fresh, evenly distributed scent. They come in orange, lavender, and lemon. The spritz makes it easy to control the amount of scent applied, reducing the risk of stains that can happen with direct oil application.

The sprays also ensure the oils fully evaporate in the heat of the dryer, leaving no oily residue behind on your clothes. And since they are formulated specifically for use on wool dryer balls, they will not reduce the absorbency of the balls like regular essential oils might over time.

What are the Best Wool Dryer Balls?

With so many wool dryer balls to choose from, how do you know which ones are the best? Quality wool dryer balls will soften fabric and reduce wrinkles and static, making laundry feel smooth and smell fresh. Good wool dryer balls should also maintain their shape and effectiveness for at least 1,000 loads.

The best wool dryer balls are free of chemical additives, perfumes, or dyes that can irritate sensitive skin or harm the environment. It's ideal to find balls made from ethically sourced wool, not mass-produced on industrial farms. Some brands give back by supporting women-owned cooperatives and minority communities where products are made. Of course, affordability is key—with proper care, wool dryer balls can save you money by replacing single-use dryer sheets.

We believe our Smart Sheep wool dryer balls check all these boxes. Their felted organic wool softens clothes naturally, they last for years of cycles, and they align with our ethics.

Do You Wet Wool Dryer Balls?

While it may seem counterintuitive, you should not wet wool dryer balls before placing them in the dryer. Our balls are designed to naturally absorb moisture from your wet laundry and circulate air through the clothes for faster, more even drying.

Introducing additional water by pre-wetting the balls actually makes them less effective at absorbing moisture from your clothes. Plus, very wet balls will not move and tumble properly. 

For optimal performance, simply toss your wool dryer balls in with your wet laundry and start the cycle. The balls will absorb just the right amount of moisture as they lift and separate the fabrics. 

Do Wool Dryer Balls Really Work?

The felted wool material lifts and separates clothes as they tumble, allowing better airflow. This circulation helps eliminate damp spots and reduce drying time. Wool's natural static-absorbing properties also result in softer, fluffier clothes without dryer sheets.

Independent testing shows wool dryer balls can cut drying time by 25% on average. The balls gently lift and separate fabric as they roll, enabling heat to penetrate efficiently.

How to Use Dryer Balls in the Washing Machine

Although wool dryer balls are typically used in the dryer, the washing machine won’t hurt them. To use dryer balls in a washing machine, simply follow these steps:

  1. Load the washing machine as usual and add your regular detergent.
  2. Toss in 3-6 wool dryer balls to start working their magic.
  3. Select your wash cycle and start the machine. Let those balls get sudsy!
  4. When the wash finishes, transfer the whole load to the dryer, clothes and balls together.
  5. Run your normal dryer cycle. The balls will keep doing their thing.
  6. Remove your laundry, which is now extra soft, static-free, and wrinkle resistant.
  7. Reuse the wool dryer balls again and again! They last for hundreds of washes.

Do You Need to Wash Wool Dryer Balls Before Use?

Our wool dryer balls come ready to use, so washing them is unnecessary. However, if you want to wash them, you certainly can, as it won't harm them in any way.

To wash dryer balls before use:

  • Place the balls in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This prevents them from getting lost during the wash.
  • Wash on a regular cycle using a mild detergent. Avoid harsh detergents.
  • Allow the balls to air dry completely after washing. Do not put still-damp balls into the dryer.

Air dry the balls fully before tossing them in with your laundry. They will soften fabrics and reduce static for hundreds of loads.

Can You Use Wool Dryer Balls and Dryer Sheets Together?

You can toss a few dryer sheets in with your wool dryer balls if you really want to. But why bother when wool brings the power on its own, and when dryer sheets contain so many toxic chemicals?

Wool dryer balls soften and freshen fabrics naturally without any chemicals. They also reduce drying times, save energy, and reduce static. Dryer sheets just can't compete.

Once you feel how soft and static-free your laundry comes out of the dryer thanks to wool's natural magic, you'll kick those chemical-laden dryer sheets to the curb.

Wool dryer balls are the new way to freshen laundry. Ditch the disposable sheets and go green with the power of wool!

Wool Dryer Balls FAQ

Do you put anything on wool dryer balls?

Our wool dryer balls are unscented, but to get the perfect fresh scent, you can spritz them with our scenting spray or add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

How long can you use wool dryer balls in the dryer?

Wool dryer balls typically last around 1,000 laundry loads, meaning you will need to replace them after three to five years, depending on how often you use them.

Are you supposed to wet wool dryer balls?

You can wet wool dryer balls before using them to get rid of debris that may have formed from drying processes. This way, you may also activate the wool fibers and enhance their performance.

Do wool dryer balls damage the clothes dryer?

No, wool dryer balls do not typically damage the dryer. In fact, they can help improve the efficiency of the drying process. Wool dryer balls are designed to soften fabrics, reduce wrinkles, and decrease drying time by improving air circulation. They are gentle on clothes and safe to use in all types of dryers, including both electric and gas models.

Are dryer balls worth buying?

Wool dryer balls are worth buying. They eliminate static electricity, soften clothes, and reduce drying times (sometimes by up to 25%). Organic wool dryer balls are especially useful because they are quieter than rubber and plastic dryer balls.

Do wool dryer balls leave wool on clothes?

Wool dryer balls do not leave wool on clothes. The dryer ball's purpose is to reduce drying time and static cling by separating clothing items in the dryer. Wool has been used as a fabric softener for centuries due to its natural lanolin content, which softens fabrics without leaving residue.

Can I use wool dryer balls with towels?

You can use wool dryer balls with towels. Using them can be particularly beneficial when drying towels. The dryer balls help to fluff and separate the towels, allowing for better airflow and more efficient drying. This can result in softer and more absorbent towels. 

Can I use tennis balls as dryer balls?

You can use tennis balls as dryer balls, but why would you want to? Wool dryer balls are superior to tennis balls in every way, from reducing static to saving energy, to softening fabrics.

How will I know when it is time to replace my wool dryer balls?

When your wool dryer balls begin to look scraggly and pieces of wool begin to tear off, it is time to replace them. Even if it is past time to replace them, they will not cause any harm.

Do dryer balls reduce pet hair?

Dryer balls remove pet hair from your clothing as you wash and dry it. Dryer balls help remove fur, hair, lint, dander, and other debris from your clothes, bedding, jackets, dresses, blankets, and sheets, as well as anything else you wash and dry.

How can I make homemade fabric softener?

To make your own fabric softener, use these ingredients:

  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup hair conditioner in whatever fragrance you like

Mix all of these and enjoy your DIY natural fabric softener.

What are some cleaning products I can use for green cleaning?

Here are the most commonly used green cleaning products:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Tea tree oil
  • Castile soap
  • Homemade laundry detergent

How can I make my own homemade laundry spray using natural ingredients?

Making your own homemade laundry spray is simple and allows you to create a natural alternative to store-bought options. Here's a recipe to try.


  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup vodka (which acts as a natural disinfectant)
  • 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (such as lavender or lemon)


  1. In a spray bottle, combine the distilled water and vodka.
  2. Add 10-15 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) to the mixture.
  3. Close the spray bottle and shake well to blend the ingredients.
  4. Use the spray to freshen up your laundry before or after washing, or to add a pleasant scent to your linens and fabrics.
  5. Shake the bottle before each use to ensure the ingredients are well-mixed.

If you like using essential oils with your laundry, you can create endless fragrance combinations when you blend essential oils. See our guide to essential oil recipes for our favorite blends. 

Further Reading

What are the best wool dryer balls?

Are dryer balls good for down jackets?

The guide to using essential oils for laundry

10 essential oil recipes to freshen your laundry

Where can I buy wool dryer balls?

Should I put tennis balls in the dryer?

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

What is the best stain remover for white clothes?