Can I use golf balls in the dryer?

Keep golf balls out of the dryer. Unless you want a horrific banging and clanging—and a terribly abused dryer drum. Fortunately, there’s a much better option.

Quick links:

Why do people use golf balls in the dryer?

Why avoid golf balls in the dryer?

What are the benefits of wool dryer balls?

Are tennis balls good?

Are plastic dryer balls good?

How can I reduce dry time?

Buy our wool dryer balls for a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution, and say goodbye to the clamor of golf balls in the dryer.

“I'd used tennis balls for decades, but opening the drier and seeing these cute little faces living in there just makes me smile every time. And my drier hasn't eaten any socks since these guys took charge! Definitely a luxury at these prices.”—Some Amazon Customer, Verified purchaser (5 stars)

Smart sheep 6 pack

Why does anyone use golf balls in the dryer?

Some people advocate putting golf balls in the clothes dryer as a budget hack for drying laundry. Proponents claim golf balls separate and soften clothes, reduce static cling, shorten dry time, and decrease wrinkles.

It’s true that golf balls marginally lift and separate clothes as they tumble, allowing a bit more air circulation for reduced drying time. In this, they underperform lint-producing tennis balls—but are a whole lot noisier.

Wool dryer balls are far superior to tennis balls and golf balls both where laundry is concerned.

Reasons to avoid golf balls in the dryer

Avoid putting golf balls in your dryer. Here are the reasons:

  1. Poor laundry performance
  2. Can damage fabrics
  3. Horrendous noise
  4. Danger of melting

Don't perform as promised

Smooth plastic golf balls skate over fabrics without truly separating or softening them. The lack of moisture-absorbing wool also means no added softness or anti-static benefits. 

Watch out for damage over time

The rigid surface of golf balls can damage clothes as they bang against fabrics hundreds of times in a dryer cycle. Delicate items like lace and silk are especially prone to snags, pulls, and tears. Even sturdy cottons can develop small holes and thinning over months of tumbling with golf balls.

Disruptive noise and vibration

Golf balls are small and hard. Get them bounding around the inside of a metal drum, and it sounds like a shootout at the OK Corral. Or a sledgehammer banging on a tin roof.

Melting hazards

If your dryer gets hot enough, golf ball plastic can melt. Melted plastic on your lovely nightie? Hard pass.

Benefits of wool dryer balls

Wool dryer balls lift and separate laundry items. As they tumble, the wool absorbs moisture to gently soften fabrics and dissipate static cling. Wool dryer balls also shorten drying time by promoting airflow.

Made from a renewable resource, high-quality dryer balls can be reused for over 1,000 loads.

Our wool dryer balls minimize laundry wrinkles. As the balls bounce around in the dryer, they naturally fluff and separate the fabric, preventing garments from bunching up and causing creases.

They also offer the quietest operation when compared to other similar products. The soft and natural fibers of wool absorb some of the noise generated during the drying process, resulting in a quieter dryer. 

Are tennis balls good for the dryer?

Tennis balls are not a good option—wool dryer balls are! Our all-natural product wins this battle hands down for many reasons:

  1. Wool dryer balls are eco-friendly
  2. Wool dryer balls are gentle and chemical-free
  3. Wool dryer balls enhance softening and fluffing
  4. Wool dryer balls reduce static and decrease wrinkling
  5. Wool dryer balls reduce drying time and energy savings

Are plastic dryer balls good?

Plastic dryer balls aren’t nearly as good as wool. Unlike wool dryer balls, plastic balls do not absorb moisture. They don't reduce static as well as wool dryer balls, nor do they separate the clothing as effectively to reduce clumping. With plastic, you'll have longer dry times and worse laundry outcomes than you would with wool dryer balls.

Plastic balls lack the natural softening properties of wool, which means clothes may not come out as soft and fluffy.

While plastic dryer balls may seem like a cost-effective option, remember that plastic is a synthetic compound that is nonbiodegradable and could take centuries to start breaking down. 

How can I reduce drying time?

You can significantly cut drying time by:

  • Clean the lint filter before each load
  • Limit load sizes to leave room for airflow
  • Ensure proper dryer venting and clear ductwork
  • Use optimal settings for the fabric type
  • Shake items mid-cycle to redistribute and separate
  • Promptly remove items when finished drying

To really reduce drying time, buy our high-quality wool dryer balls. You'll be glad you did.

6 pack penguins

Golf balls FAQ

What can I use instead of a tumble dryer ball?

You can use tennis balls, wool dryer balls, or even socks as alternatives to commercial tumble dryer balls.

  1. Tennis balls work similarly to dryer balls by helping to separate clothes and allow airflow to cut down on drying time.
  2. Wool dryer balls perform the same function while also helping reduce static.
  3. Socks knotted together create texture to help lift and separate laundry.

What balls can go in the dryer?

Wool dryer balls are a safe option as they are chemical-free. Some people worry tennis balls could melt from the heat but this is unlikely unless you overdry your clothes.

Are wool dryer balls safe for dryer?

Our wool dryer balls are completely safe to use in clothes dryers. They contain no chemicals, dyes, or additives—just pure wool. Wool's structure and texture allow the balls to lift garments and promote air circulation.

Also, wool dryer balls reduce static cling from synthetic fabrics. Unlike tennis balls, these balls will not melt even at high heat, so they can be safely dried in any setting.

Wool dryer balls are considered one of the gentler and most effective options.

How to make cheap dryer balls?

A very inexpensive way to make your own dryer balls is by using aluminum foil.

Simply crumple up small pieces of aluminum foil into ping-pong-sized balls, making anywhere from 5-10 for a standard load. The foil balls will bounce around the dryer drum, lifting and separating the clothing inside to allow air to flow freely.

This helps cut down on drying time. The foil balls effectively mimic commercial dryer balls at a fraction of the cost. They can be reused for a few months before needing replacement as they gradually wear down.

How many wool dryer balls do you put in the dryer?

How many wool dryer balls you use depends on the load size. 

For small to medium loads, the ideal number of dryer balls to use is 3-6. More balls are needed for larger loads. The balls work best when they have room to tumble and bounce freely, allowing them to mix and lift the clothing. 

As a general rule, aim for 5-6 balls for average loads, and add a few more for bigger loads and bulky items like comforters. 

Can I use socks instead of dryer balls?

Rolling up socks into balls provides a perfectly good substitute for commercial dryer balls. Simply tie socks together into knotted balls. The texture and shape mimic the lifting and aerating effect that dryer balls provide. As the improvised sock balls bounce around the drum, they help lift, separate, and mix the laundry inside. This allows air to better circulate the clothing and reduces the drying process. 

What is the cheapest way to dry clothes without a tumble dryer?

The cheapest way is to air dry clothes on a rack or clothesline. Outdoor drying is the most energy-efficient way to dry your wet clothes.

Adding a fan speeds up drying time by circulating air. Just be sure to flip and rotate items for even drying.

Are traditional dryer sheets better than wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are better than traditional dryer sheets in many ways:

  1. They speed up the drying time
  2. They are efficient due to their compact design and natural material
  3. They are chemical-free
  4. They are eco-friendly
  5. They don’t have the toxins that dryer sheets have

Plus, wool dryer balls are reusable compared to disposable dryer sheets.

Further reading

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

Will essential oils on my dryer balls stain clothes?

Can I use dryer balls in the washing machine?

Are laundry detergent sheets better than liquid detergents?

What is the best natural alternative to fabric softeners?

What is the best alternative to dryer sheets?