What can I do with old wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets. But what happens when they've run their course? Before you toss those fuzzy spheres in the trash, try giving them a second life.

Here are some creative ways to keep your dryer balls working!

Quick links:

When to replace wool dryer balls

Draft stoppers


Pet toys

Stress relievers

Garden helpers

Pin cushions

Kids' crafts

Is it time to replace your dryer balls? Shop our adorable collection of natural wool dryer balls today!


Set of 6 Handfelted "Marching Penguins" 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls


When should I replace my dryer balls?

As they age, your wool dryer balls will become larger and softer. The good news is this won’t happen for a long time. When used properly, wool dryer balls last for around 1,000 loads of laundry, or about 2 to 4 years, depending on how many loads you do per day.

Here are some signs it’s time to replace your dryer balls:

  • Your drying time increases noticeably.
  • Clothes come out with more static cling than usual.
  • Dryer balls become misshapen or feel less dense.
  • A persistent odor develops.
  • You notice cracks, splits, or pieces falling off the dryer balls.
  • Excessive pilling occurs.
  • You've frequently used the dryer balls for over a year.
  • Clothes come out wrinkly.
  • You find wool fibers on your dried laundry items.
  • Dryer balls have lost their ability to absorb moisture effectively.
  • You found another cute design of Smart Sheep wool dryer balls and you want to get it.

There are many ways to repurpose your retired dryer balls. Read on for fun and easy ideas to reduce waste and give new life to your spent wool balls.

Create scent diffusers and air fresheners out of wool dryer balls

Use old wool dryer balls to block cold air from sneaking under doors or windows. These are useful home helpers to save energy usage and keep your old laundry aids out of the trash.

Here's what you'll need to transform your wool dryer balls into draft stoppers:

  • 3–4 old wool dryer balls
  • Fabric (about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide)
  • Thread
  • Needle or sewing machine
  • Scissors

How to make your draft stopper:

  1. Cut your fabric to size (dark colors hide dirt better).
  2. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (inside out). Sew the long edge and sew shut one of the short ends.
  3. Turn the fabric tube right side out.
  4. Stuff the tube with your old wool dryer balls.
  5. Sew shut.

Your new draft stopper is ready to work. Place it at the bottom of a drafty door or window. 

Create scent diffusers and air fresheners out of wool dryer balls

Old wool dryer balls can become natural scent diffusers for your home. These DIY sachets freshen spaces without artificial fragrances or chemicals.

Here is what you will need:

  • Old wool dryer balls
  • Small fabric pouches or squares of thin cloth
  • Essential oils of your choice
  • String or ribbon

Steps to create home sachets:

  1. Put a wool ball in a fabric pouch or the center of a cloth square.
  2. Add 10–15 drops of essential oil to the ball.
  3. For cloth squares, gather the edges and tie them with string or ribbon.
  4. Place sachets in drawers, closets, or under pillows.
  5. Add a few more oil drops monthly to refresh the scent.

These sachets absorb odors and release pleasant aromas. For best results, use pure essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances. For example, lavender essential oil promotes relaxation, citrus scent energizes, and tea tree oil offers antibacterial properties—perfect for gym bags or shoe closets.

You can also use our Anti-Static Essential Oil Scenting Spray. With a spritz of our non-toxic scenting spray, old wool dryer balls become the perfect sachets for freshening your home.

Turn wool dryer balls into pet toys

If you have furry friends, they will love playing with our wool dryer balls. Old wool dryer balls make excellent indoor pet balls because they're soft on furniture and quiet when bouncing. 

Use them indoors or outside, and enjoy the peace of mind that they are safe for pets and the environment. If lost, they'll naturally biodegrade, unlike conventional pet toys.

Here's what you need to create pet toys:

  • Old wool dryer balls
  • Catnip (for cat toys)
  • Small bell (optional)
  • Fabric scraps
  • Needle and thread

Steps to create pet toys:

  1. For cats, cut a small slit in the wool dryer ball and insert some catnip.
  2. Sew the slit closed to keep the catnip inside.
  3. For dogs, wrap the wool ball in a fabric scrap for added texture.
  4. Secure the fabric with a few stitches.
  5. Optionally, sew a small bell onto the fabric for extra stimulation.

Wool's natural scent is attractive to pets, and the texture is great for their teeth and gums.

Create stress relievers from wool dryer balls

The soft texture and perfect size of wool dryer balls make them great for squeezing, rolling, or tossing when you need to release tension or anxiety.

Here's what you need:

  • Old wool dryer balls
  • Essential oils or our scenting spray (optional)
  • Small fabric pouch (optional)

How to use wool dryer balls as stress relievers:

  1. Keep a wool dryer ball on your desk or in your pocket for easy access.
  2. Squeeze the ball when you feel stressed or anxious.
  3. Roll it between your palms to stimulate pressure points.
  4. Add a few drops of calming essential oil for additional aromatherapy.
  5. Place the ball in a fabric pouch if you prefer a smooth texture.

These therapy balls work well during long work hours or in high-stress situations. The repetitive motion of squeezing or rolling can help calm your mind and reduce muscle tension.

Set of 6 Handfelted "Smiling Sheep" 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls


Turn wool dryer balls into garden helpers

Wool dryer balls can tackle multiple tasks in the garden, from water management to pest control. Their ability to absorb and release moisture makes them particularly useful for plant care.

Here's how wool dryer balls work wonders in your garden:

  • Place them around plants as mulch to keep the soil moist.
  • Put them in potted plants to help control watering.
  • Attach them to garden stakes to mark plants.
  • Hang them from fruit trees to scare away birds.
  • Use them to spread natural pest control on plants.

Our 100% wool dryer balls eventually biodegrade, leaving no trace.

Make pin cushions from wool dryer balls

The dense structure of wool dryer balls holds pins and needles securely, while their round shape fits comfortably in your hand during use.

To make pin cushions, you’ll need:

  • Old wool dryer balls
  • Fabric scraps (optional)
  • Needle and thread (optional)
  • Scissors

How to make and use wool dryer ball pin cushions:

  1. Use the wool ball as is, or cover it with fabric for a decorative touch.
  2. To cover, cut the fabric into a circle large enough to cover the ball.
  3. Gather the fabric edges and stitch them closed at the bottom of the ball.
  4. Insert pins and needles as needed during your sewing projects.

These homemade pin cushions work well for hand sewing and machine work. The wool's natural lanolin helps keep pins and needles from rusting.

Use wool dryer balls for kids' crafts

Old wool dryer balls offer a fun, safe base for children's craft projects. Their soft texture and round shape spark creativity while promoting eco-friendly crafting.

Here is what you will need:

  • Old wool dryer balls
  • Child-safe paint
  • Googly eyes
  • Craft glue
  • Felt scraps
  • Scissors

How to use wool dryer balls for kids' crafts:

  1. Paint the balls to create colorful characters or animals.
  2. Glue on googly eyes to make funny faces.
  3. Cut felt pieces for ears, noses, or other features.
  4. Attach felt parts with craft glue.
  5. Use completed crafts as decorations or play items.

These projects help children develop fine motor skills and imagination. The wool's texture adds a sensory element to the crafting experience. Plus, kids learn about repurposing household items and eco-friendly practices.

How to recharge wool dryer balls

Over time, wool dryer balls become less effective at absorbing moisture. Before you repurpose them, try to revive your dryer balls by following these simple steps:

  1. Wash. Toss the balls in the washing machine on a hot water wash cycle set to gentle. Washing removes built-up lint and oil and rehydrates the wool fibers, restoring their moisture-absorbing power. Wash the balls alone or with a regular load.
  2. Dry. Dry the freshly washed balls on high heat, alone or with a laundry load. Make sure to completely dry them on a high heat setting before using them again. Even a bit of moisture will reduce their effectiveness.
  3. Use. Now your revitalized wool dryer balls are ready for the clothes dryer again. Enjoy their renewed absorbency and natural softening magic.

With occasional recharging, your wool dryer balls will keep drying efficiently and gently for years. Learn more about the benefits of wool dryer balls

How to store wool dryer balls

Keep your wool dryer balls in a mesh bag or cotton pillowcase. This prevents moisture buildup and keeps them fresh. Place the container in a dry, cool spot in your laundry area, away from direct sunlight.

After each use, take the balls out of the dryer. If they feel damp, let them air out before storing. This simple method keeps your wool dryer balls in good condition and ready for the next laundry load.


Set of 6 Handfelted "Playful Pups" 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls


Dryer balls FAQ

How many wool balls should I use per load?

The number of wool dryer balls depends on your load size. For medium loads, use 3–4 balls. Larger loads need 5–6 balls, while extra-large loads might require up to 8–12 balls.

Are wool dryer balls biodegradable?

Wool dryer balls are biodegradable. Made from 100% natural wool, they break down naturally over time without harming the environment. This makes them a sustainable alternative to single-use dryer sheets, which often contain synthetic materials that don't biodegrade.

Are wool dryer balls worth the money?

Wool dryer balls are a cost-effective investment. While the initial cost may be higher than dryer sheets, they last for hundreds of loads. They reduce drying time, saving energy and money. Their reusability is more economical in the long run.

Are wool balls better than dryer sheets?

Wool dryer balls offer several advantages over dryer sheets. They're reusable, reduce drying time, and work well with all fabrics, including towels and cloth diapers. Unlike many dryer sheets, they don't leave chemical residues on clothes. Wool dryer balls also naturally reduce static and wrinkles.

Read our comparison on wool dryer balls and dryer sheets!

Can I use wool dryer balls with delicate fabrics?

Wool dryer balls are safe for delicate fabrics. They provide gentle air circulation without the harsh chemicals found in conventional dryer sheets. For extra care, use fewer balls and a low heat setting when drying delicate items.

How do I add a fresh scent to my laundry with wool dryer balls?

To add a delightful fragrance, use our scenting spray. Or add a few drops of essential oil on the wool balls before tossing them in with wet clothes. This natural method replaces the artificial scents of disposable dryer sheets and allows you to customize your laundry's fragrance.

Further reading

What are the best natural stain removers for clothes?

What are the best eco-friendly detergent strips?

Should I put tennis balls in the dryer?

Do dryer balls collect pet hair?

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

Do wool dryer balls really work?

Are plastic dryer balls any good?