Do wool dryer balls collect pet hair?

Pet hair stubbornly clings to clothes, linens, and furniture. Wool dryer balls have gained popularity as a natural, eco-friendly solution for removing pet hair from laundry.

Let's explore whether these unassuming laundry helpers can effectively capture pet hair in the dryer.

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How do wool dryer balls work?

Wool dryer balls and pet hair

How to optimize wool dryer balls to collect pet hair

“These dryer balls by Smart Sheep are impressively effective at removing pet hair—even from full and large loads. They work by adding extra air circulation to your dryer cycle, which, in turn, removes static, shortens dry times, and pulls off pet hair and whatever else may be clinging to fabrics. We particularly like these dryer balls for removing pet hair from pet blankets, pet beds, and clothing.” —Catherine Alex Beaven, The Spruce Pet


Set of 3 Handfelted "Playful Pups" 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls


How do wool dryer balls work?

Wool dryer balls are a natural alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners. They are 100% wool and easy to use—just toss them into the dryer with your wet clothes. As the dryer spins, the wool dryer balls tumble around, separating and fluffing your laundry.

One of the main benefits of wool dryer balls is that they can significantly reduce drying times. The balls absorb moisture from your clothes and create pockets of air between the items. Increased air circulation lets your laundry dry quicker, saving you time and energy.

Wool dryer balls also soften clothes without the use of harsh chemicals found in many fabric softeners. Dryer balls gently agitate your clothes, relaxing the fibers and reducing static cling. They also provide a chemical-free option for people with sensitive skin.

Wool dryer balls also collect and remove pet hair from your clothes during the drying cycle, helping pet owners keep their homes and laundry free of fur.

Wool dryer balls and pet hair

Wool dryer balls collect and remove pet hair from laundry during the drying process. The microscopic scales and fibers in wool attract and trap loose pet hair as the dryer balls tumble in the laundry.

Wool dryer balls collect stray pet hair as they gently brush against clothing. Static electricity generated by the tumbling motion also draws pet hair toward the surface of the dryer balls, where it becomes entangled in the wool fibers.

Once your laundry is finished, the dryer balls will be covered in pet hair. To keep them working, remove the accumulated hair by hand or with a pet hair removal tool.

When you add dryer balls to your laundry routine, you'll notice the difference. Dryer balls keep laundry cleaner, fresher, and softer; they also reduce the spread of pet hair throughout the home.


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


How to optimize wool dryer balls to collect pet hair

Follow these tips to optimize your wool dryer balls:

Use the right number

For smaller laundry loads, use three or four wool dryer balls per load. This creates sufficient tumbling friction to dislodge pet hair from the fabric. Larger loads of laundry, such as bedding sets, require six or more wool dryer balls. The increased number of dryer balls creates a stronger tumbling action that dislodges pet hairs stuck deep in fabrics.

Re-fluff dryer balls

Dryer balls become compressed and matted if you use them frequently. This reduce their effective surface area. Before tossing them in with your next load of laundry, take a moment to stretch and re-fluff each ball. This restores the balls' coarse texture and ability to attract pet fur.

Clean your dryer vent

As dryer balls whirl around the drum collecting pet hair, some hair builds up in the dryer vent. Lint and hair build-up impacts airflow and drying efficiency. Periodically wipe the lint dryer and vent area with a damp microfiber cloth to remove residual pet hair.

Invest in 100% natural wool dryer balls

While budget-friendly synthetic and wool-blend dryer balls are available, they simply cannot match the pet hair removal benefits of Smart Sheep dryer balls made from 100% high-quality wool. Authentic wool naturally creates the electrostatic charges needed to effectively attract and capture pet hairs. 

How to remove pet hair from washing machines

Pet hair buildup inside the washing machine reduces efficiency over time. Try these tips to keep your washing machine free of pet hair:

  • Clean the gasket regularly. The rubber gasket around the washing machine door creates nooks and crannies that capture pet hair. Use an old toothbrush or damp cloth to clear hair buildup after each cycle.
  • Check the detergent dispenser. Pet hair can also accumulate in the washing machine's detergent dispenser over time. Remove the dispenser periodically and rinse it under warm water to clean.
  • Use a pet hair removal tool. For hair that becomes stuck in the washing machine drum, use a pet hair remover brush or lint roller for laundry appliances. The sticky surfaces grab and capture hair.
  • Run the washing machine’s cleaning cycle. Most modern washing machines have a cleaning cycle. Use this cycle with washing machine cleaner to flush pet hair and residue. If your washing machine doesn’t have a cleaning cycle, toss a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar inside the drum and run a normal hot water cycle.


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


Pet hair FAQ

Can I use tennis balls in the dryer?

Tennis balls lack the soft, dense wool fiber of natural wool dryer balls. While they provide some tumbling agitation, tennis balls don’t effectively capture pet hair or deliver the other benefits of dryer balls, such as static reduction and softening.

Are plastic dryer balls as effective as wool balls for pet hair?

Plastic dryer balls simply cannot match the pet hair-removing power of 100% premium wool dryer balls. Plastic balls lack wool's coarse and static-attracting fibers. They also struggle to grab loose fur from clothes during drying cycles. 

Do wool dryer balls collect human hair?

Wool dryer balls attract and remove human hair from laundry. Their rough wool texture creates enough static to trap hair shed by people and pets during the drying process.

How can I remove coarse hair from laundry?

Add six or more wool dryer balls when running a load containing coarse hair. The increased ball count produces the tumbling agitation required to dislodge stubborn hair. After the cycle, wipe the dryer drum clean of captured hair.

Do you put anything on wool dryer balls?

You don’t have to put any additional cleaners, detergents, or fabric softeners on wool dryer balls. The balls work through the agitation of their natural fibers. For a fresh scent, spritz our essential oil scenting spray, or add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Do wool dryer balls get moldy?

Our high-quality 100% wool dryer balls resist mold and mildew growth when used and stored properly. Any moisture collected from laundry dries quickly once our dryer balls return to room temperature. Avoid leaving damp balls in the dryer long-term.

Further reading

Wool dryer balls vs dryer sheets

What are the best natural fabric softener substitutes?

How can I add essential oil to my wool dryer balls?

Why is the dryer making my clothes smell burnt?

Do dryer balls have a scent?

Are dryer balls healthy?