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How and Why We Use Wool Dryer Balls [Everything You Need to Know]

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How and Why We Use Wool Dryer Balls [Everything You Need to Know]

One of the best things about the eco-friendly movement is that it never stops progressing. We are always finding ways to improve on old products or create new ones. And whether we’re creating, selling, or buying eco-friendly products, we’re firmly at the forefront of change.

From eco-friendly dryer balls to dental floss and bamboo products (bamboo floss to bamboo soap dishes), there are countless ways to make our homes and habits more planet-friendly. And through both small steps and big steps, every eco-friendly swap pushes us further in the right direction.

We’re working hard to leave a better legacy to the generations that come after us. And we’re so glad you’re here with us! Now, let’s talk about how everyone’s new favorite laundry product, reusable dryer balls, fits into those plans.  

What Are Wool Dryer Balls and What Do They Do?

wool dryer balls

Wool dryer balls are a great, all-natural way to soften and de-wrinkle your clothes. And because they work faster than single-use dryer sheets, they use less energy. This means that they’re better for the environment and better for your energy bills!

Our reusable dryer balls are made from pure, 100% wool from New Zealand. They are synthetic fragrance and dye-free, so they’re great for everyday use and excellent for those with sensitive skin or allergies, too.

Traditional dryer sheets often irritate the skin. This can be a problem if you have young children or anyone in your home has allergies or other sensitivities. Pure, energy-efficient New Zealand wool eliminates this problem and others.

While it may seem strange to go all the way to New Zealand for wool, they’re known for producing the best quality wool in the world. This is proof that we settle for nothing less than perfection! Each reusable drawstring bag comes with six three-inch dryer balls.

How Do We Use Wool Dryer Balls?

wool dryer balls

Thankfully, wool dryer balls are incredibly easy to use, so there won’t be a learning curve or difficult transition away from single-use dryer sheets. That’s right, you use them the same way you would a dryer sheet; just throw in your wet clothes, add your dryer balls, and start the dryer.

This is one of the easiest eco-friendly products to transition to because they’re just as simple and easy to use as their traditional counterparts. Some will take some adjusting, but this one will be nice and simple.

But how many reusable dryer balls should you use at a time? We recommend throwing between three and five dryer balls in with your clothes, depending on the size of the laundry load. For small to medium loads, three should be enough. For large loads of laundry, try using five.

If you feel as if five didn’t achieve maximum efficiency, use six for this size load next time. Once you throw in the dryer balls and start the dryer, you’re done. Now, you can sit back and let these magical eco-friendly wool balls make your dryer more efficient!

The best way to learn what works for you is to just try them out and alter your method next time if needed. This applies to the number of dryer balls, different scent options, and options for cleaning them when you need to.

How Do You Clean Wool Dryer Balls?

wool dryer balls

Every 100 loads or so, you may notice that your dryer balls have gone a bit dull. Not to worry, they’ll still be effective for hundreds and hundreds more, and you can just clean them off in the meantime. What this does is recharge them, so they remain effective for longer.

There are two easy ways to clean them: wash them by hand and let them air dry or put them through the washing machine and dryer. Throwing them in the washing machine will be less work but may also cause them to lose their shape and structure faster.

To clean them this way, simply throw them in with your next load of laundry. If you’re hand washing them instead, use a mixture of mild laundry soap and warm water. Be sure that the water is warm rather than hot. Hot water will unravel the wool faster.

Whichever cleaning method you choose, let them fully dry before you store them. This will help lengthen their life by preventing them from retaining moisture or picking up odors between uses. Try to keep them in a well-ventilated area rather than storing them tightly in a bag or other air-tight container.

With either method, hand-wash or machine wash, you’ll only have to do this about ten times per one thousand laundry loads. Between washes, you can also gently apply a razor or sweater depiller to remove lint.

But this isn’t always necessary, as lint buildup is normal and shouldn’t impair the dryer balls much, if at all. Pilling is also normal and nothing to worry about. All pilling does is increase the surface friction and make the dryer balls even more effective!

Why Are Reusable Dryer Balls Better Than Single-Use Dryer Sheets?

dryer sheets

Single-use, disposable products, dryer sheets included, are a significant contributor to ocean waste. They’re not recyclable, take a long time to decompose, and clog up our landfills and waterways. Traditional dryer sheets are made from synthetic polyester and chemicals.

These chemicals can be harmful to the environment, which means that they’re not only taking up space for years after they’re thrown away but actively polluting our planet while they’re there, too. They’re not biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable.

While we don’t know exactly how long it takes for them to decompose, we do know that they stick around for years when we’re done using them. Alternatively, reusable dryer balls are composable and natural, eliminating these problems.

Our cruelty-free and compostable dryer balls reduce drying time and energy consumption on literally thousands of laundry loads. They’re safe for both standard and HE machines, so you don’t have to worry about them damaging your dryer while they work.

How Long do Wool Dryer Balls Last?

So, now you know how and why to use reusable dryer balls. Now, you might be wondering: how long do wool dryer balls last? Ours can last up to an impressive 1,000 loads. And when they’re worn out, you don’t have to worry about what happens to them next.

Our wool dryer balls are 100% biodegradable at the end of their lives. We recommend replacing them when the wool starts to unravel. This is when they become less useful and won’t improve your machine’s efficiency any longer.

What Do I Do with My Old Wool Dryer Balls After I Get New Ones?

The simple answer is that you can throw away or compost your dryer balls when you’re done with them. But there are a few other answers that are a bit more fun. We love recycling, upcycling, and reusing here at EcoRoots.

And we’ve found ways to give many products a second life.

Here are a couple of practical suggestions:

  • Drop a few drops of essential oils onto your old dryer balls and tuck them into corners of the house that could use some freshening up.
  • Drip your favorite essential oil onto your old dryer balls and place them in different closets to freshen up your towels, linens, or clothes.

If you’ve still got old dryer balls left to work with, here are a few fun suggestions:

  • Use your old dryer balls to play soft indoor catch or living room bowling.
  • Use your old dryer balls to learn how to juggle.
  • Give your old dryer balls to your cat to wrestle and chase around the house.

If you choose to give your old dryer balls to your pets to play with, be sure that any essential oils you’ve added during or after use are safe for animals first. You can find this information on the essential oil bottle or through a quick Google search.

Do Wool Dryer Balls Smell Like Anything?

wool dryer balls

While natural wool dryer balls are unscented, there are ways to give your clothes a boost while they dry. The best and easiest is to simply apply a bit of your favorite essential oil! Just dab two to three drops on each dryer ball, then let it dry before you use it again.

The balls should take roughly one hour to dry. And don’t worry, a bit of discoloration is normal, and it won’t affect the way the balls work. But while discoloration on the dryer balls is okay, you don’t want it on your clothes.

This is why only adding a few drops at a time and letting them dry after is essential. Add more essential oils every four to five loads or as often as needed to achieve the level of scent that you prefer. After a few uses, you’ll get a better idea of what you like.

Here are a few scent suggestions if you don’t have a go-to essential oil already:

  • Lemon or orange – smells natural, bright, and fresh.
  • Grapefruit – smells natural, uplifting, and fresh.
  • Lavender – has calming properties and a pleasant floral scent, which is why it is often used for soaps, anxiety-related aromatherapy, and pillow sprays.
  • Peppermint – an enticing, wintery unisex option that will work for the whole family.
  • Pine or cedar– a slightly more masculine, outdoorsy, and natural-smelling option.
  • Cinnamon – a warm, full, spice-based scent that reminds us of something fresh-baked.

If you prefer a scent that’s closer to what you’re used to with traditional dryer sheets, they make fresh linen essential oils, too. Choosing one like this might further ease the transition from dryer sheets to dryer balls because now both the process and the scent will be just about the same.

In addition to making your laundry smell better, there are other benefits to using essential oils. Many of them naturally kill bacteria and other microbes, which can help us fight off everyday colds and viruses. Rosemary, for example, is a natural immune system booster.

Choose one of the essential oils listed above or do a bit of research to see which ones best provide the benefits or types of scents you’re looking for. There are plenty to choose from and endless laundry-boosting opportunities!

But remember that you can also leave them unscented if you have skin sensitivities, allergies, or prefer the purest level of clean; clean clothes have no smell. This part is all about preferences; there is no right or wrong way.

What to Look for in Reusable Dryer Balls

The best way to ensure that you’re getting a truly eco-friendly product is to take a look at its ingredients or materials and packaging. For example, a reusable dryer ball that contains a synthetic mix of plastic or plastic and wool is not 100% eco-friendly.

But a 100% wool dryer ball is. The same logic applies to the packaging. We don’t like when eco-friendly products are shipped in plastic because it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. At Eco Roots, we ship in cardboard or other compostable or biodegradable packaging.

When it comes to dryer balls, you may also want to look at the size and color. Brightly colored dryer balls would contain synthetics that you may not want to send rolling around in your dryer with your clean clothes.

The best wool dryer balls, including ours, are a soft white because they’re 100% natural, compostable wool. And the last thing you may want to pay attention to is the size of the dryer ball. Any ball larger than a three-inch diameter may make your dryer significantly noisier.  

Three-inch dryer balls seem to be the perfect size for fast drying, maximum efficiency, long-term use, and minimal additional noise. You can also prevent them from making additional noise by putting them in between laundry items in the dryer rather than throwing them in first or on top of your clothes. They’ll work the same way and make less contact with the walls of the dryer.

But don’t worry, wool is a gentle material, so even when it’s shaped into a thick ball, it won’t bang around in your dryer like a tennis ball or one made from plastic. These dryer balls are designed to be eco-friendly and home-friendly, no matter where they land in your dryer.

The Best Wool Dryer Balls

wool dryer balls

The best wool dryer balls are 100% natural, non-synthetic, small enough to prevent making an excessive amount of noise, sturdy enough to last for up to one thousand loads, and 100% biodegradable. Thankfully, our dryer balls are all of this and more!

We know how important it is for us all to have access to affordable, planet-friendly products. That’s why we’re paving the way to an eco-friendly future, one incredible product at a time. And we especially love the ones that are as easy to use as this one.

In the next section, we’ll talk a bit more about another product you can add to your laundry lineup.

Building Better Habits with EcoRoots

zero waste laundry detergent


Reusable wool dryer balls provide a better, more efficient way to dry our laundry. They are a great all-natural way to soften your clothes, eliminate chemical-heavy single-use dryer sheets, reduce wrinkles, and reduce energy usage by drying your laundry faster.

And they go great with our zero-waste laundry detergent sheets! From start to finish, these two products will give you an incredible, eco-friendly clean that you can be proud of. Learn more about zero-waste laundry detergent here. But why stop there when there are so many other easy and positive changes we can make?

Our home and kitchen and bath and beauty product lineups cover all of the everyday bases. From soap saver bags, bamboo soap disheswooden hairbrushes to zero-waste floss and natural loofahs (see the difference between loofah vs synthetic sponges here) and dozens of other items we all use every week or day, we sell practical, planet-friendly items that help us build better routines.  

We also sell convenient discount product kits that are great for those who are new to the eco-friendly movement or looking to get a bundle of related products at once. They also make great gifts! Here are the ones that we currently offer:

Get the bundle duo & save 20% on zero-waste laundry detergent sheets!

Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your family, or a friend or loved one, we are excited to support your eco-friendly journey. Click any of the links above to start shopping or browse our zero-waste blog page for more information.

We regularly update the zero-waste blog with new products, how-to guides, and DIY tips to fit your eco-friendly lifestyle. Follow along and stay up to date as we continue finding ways to build better planet-friendly routines!

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