I first read about Wool Dryer Balls a few weeks ago and was intrigued by them. They are supposed to not only soften your laundry, but also decrease dryer time. I’m not a huge fan of dryer sheets because of the film they leave on the cloths. Normally I use vinegar in the rinse cycle for softening, but the automatic dispenser of our washer has never worked and I often miss the rinse cycle. So for this reason I was happy to give Smart Sheep 100% Wool Dryer Balls a review on my blog.
The Smart Sheep Dryer Balls are made of 100% Wool and come in a pack of six. They are re-useable and designed to work by bouncing around and increasing air flow around clothing. This in turn allows for a quicker dry time and fluffier, softer laundry. So, they not only help the environment by using less energy, but they are better for your health and wallet as well. They are completely natural and free of chemical dyes and perfumes. There’s no gunky stuff left on your cloths, and no sheet to toss out. They’re actually made to be used thousands of times, so one package will last you a very, very long time.
So, the big question is do they actually work? I did about five loads of laundry with these dryer balls today and my answer is yes, they do seem to work pretty well. I had actually done some reading on these before ever trying them and most people agree that they make your laundry softer. I read mixed reviews about the decreased drying time, but can say that from my experience so far they DO help the laundry dry faster.
We have a pretty small dryer and the instructions say to use anywhere from three to six balls depending on the size of the load. I used three balls in all cases. I purposely did not use any vinegar in the rinse cycle or any other type of fabric freshener or softener. My first load included towels and bathroom rugs, the second load was sheets and the other loads were all general laundry. One thing I wanted to note was that I tossed a twin sized sheet in with my last load of laundry (hate it when there’s one thing left over). Normally the cloths would get all tangled in the sheet during dry time, but with the balls this didn’t happen. Not that I’m advocating bad laundry practice, but thought I’d mention it! Another item worth mentioning is that our microfiber kitchen towels normally come out of the dryer with all sorts of little fuzz balls on them and I found that to be greatly decreased when drying with these balls. That tells me that the balls probably are indeed helping to lift and move the laundry around a bit more. Static wise I still noticed a little, but it was pretty minimal. My cloths were soft. I’m not sure they were any softer than my vinegar method, but certainly as soft.
The above photo should give you an idea of how long they will last. You can see the five times used ball on the left and a brand new one on the right. The photo doesn’t show it very well, but the used ball is actually a bit fluffed up now and just slightly bigger than the new one. It also has a small amount of piling on it (from the laundry). According to Smart Sheep’s instructions this will actually increase the softening of the laundry. I’m a little unclear on how you will know when it is time to replace them, but they say they will eventually develop pitting – too much pitting and I’d say it is probably time to replace. Either way, they say the average use time is between three to five years and that is a LOT of laundry!
So all in all I’d give these balls a thumbs up and will continue to use them. I only noticed two very minor downsides to using these ball: First, the balls have a different kind of smell to them (can’t really describe it as bad, just different), but I didn’t notice any smell at all on any of the laundry. Second, they tend to make a slight thumping noise as they go through the drying cycle. It isn’t nearly as loud as a tennis ball and there’s no damage what so ever to the dryer (they are too soft for that). Of course you should probably not use these if you are allergic to wool as well. Other than that I was impressed and would indeed recommend them to anyone looking for a healthier and more economical solution to dryer sheets.
You can pick up a 6-Pack of Smart Sheep Dryer Balls on Amazon.com for $19.95 and they are eligible for free shipping. You can also get a 3-pack for $12.95. At this time they are getting a nearly five-star review rating, so be sure and take a look!
I was provided with six Smart Sheep Dryer Balls for the purpose of this review and no other compensation was received. All opinions are my own. You can read my Disclosure Policy here.