Dryer balls vs dryer sheets

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Dryer sheets are the most common and popular way to dry clothes. Dryer balls, which are made from polyester or wool, have a different purpose. They're designed to reduce static electricity in your laundry while it's tumbling around inside the machine. Some people also believe that using them can extend the life of your clothes by reducing wear and tear on clothing fibers. But do dryer balls work?

In this article,  we'll discuss what dryer balls are, how they compare to dryer sheets, and whether you should use them in your laundry. Keep reading to find out more. 

What are Dryer sheets?

Dryer sheets are fabric softeners that you stick inside the drum of your dryer. They come in a flat or ball shape, made out of either paper or cloth and they contain lots of chemicals including; perfumes, water softeners, and preservatives.

Why I'll Never Use Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets Again
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They dissolve while tumbling with your laundry during the drying cycle and leave behind a scented fragrance.

What are dryer balls?

Dryer balls are similar to dryer sheets in some ways, but they're easier and safer to use.

The inside of each ball is filled with tiny plastic or ceramic pellets which help it glide easily around your tumble dryer without sticking to your clothes.

Similar to dryer sheets, you place them inside the drum of your machine before adding laundry. Once mixed with the clothes tumbling around inside, these products help reduce static electricity. They can also brighten fabrics by grabbing hold of loose dirt and grime as they travel around the drum.  However, using them won't replace detergents and lift stains from fabric.

If you use dryer balls, you can reduce how often you need to clean your dryer's lint trap. The little beads help remove static electricity and prevent lint from sticking to your laundry. This reduces the amount of lint that gets trapped in your machine.

Some people also believe using them can extend the life of your clothes by reducing wear and tear on clothing fibers.  However, there is no evidence to prove this is true. 

dryer balls
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Advantages of dryer balls over dryer sheets 

The biggest advantage of dryer balls over dryer sheets is that they're more cost-effective in the long run. With a pack costing only a few dollars, you can use your set for hundreds of loads. Most people who've switched to using them say they never go back to using fabric softener sheets again.  

They also last longer than dryer sheets and aren't as messy. Because dryer sheets leave behind an oily residue on clothes, many people stick to dryer balls because they're safer for their clothes and can be used with all types of laundry including delicates or dark-colored fabrics.

You don't have to worry about children being exposed to harmful chemicals as you do with dryer sheets.

Disadvantages of dryer balls over dryer sheets

Although using a set of them is cheaper in the long run, it might not be cost-effective for you to buy a set. Because they're only designed for tumbling clothes and removing static electricity, you can't use them with your washing machine or dishwasher. 

If you need something that will help reduce static cling during the drying cycle and get rid of stains, try Snuggles Fabric Softener Sheets instead. They contain no harsh chemicals, come in two scents and dissolve quickly while tumbling with your laundry. You can also put them on top of your wet laundry before starting the tumble dry setting in your dryer.

Snuggles Fabric Softener Sheets can also be used as a laundry booster by adding 4 sheets into the washing machine drum before washing clothes.  When doing this, you'll need to put your machine on the highest water level setting and add an extra rinse cycle after your standard wash. They are also suitable for use in both front and top-loading machines.

Don’t like the idea of wasting too much water? Here’s all you need to know about how much water a washing machine uses.

So what's better? Dryer balls vs dryer sheets?

If you're someone who likes using fabric softener sheets because they make laundry smell nice, then dryer balls probably aren't right for you because they don't leave behind fragrances as sheets do.  

Dryer balls also aren't as effective against color fading. If you have any brightly colored items in your laundry, using them could cause these to fade at a faster rate compared to dryer sheets because they don't contain oils that leave behind a protective barrier on clothing fibers like liquid fabric softeners do. 

Homemade versions are just as effective

There are several recipes online for making your dryer balls at home. For example, if you combine equal parts baking soda, cornstarch, and coarse salt then add some natural essential oil for scent, you'll have a homemade version that works just as well as the store-bought version.  

You can use dryer balls to speed up drying time and reduce static by adding some lavender flowers, rose petals, or dried orange peels to your mixture before molding and cutting them into equal-sized balls. Adding these will release their scent while they tumble with your laundry in the dryer and leave behind a nice smell on clothes.

What are the benefits of using dryer balls and how do they work?

Dryer balls are made up of several materials that help loosen fibers on clothing combined with their tumbling motion in the hot air produced by the dryer.  

They help clothes come out much softer compared to if you didn't use them.  Clothing can also come out free of lint or other debris that normally accumulates during the tumble drying process.  When used correctly, they're so effective at softening laundry that your clothes will feel like they came right off the clothesline. 

That's because all types of fabrics contain natural oils called “Sebum” which is essential for keeping skin and hair moisturized. When it comes into contact with heat, these oils evaporate leaving the fabric feeling crispy and rough.  Dryer balls work by separating clothes in your dryer and allowing more space for clothing fibers to move around freely so these oils can be restored more quickly. 

Soaking up the excess moisture in laundry also helps reduce drying time which is another way they make energy-efficient tumble dryers even more efficient.  This reduces wear and tear on machine components like the heating element, vents, and bearings which extends their life span.  They also help prevent lint build-up because they scrub away any residue from clothing fibers that would normally accumulate during the drying cycle.

How many dryer balls do I need to use with my laundry load?

A good rule of thumb to follow is to use 6-10 dryer balls in a large load and 3-6 for smaller loads.  Using more isn't going to make them work any better than less. They all work in roughly the same way regardless of how many you choose to use.  

Why I'll Never Use Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets Again

Final thoughts on Dryer balls vs dryer sheets

In conclusion, using dryer balls is an easy way to add a nice scent to your clothes without the use of harsh chemicals found in commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

They're also effective at reducing energy usage while doing their job of separating clothing and restoring natural oils that are essential for moisturizing skin and hair.  They're certainly a lot more environmentally friendly than using liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets which emit toxic chemicals into the water supply when they go down the drain.

By keeping the above in mind, you should be well on your way to making the switch from dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners and start saving money while helping to protect the environment. 

Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about washing machine brands to go for, why not do the opposite and learn about washing machine brands to avoid?


Ryan Copley

Ryan Copley

Having spent years participating in bathroom, kitchen, and home renovations, Ryan uses this experience to write informative blog posts on a wide variety of home renovation and kitchen topics.

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