Skip to content

What Do Tumble Dryer Balls Do?

ball in tumble dryer

You want your clothes to leave the dryer feeling soft, wrinkle-free, and static-free. Too often, your clothes come out stiff and staticky, but there’s a simple solution…

Enter – tumble dryer balls, which improve airflow between clothing, speeding up drying times, and improving softness.

Small Balls, Big Impact? (… that’s what she said)

if you have any allergies to fabric softening or don’t want the added expense of having more laundry cleaning products, then dryer balls are a good alternative.

You only need to buy (or make) dryer balls once and use them as many times as you like to get softer, smoother fabrics out of your dryer, and with the bonus of helping laundry dry quicker, they’ll save you some money on your electricity, as the driver won’t need to run as long.

These economic balls can replace softened and makes ironing much easier. In fact, many people find that they don’t even need to steam iron their clothes, as dryer balls do such a good job at reducing wrinkles.

The principle behind dryer balls is simple: while the drum of the dryer rotates, the dryer balls also spin around there. They roll over the laundry, move it and lift it so that the warm air can get everywhere – with the result that the fabric fibres smooth themselves out.

When using the balls, more is more. To get the best results, you use up to four balls on a half-full drum, and with a full load, use up to eight balls.

Ball Materials

Dryer Balls are available in a variety of materials, most commonly – heat resistant plastic (PVC) or rubber, sheep’s wool, ceramic, aluminium (tin foil), even clean tennis balls can be used. While some have smooth, slightly rough surfaces, some balls have soft spikes and are more reminiscent of a massage ball. Whichever version you choose – they all work equally well and won’t harm your delicate fabrics, although some have their slight advantages, disadvantages over others, which we’ll get into.

Plastic or Rubber Balls

plastic tumble dryer balls

The plastic variant is usually covered with knobs or small tips. As a result, the items of laundry are additionally massaged and patted softly. This makes the laundry even fluffier. Even heavy items of laundry can be moved easily in this way.

The plastic balls are therefore most common and particularly effective. Some of the balls are equipped with an additional fragrance chamber. If this is filled, the scent is transferred to the laundry, so you’re still getting the fragrance benefits provided by fabric softened, without using any fabric softener liquids.

Disadvantage: The hard plastic can be noisy when bouncing off the inside of the metal dryer drum, and the hard outer knobs of the balls can be hard of delicate materials. In addition, sometimes a chemical smell can come from them when drying at high temperatures.

Ideal for:

  • Heavy items of laundry (towels, bedding, thick knitwear, denim)

Wool Dryer Balls

Mostly New Zealand sheep’s wool is used for these balls, which is of great quality. Some of the balls are also made of felt, which also works fine. The natural fibres are biodegradable, suitable for allergy sufferers and particularly gentle on washing.

The wool balls are also a good choice for pet owners: The balls can collect animal hair that is hanging on clothing. In the dryer itself, they are also significantly quieter than plastic balls.

For fragrant laundry, you can put a few drops of essential oils on the wool balls before using them in the dryer. You don’t have to worry about stains on your clothes. Despite their name, essential oils do not consist of fats but of water vapour. They, therefore, evaporate very quickly and, above all, completely, so that they do not leave any stains.

When using these essential oils, your tumble dryer blows out a lovely smell and becomes like a giant home fragrance machine.

Ideal for:

  • Delicate items of laundry
  • Baby clothes
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Animal hair on clothing

Ceramic Laundry Balls

With its porous surface and the hollow core dryer balls made of ceramic have two additional advantages: The rough surface is grippy, moving fabrics more easily so that these better loosen items for better warm airflow. The hollow core can also be filled with water. As soon as the temperature inside the dryer rises, the water in the ball also heats up and begins to evaporate. The water vapour reaches the laundry through the ceramic, which is conveniently smoothed, and like wool balls, these can work well with essential oils for fragrance.

Ideal for:

  • Allergy sufferers
  • Baby clothing and bedding
  • Heavy items of laundry
  • Heavily wrinkled clothes

Make Aluminum Foil Balls

Make your own dryer balls from tinfoil. If aluminium foil is crumpled up into tight small balls, it does a good job in the dryer. The aluminium balls ensure that the laundry does not charge-static To help create a perfectly round shape, wrap the foil around a tennis ball and put it in the dryer.

Ideal for:

  • Synthetic fabrics that quickly become statically charged
  • Insensitive clothing

Level Up Your Drying With Tumble Dryer Balls

Dryer balls ensure fluffy, soft laundry – if they are filled with essential oils or other fragrances, they also make your clothes smell good so that you can do without the fabric softener. There are basically two ways to do this.

Scented dryer balls: Some plastic balls can already be bought with scented items. The selection ranges from natural smells such as lemon or apple to exotic aromas such as sea breeze. Some plastic dryer balls also have a small recess. You can insert small incense sticks into these, which you can buy with the dryer balls.

Essential oils: If you use wool dryer balls instead, you can smell them yourself with a few drops of essential oils.

Here’s how to do this:

Depending on the desired intensity of the scent, put five to ten drops of oil or different oils directly onto a ball and then place it in the dryer as usual with the wet laundry. Repeat this step with the other balls that you put in the dryer.

Put the same amount of oil, about five to ten drops per ball, in an airtight container, such as a larger mason jar. Shake the jar until the oil has spread around the rim of the jar.

Now put the dry balls in the glass and shake it again. If the balls were completely dry, you can also store them in the glass. This has the advantage that they absorb the scent even more strongly.

Dryer balls with fragrance chambers: This variant can be found on most ceramic and also some plastic balls. The inside of the balls is hollow and can be filled. To do this, add water to the interior according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

As a rule, the cavity of the ball can be completely filled. Now add a few drops of oil. Depending on the desired intensity of the scent, you can also use five to ten drops per ball here. In the dryer, the water in the ball heats up and gives off its fragrant scent via steam.

Essential oils for your dryer ball are available in a wide variety of fragrances. The individual fragrances can also be mixed together. Particularly nice combinations:

  • Mint and orange
  • Lavender and rose
  • Grapefruit and lemon
  • Rosemary and lavender
  • Cinnamon and orange
  • Eucalyptus and lemon
  • Mint and lime

Ball Care Tips

Dryer balls made of wool, felt or ceramic should be stored in the open air after use. To save space, you can also store the balls in the air-permeable fabric bag. Plastic dryer balls are easier to care for and can be stored in a closed box. After being used in the dryer, all balls are immediately ready for the next round.

Related: Vented Tumble Dryer vs Condenser Tumble

No Harm in Giving Dryer Balls a Go

You definitely do not want to spend money on a useless household appliance. This risk is low with dryer balls: the acquisition costs are very low and the balls last for a few years before they lose their shape or the material becomes brittle and they have to be replaced. During this time you can save yourself expensive dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

In addition, the clothes come out of the dryer with fewer wrinkles. This also saves you time when ironing.

Whether the miracle balls also save time during drying and thus energy and electricity costs – there are different experiences. Just give it a try, there’s nothing to lose, and you will definitely be delighted with fluffy laundry!