Why I Gave Up Dryer Sheets For Dryer Balls

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Happy Friday!! I’m so glad it’s the weekend! I’m actually in Atlanta at the Haven Conference. My rockstar husband is at home with the boys and I’m sure they are having a blast. I’ve been wanting to share why I gave up dryer sheets for dryer balls for a while and today was the perfect opportunity. 🙂

Up until about two years ago, I used dryer sheets during my laundry routine. I re-used the sheets and sometimes I even cut them in half or thirds to make them last longer. When I began learning more about natural living and household toxins, I wondered about dryer sheets and did a bit of research. After discovering the potentially harmful chemicals in dryer sheets, I decided to find an alternative.

5 Reasons I Gave Up Dryer Sheets For Dryer Balls [pinit count=”horizontal”]
There are other “softeners” out there including adding vinegar or baking soda to the wash cycle, but I went with dryer balls at least for the time being. Interestingly enough, there are different kinds of dryer balls. Mine are rubber, but you can use tennis balls, aluminum foil balls {these can snag clothing} or wool balls made out of yarn.

5 Reasons Why I Love My Dryer Balls

1. Dryer balls are cheap.

All you need are two dryer balls, but I have boys at my house. Naturally any kind of ball goes missing. So, I have three sets of dryer balls and I just use what’s still in my dryer when I throw clothes in. I’ve paid anywhere from $5-$7/pair and they literally last forever. MUCH less expensive than dryer sheets.

2. They are non-toxic.

Instead of chemically ridden dryer sheets, dryer balls are safe to use.

3. Dryer balls reduce drying time.

Because the balls are bouncing around as the dryer runs, there is more air flow through the clothes. This extra movement reduces drying time.

4. They soften clothes naturally.

The balls’ motion fluffs clothing fibers which naturally softens them. Love that!

5. Dryer balls produce less lint and extend the life of clothing.

Dryer sheets are quite damaging to fabric fibers. Lint is from the constant scraping motion of dryer sheets against the fabric. The beauty of dryer balls, is that there is less “scraping” and more fluffing which both reduces lint and preserves the quality of clothes.

I haven’t had a major problem with static cling. There might be a teeny bit when I pull items from the dryer, but it dissipates quickly.

Where can you buy dryer balls? I’ve seen them at Target, TJMaxx and Hancock’s. Amazon sells them too.

So…tell me, What kind of fabric softener do you use? Have you ever thought about trying dryer balls?




  1. I use felted wool dryer balls, purchased at our local farmers market. I had asked a friend about getting static out of fleece, which should not have fabric softener in the rinse or sheets in the dryer; she suggested the wool dryer balls, and they work like a charm.

  2. I use vinegar in the rince cycle (in a Downey ball) and homemade laundry detergent – 3 ingredients, lasts forever in my family of 7. I plan on making some wool dryer balls soon tho.

      1. I use 3 cups of washing soda, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1 cup of Oxyclean. At most, you use 1 Tbsp for a very large load. You can add a grated castile soap (like Dr. Bronners) if you want. I haven’t tried it.
        Zote and the other laundry soaps actually have a lot of chemicals. Borax is also possibly toxic, so I only use it for silly putty.

        1. Your “soap” does not contain soap! Washing soda, baking soda, oxiclean (hydrogen peroxide) are great additives, but you have no surfactant!

  3. The dryer balls have another use – they are the ONLY ball my doxie hasn’t destroyed yet!

  4. I don’t use any fabric softeners, we must not have high static clothing because we rarely have problems.
    I did have a thought that may help. Have you checked Dollar Tree for Dryer Balls? I haven’t, but they may be there and they would be a lot cheaper.
    Randomly Fascinated´s last blog post ..Little Man 1 Birth Story

  5. I’ve used dryer balls for years. Whatever is in fabric softener sheets can also coat the thermostat of the dryer and cause a fire, so are not safe to use…a repair man told me that. The scents are too heavy, too, but if there are scent-free dryer sheets now, I was already using balls by that time. And while on the subject, don’t use those products that make your home smell “good.” The are TERRIBLE for your health and seep into the materials of your home and literally cannot be removed. Totally toxic.

      1. Right, like plug-ins, fragrance sprays, etc. I cannot abide the scent in all the major brands including laundry detergent, boosters, dry dusters for the floors, candles you name it. I do not know about oil burners, sorry, maybe you can do some research and inform us.

      2. I would just investigate the ingredients in the oil. I don’t use plug-ins because they are chemically-ridden.

        1. drop or two of essential oil inside the toilet paper roll is a wonderful thing for small bathrooms. also sachets in the bedroom! there are a ton of natural ways to freshen the scent of your home without harsh chemicals. these scents are really good for helping combat winter blahs and SADs. =)

  6. Love my dryer balls! We switched 10 years ago when my daughter was a baby and reacted to laundry soaps and softeners. I’ve never looked back!

  7. I love using wool felted dryer balls, and to reduce static cling, I put a safety pin on each ball.

  8. I use wool dryer balls… and LOVE them! The last ten minutes of dryer time I add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to the wool balls and my clothes come out smelling SO good! I will never go back!

  9. I never use fabric softener sheets. Most of the time I hang my clothes on the line to dry but if I did use something in the dryer I’d use some wool balls. I have some wool skeins in my knitting basket and will probably make some up soon.

  10. Most, not all, dryer balls are toxic. They are advertised as non-toxic, but it is a marketing technic. The majority of the dryer balls are made of PVC(polyvinyl chloride), which is toxic. When this material is heated, it is released into the air ruining your air quality further.

  11. OMG! At first, I thought I am running out to get me some dryer balls. THEN I read the PVC comment and started my own little investigation. It turns out that pretty much all of the dryer balls on the market, even the ones like Nelli’s who claim that they are toxin free and natural, are made of PVC!!! And they break down and put a film of toxic heated unbreathable plastic all over your clothes! One claims it is virgin PVC and I looked that up too. Turns out there is no such thing and just a marketing ploy. But I did learn about the wool balls and I will be getting some of those. Gosh, I had no idea that the regular dryer balls are so toxic to you. Thanks, Meagan, for the heads up. Myra, you should google toxic dryer balls and you won’t believe what comes up.

    1. Thanks Jackie. There’s always a bad side to any seemingly good thing you do for your family. I don’t believe everything I read on Google, but I’ll do a little digging.

      1. Please let us know after you dig. Maybe it’s true about dryer balls being toxic and only wool balls should be used. In that case, I assume you would want to revisit your advice.

          1. I just want to add to the wool dryer ball conversation. I, too, made the switch from sheets. I bought mine on Amazon choosing the Smart Sheep brand. I LOVE LOVE them and the lint is reduced 80%. Now the problem, I have a wool allergy and these balls have wreaked havoc on my skin. I use them for my husband’s jeans or his work clothes but not on anything that touches my body. I am searching for a dryer sheet alternative in a non-wool variety.

        1. Looking for latex-free dryer balls. Wool is not a good idea for me. So all the dryer balls on the market are potentially degrading petrochemicals. Guess I’ll pass. If I find a healthy solution, I’ll return!

  12. I had no idea that dryer sheets contain potentially harmful chemicals. I am going to get some dryer balls for sure! During the warmer seasons (I live in New England) we use a clothes line to dry most of our clothes. We do this to help cut back on the electric bill. Do you have any tips to soften clothes without the dryer? I know in the article you mentioned vinegar and baking soda but do you use both together and how much? Also, we wash mostly with cold water and I find that in my machine I can not use powdered detergents as they do not desolve. A good portion will stay clumped in the machine. Is there a way to make an all natural inexpensive liquid detergent? I have looked into some of the commercial liquid all natural detergents (Method, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers) but they are too expensive for the amount of laundry we do (we do about 5 to 6 loads a week).

    1. I only use cold water as well. The one I make dissolves pretty easily, I just add some water before adding the detergent. Also, you add the vinegar to the rinse cycle and the baking soda to the beginning of the wash with the soap.

      1. I was at a bridal shower today and someone gave the bride a recipe and ingredients for homemade laundry detergent costing about 5 cents a load. Then another lady piped up that she had a recipe for homemade fabric softener. Talk about timing, ha! The fabric softener had hair conditioner as one of the ingredients. Once it’s mixed up, you dip a washcloth in it. Maybe you let it dry (I didn’t hear everything) and then it goes in the dryer. You use it until you can tell it needs refreshing with more of the solution. Probably both of these recipes are easily found online.

  13. My daughter and I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin and the dr has told us to not use dryer sheets or liquid softener. I tried to go without but I just cannot stand the static and the clothes seemed to not be soft. So I went back to fabric softener. I use only a small amount. But the rubber dryer balls definitely have peeked my interest. Thanks for sharing!!
    Jenifer´s last blog post ..A Vow of Purity

  14. lots of people report good things with dryer balls but my blue rubber balls tore up my towels and some jeans. i’m not a fan and since my daughter is allergic to wool, we use vinegar in our rinse. no issues here. be careful of your balls. =)

    1. If they are made from rubber or contain latex. Latex is squeezed out of rubber trees. Then it becomes gloves, condoms, etc. In nature it protects the tree or plant its found in from insects and microorganisms. If you have a latex allergy you can have cross reactivity to many fruits and vegetables that make latex. I certainly wouldn’t allow it to degrade all over material that comes into contact with your skin. You’d also be breathing it. Your immune system will recognize and prevent it from entering your body. It can close off your airway!

  15. i made wool felted dryer balls from 100% wool yarn, fisherman style with no dyes. I found the very large skein at JoAnn’s . It made 4 tennis ball sized dryer balls. So far, they are working great. We use homemade laundry detergent. Our particular blend includes Epsom salts, helping with the softness factor.

  16. I have been exposed to latex off and on throughout my life as a medical professional. Recently I have experienced a huge problem with profound itching and some rash, wherever clothes touch, especially underwear elastic and sox, but really any washed clothes. I suspect that elastic our latex dryer balls contribute to my overall skin problems, which are becoming severe. No proof, but pretty suspicious.

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