Should you add dryer balls to your grocery list when you go pick up laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and other items for your washer and dryer to do your daily loads of laundry? As it turns out, the answer to the question, "do dryer balls work?" is not super clear, particularly whether or not dryer balls really help your drying cycle and result in shorter drying times.
What Are Dryer Balls?
Let's go over the basics first. Dryer balls are inventions that are supposed to help prevent laundry from clumping together in the dryer while you're drying your wet clothes, according to Maytag.
These items can be wool dryer balls (specifically, some people like organic wool dryer balls), plastic dryer balls, or rubber dryer balls. Some people also go really DIY and throw in tennis balls as dryer balls to help with large loads or bigger items like drying large blankets or duvet covers.
Why Do People Use Dryer Balls?
Dryer balls are also seen as a more natural alternative to both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners, according to ElectraFix. Even natural fabric softeners are generally one-use only, so for people looking to be more eco-friendly, something you can use over and over again might seem appealing.
Before going through the drying process, you are supposed to throw in one of these dryer balls to reduce static electricity, shorten drying times, and further soften your laundry after it comes out of the washing machine. They can supposedly lessen static cling and fluff up your clothes more than a load without a dryer ball would, but the science behind these claims isn't clear.
Do Dryer Balls Work?
In fact, a Popular Mechanics article from October 2009 found that it was "difficult to detect a noticeable difference -- other than increased noise -- when drying with the balls." It added, upon experimentation, "the machine performed basically the same with or without the balls inside." Bummer.
Still, if you'd really like to see if dryer balls help with fluffing up your laundry or help your clothes dryer finish drying your clothes faster, you can always go ahead and test the theory for yourself with a dryer ball from Amazon or your favorite home goods retailer.