Overhauling Laundry: Dryer Sheet to Dryer Balls

I have learned over the past month, that one cannot spend too much time on Whole30 recipe sites without being overwhelmed with information about chemicals.  Chemicals in foods.  Chemicals in skincare.  Chemicals in cleaning supplies.  And, yes, chemicals in laundry products.  So Many Chemicals.

I’m sure not all these chemicals are the harmful, silent killers that draw their victims into a slow & painful death that the websites might have you to believe.  But I bet some of them are.  I’m sure there are some that are linked to all kinds of awfulness.  It’s just so hard to know the absolute truth on such things.  This is the point where you have to decided if the risk is worth it.  And, honestly, depending on how inconvenienced I am by a substitute, will often determine whether that risk is worth taking or not.  Sad.  But true. And you know you fall into the same category so turn your judgment-alert light off.

Back to laundry.

My overhaul began with the beloved dryer sheet.  Dryer sheets do 2 things in my opinion.  First, they get rid of that pesky static electricity and second, they make clothes smell clean & freshly laundered.  But according to the internet, {which we know tells the truth always & is to be believed at all times ;)} dryer sheets are fairly close to Satan and are to be deeply feared.  {another article to keep you up at night here}.  How can something that smells so wonderful be so evil? I decided to research alternatives.

Welcome Dryer Balls.

dryer balls

To make:

I made up a batch of these balls one afternoon.  The process is quite simple.  Using 100% wool yarn, roll it into a ball until it is about the size of a tennis ball.  Tuck the loose end way inside the ball using a crochet hook.  Soak each ball in a bowl of hot water for 15-ish minutes.  Place the balls in a nylon to hold them together.  Then dry on high heat in your dryer.  Viola!  Dryer Balls.  You can also purchase felted wool dryer balls on sites like Etsy.

dryer balls 2

To use:

Throw them all into the dryer with your clothes & dry as normal.  The dryer balls bounce around in between the clothes to fluffen {is that a word?} and separate.  I’ll warn you, they are loud bouncing and banging around in that drum for the whole cycle.


I very much like that there are no chemicals in these.  I do think that they do a good job of fluffing the clothes.  I said that I felt like dryer sheets have two purposes; remove static & make clothes smell fresh.  First the freshness.  Dryer balls do not make clothes smell fresh.  I have tried suggestions of adding essential oils to the balls at the beginning of the cycle, at the middle of the cycle & towards the end of the cycle.  Mattered none.  No scent was left on the clothes.  However, I have come to think that I like that.  I don’t want to smell like the laundry aisle at Target.  I’m coming to the liking of no scent is a good scent.

Next let’s talk about static.  I don’t think that they eliminate static the way that I would like them too.  {read, at all}  Luckily I ran across another dryer ball user with the same concern.  She told me about her remedy – safety pins!  Simply take a hand towel and pin a safety pin in each corner.  Throw it in with your dryer balls and wet clothes.  I’m not kidding.  This works!  I am sure there is a brilliant scientific explanation to it, but I’m a little short on science knowledge, so I’ll just leave it at “It works!”.

I don’t know if dryer sheets are “bad” or not.  But I think the alternative I’ve found is as effective & doesn’t cause me a whole lot of extra work.  So I’ll stick with it.  And if I benefit from not having chemicals rubbing against my skin all day everyday that might cause me harm later on – winner, winner!

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