These fuzzy orbs are all the rage.

Wool dryer balls are tennis ball-sized orbs that you add to a wet load of clothes before tossing them into your dryer. They allegedly shorten a cycle, help evenly dry larger items like comforters, and leave laundry feeling fluffier. But how true are those claims? Here, two laundry experts weigh in.

wool dryer balls
Credit: Getty / Shan Huang

Wool Dryer Balls, Explained

According to Sean Busch, the CEO and co-founder of Puracy, wool dryer balls are generally biodegradable, and they can replace wasteful or harmful products, such as dryer sheets and fabric softener. But not all iterations are created equal. Busch suggests checking the origin of the wool and resources used to create the product—and how they both impact the environment. "Some wool may also be cleaned or brightened with harsh chemicals," he explains.

How They Work

Not sure how these things actually work? Wool dryer balls' round shape prevents laundry from clumping up, explains Lindsey Boyd, the co-founder of The Laundress. "This also helps to speed up drying time by up to 25 percent."

While we all love the idea of shorter drying cycles—this translates to less energy used and, therefore, a reduced impact on the environment—and sustainable static reduction, some of us might miss the added aroma dryer sheets bring to the table. But don't fret—Boyd has a foolproof suggestion: "Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the wool dryer balls prior to using them," she explains.

Mind the Drying Time

While some loads of laundry dry quickly, others take twice the time. Adding wool dryer balls into the mix can reduce that timeline; they drum against the those large-scale items, preventing pockets of moisture from forming. Still, certain fabrics just hold onto water longer. "It's also important to consider the type of fabrics you're drying," Busch says. "Some fabrics are naturally more prone to static and longer dry times."

Use the Right Detergent

A high-performance laundry detergent should eliminate the need for additional products, such as dryer balls, dryer sheets, and fabric softener, says Busch. "Choosing a high-concentration, enzyme-based detergent will remove build-up from the fabrics, thus making them fluffier and reducing static," he says. "If your detergent is performing correctly, you should not need additional products during the dry cycle."


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