We all know how dryer sheets and fabric softener make our clothes smell incredible. However, they often contain artificial fragrances and toxic chemicals that stick to clothes and rub off on your skin. With repeated use, they can be damaging to your overall health, especially if you have sensitive skin or suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma.
Dryer balls are a great alternative to traditional dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Not only do they soften clothes, but they can even reduce drying time by 30%!
You can simply add 2–3 drops of your favorite essential oil blend to get your clothes smelling great while being non-toxic and completely safe.
So, if you’re trying to make a conscious effort to live a more natural and simple way of life, then you’ve come to the right place.
Read below our guide on how to use dryer balls with essential oils and make your laundry routine a bit more pleasant!
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The Advantages of Using Dryer Balls
After using dryer balls just once, you’ll never go back to using dryer sheets or fabric softener. They’re environmentally friendly and non-toxic, compared to their store-bought alternatives that come laden with synthetic fragrances and harmful chemicals.
Plus, dryer balls do a far better job of making your clothes feel and smell terrific.
Here are some benefits of dryer balls:
Dryer balls last longer than conventional fabric softeners and single-use dryer sheets, which makes them more cost-effective in the long run. It’s estimated that you can use the same dryer balls for up to 1,000 loads of laundry!
We also found that dryer balls last longer when refreshed after each use.
To do this, place each ball separately in a sock and tie off the opening. Then, toss them in a hot water wash cycle followed by a drying cycle.
This method of refreshing dryer balls ensures they regain their shape. It also helps compress the fibers back together for longer use.
Dryer balls are generally sold three in a package. This is convenient because it’s just the right amount you need for a standard load of laundry.
However, if you have a particularly larger load, you can always add another dryer ball or two.
On average, a set of dryer balls can cost around $10–$20, depending on the number of balls in the set and their size.
Yes, they may cost more than the typical box of dryer sheets. But, dryer balls are definitely worth that initial expense because they last longer than store-bought dryer sheets and are better for the environment.
Also, because they reduce drying time, they bring down your overall energy costs.
Less Static Cling
As the tumble dryer bounces around, the balls lift and separate the clothes. This makes them soft and fluffy.
It also reduces static cling that builds up in the dryer.
This is a good time to note that if you’re having a difficult time preventing static cling build-up, you can always spray the dryer balls with a light mist of water before throwing them in the dryer.
Another tip for eliminating static cling is to place a safety pin on the dryer balls. The science behind this trick is that when the pin comes in contact with the metal of the dryer, electrons are discharged away from the clothing and into the drum.
Another benefit is that they help fight wrinkles. This means you don’t have to iron as much, which is a definite plus in our book!
By separating the different fabrics, they also cut back on drying time because they allow for better circulation of the warm air in the dryer.
So, you pay less on your energy bills and you get to help save the environment at the same time.
Additionally, if you’re using wool balls as opposed to rubber or plastic, you’re cutting back on waste. Remember, wool is an all-natural, biodegradable material. So, when you eventually do throw them out, you can be happy knowing that they’ll completely break down and become part of nature once again.
Types of Dryer Balls
Dryer balls are sometimes referred to as ‘wool’ dryer balls because they’re typically made of tightly compressed wool. Yet, some brands make them out of rubber or plastic.
Here’s a quick rundown of each material so you know which type to choose to get a perfect load of clean laundry each time.
Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are all-natural, long-lasting, and eco-friendly. Their best feature is their ability to absorb moisture from the garments much better than the plastic or rubber variants.
They also do a good job of softening clothes, preventing garments from clumping together, and cutting back on drying time.
They do come with a couple of downsides, however.
The first is that they’re not as long-lasting as plastic or rubber. Yet, keep in mind that they’re made from 100% natural fibers, which makes them much more environmentally friendly than plastic or rubber. They also contain antibacterial properties.
Another drawback is that some wool ball varieties can shed woolen lint on your clothes, especially brand-new balls, which can be annoying for some people. Yet, the good news is that there are a couple of ways you can prevent the balls from shedding lint.
One is to use high-quality balls. These usually come tightly felted, which means there are no loose fibers shedding on your clothes.
Another option is the first time you use wool dryer balls, throw them in with a few wet towels rather than with your clothes. This way, all the loose lint will come out on the towels and your clothes will be spared.
Rubber and Plastic Dryer Balls
Rubber and plastic dryer balls are more durable than their wool counterparts. Their most striking feature is that some are covered with bumpy spikes or nodules.
These bumps work to separate layers of fabric even further as they roll around in the dryer. As a result, clothes come out softer, less wrinkled, and with reduced static cling buildup.
They’re also a better option if you want to avoid the hassle of dealing with any potential fiber shedding that can result from wool dryer balls.
Using Dryer Balls with Essential Oils
We’ve talked a bit about dryer balls in general, their benefits, and what they’re made of. Now, let’s talk about another bonus of using these fluffy white balls in your dryer: how they can make your clothes smell nice.
Adding Your Favorite Essential Oils
The most common way is to purchase the oils and dryer balls separately and add a couple of drops of essential oil to 3–4 wool dryer balls.
Next, place them in the clothes dryer and bounce them around for a minute or two. This will help the balls absorb all the oil and reduce the risk of any oil getting on your clothes.
After that, you have two choices.
The first option is to toss your laundry in the dryer with the scented dryer balls right at the start of the dry cycle. Then, enjoy all the advantages of having your clothes come out with the subtle smell of your favorite all-natural fragrance like tea tree, lavender, or chamomile essential oils.
When used for the full cycle, the subtle scent on the balls should last for about 3 to 5 loads, depending on the amount of oil you add to each ball.
Your second option is to toss in the dryer balls after the drying cycle is done.
Start by adding the oils to dryer balls. Wait until the drying cycle is done before tossing them in. Then, run the dryer for an additional 5–10 minutes.
With this method, you’ll use fewer drops of oil while getting a stronger scent.
Scented Wool Dryer Balls
Some brands of wool dryer balls come pre-infused with essential oils. These can range from sandalwood and citrus to sage and lavender oil. Scented dryer balls are commonly wool because wool preserves scents better than rubber or plastic.
Another option you can find on the market is a laundry kit that comes with three dryer balls and your choice of essential oil. Most of these kits also feature a dropper for added convenience.
The Best Essential Oils for Dryer Balls
We’ve come up with some of the best essential oils to use with your dryer balls for maximum effect.
- Bergamot: an uplifting scent ideal for towels and bed linens because of its calming effect and therapeutic properties
- Cedarwood: a warm, woodsy scent; perfect for stored linens because it’s great at deterring moths and has antifungal properties
- Eucalyptus: invigorating herbaceous subtle scent; ideal for bath linens and towels; not ideal for children
- Lavender: a floral scent known for being soothing and calming, which makes it a great choice for bed and bathroom linens
- Pink grapefruit: a citrusy scent that’s uplifting and great for a much-needed pick-me-up any time of the day
- Sweet orange: does a wonderful job of refreshing stale laundry and reducing anxiety levels
- Eucalyptus and lemon: a combination of fresh, clean, and cozy scents
- Lavender and orange: a blend of citrus and floral fragrances
- Cedarwood and lemon: a mix of subtle scents that’s fresh, clean, and woodsy
If you want to try your hand at making your own, there are a ton of essential oil recipes to try.
The Risks of Using Essentials Oils with Dryer Balls
It’s important to mention that some people advise against using essential oils with dryer balls, especially those made of wool. They believe that the oils are flammable, which increases the risk of a fire hazard.
Nevertheless, if you’re adamant about using essential oils, you can always research the different types of oils available on the market and pick the ones with a high flash point.
The flash point of any oil is the minimum temperature at which it can give off enough vapor to ignite. Each type has a different flash point. Those with higher flash points are better at handling high temperatures, which means they’re less likely to burst into flames.
Most dryers can reach high temperatures ranging between 125℉ and 135℉. So, when you choose an essential oil, pick one with a flash point that’s higher than the maximum temperature of your dryer.
This will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are safe from any potential fire hazards.
Alternatives to Using Essential Oils with Dryer Balls
If you’d rather not use essential oils at all, there are several alternatives that will make your clothes smell just as pleasant.
Many people recommend using a mixture of water and vinegar in a ratio of 1:1. When this mixture is added to dryer balls, it’ll give your clothes a lovely, fresh scent without leaving behind any vinegary smell.
Another alternative is to wait until your clothes are washed and dried. Then, place them in your closet next to scented sachets or pouches filled with white rice or dried flowers.
You can also dip a dozen cotton balls in your favorite essential oil. Then, spread them out on various shelves in your closet and in the corners of your dresser drawers.
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To Sum Up
Essential oils and dryer balls are two terrific components of living a natural and simple lifestyle. They’re easy to use, long-lasting, and cost-effective.
That’s why learning how to use dryer balls with essential oils can help you save time and money. Not to mention, they’re a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and cut back on energy usage.
Test out the essential oils listed above or come up with your own custom blend. Either way, you’ll enjoy clothes that smell amazing and come with natural aromatherapy benefits.