I have a washing machine in the kitchen. What a luxury! It saves me from going down four floors to the basement and flapping around for coins. It even has an integrated dryer, although it’s pretty mediocre. One 70-minute cycle isn’t enough to get your towels cupboard dry. If you’re looking to get your laundry next-level soft and fluffy while steering clear of chemicals, wool dryer balls might be on your radar. Three 23-minute ones generate a better result, as I’m able to briefly air out the drum between cycles. This is neither time-saving nor ecological, and drives up the utility bills. Because of this, I usually let my towels air dry – just like I do with the rest of my laundry. But even with fabric softener, they never get properly soft.

Wool dryer balls are a natural, reusable alternative.

Want to make your linens fluffier and less static with fewer wrinkles while cutting down on your energy use? Dryer balls are supposed to help. When they’re in the machine, they slacken the clothes, making them dry faster. Forty percent faster, if the manufacturers are to be believed. At the same time, the felt balls are designed to replace fabric softener. That’s because the fibres of your clothes have more room to stand on end instead of getting tangled up in each other. As a result, the laundry’s static charge is supposedly reduced, too. And all this using zero chemicals, only felted wool. So, does it work?

And the less magic thing? The drying balls. Although, that’s not to say they don’t work. After the machine beeps, my clothes are still damp, but are nevertheless about as dry as they would be after a 70-minute cycle minus the balls. So as not to put more pressure on the environment, or a natural gas market that’s complicated to say the least (yep, everything at my place runs on gas: the heating, the stove and the washing machine), I hang the towels on the rack for the final stretch after all. The balls, on the other, can just be left to dry on top of the washing machine – they’re not noticeably damp. The best options are made of 100% wool, a sustainable material sourced from sheep. Since the material is naturally absorbent, it reduces drying time by drawing moisture away from your clothes, bedding, and towels. Additionally, the round shape helps gently separate the fabrics so they’re less likely to twist up and wrinkle.

Reduce Energie by Cuting Drying Time

After two hours in front of the open balcony door (21 degrees, a mix of sunshine and clouds, sometimes even a few raindrops), the towels are dry and ready for a snuggle test. They’re much smoother than towels that have only been air-dried, but less fluffy than after the kind of heavy tumble-dryer stints I remember from days gone by.

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Only thing is… are they as incredible as some people claim?

The truth is there’s not a ton of evidence out there to say for certain whether wool dryer balls work and if they’ll for sure do as good a job as fabric softeners. Using them in the dryer eliminates the need for chemical laden fabric softeners and toxic dryer sheets. A few drops of essential oil can even be added to the ball to create a natural fresh scent

Thanks to the dryer balls, my hand towels have been coming out of the machine after a 43-minute cycle noticeably less damp than they normally would. Not only that, but my three cotton towels are softer than when they’re exposed to the usual combination of fabric softener and drying rack. Since the durable balls are made of pure virgin wool, they don’t release any toxins which would then be carried around on your skin. The only thing that might be different is the scent. My clean laundry doesn’t smell of anything now. However, the internet says a few drops of essential oils on the balls should improve this. I’ll give it a go.

 

A great tutorial here: HOW TO MAKE WOOL DRYER BALLS