Monday, April 22, 2013

Wool Dryer Balls?? ... What??!!

I'm certain there are several people who've seen our Etsy Shop and wondered why on earth we'd sell wool balls and claim they're for the dryer.  They can't possibly work can they?

To be completely honest I was a bit sceptical myself.

This is my sceptical face!

The Back Story ...

Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010 I've been on a bit of a mission to remove as many chemicals from my lifestyle as possible.  Don't get me wrong I am NOT a pro or even an expert by any stretch of the means but I am trying to do the best I can.  The truth is I am seeking medical treatment and I do wholeheartedly believe in the power of prayer (which I am also seeking).  On the flip side I'm really just trying to give my body a fighting chance to war against a disease that is somewhat of a mystery to the medical community.

During one of my trips through the world of Google to find out how I can be doing the best for my body I came across someone selling wool dryer balls.  Seriously, I have no idea where it was or who was selling them but they got me thinking about the chemicals that touch my skin.  I was already thinking about what was being absorbed by my digestive system but what about what my skin absorbs?  I only had to Google Chemicals in Fabric Softener to get a little overwhelmed by all the facts or opinions.  But the good news was that getting rid of tons of chemicals in my clothes was MUCH easier than chemicals in my food.  That's someone else's blog entirely.  Ha ha!

So, my wonderful, extremely frugal hubby, encouraged me to make my own dryer balls.  I have a little knowledge of wool so I was up for the challenge.  We experimented for a bit and got really creative with colours and sizes.  Do you know, I still don't have a proper "set" in my dryer?  Ha ha!  Someday!  The next step was to find some guinea pigs.  So, naturally we gave some to our mothers for Christmas.  We love you Moms!  In the end they seemed just as surprised by how well they worked as we did.  That's when we started noticing that, on average, we were saving 10-15 minutes (or more) of dryer time too.

Not only were we ridding our clothes of dangerous chemicals, and getting rid of dryer sheets that can damage the dryer, we were also saving money on energy!  PLUS ... they soften your clothes too!  It's a win/win really!  And really do I need to mention that we also had the ability to have fun coloured balls bouncing around in our dryers?  Way much to fun for laundry I think! ;) 

Thus, the Sweet Spectrum version of the dryer ball was born.

Citrus Punch (6) - Blueberry Muffin (9)
Grape Confetti (6) - *Au Naturel (6)
Berry Fun (9) - Rainbow Bright (6)

*the Au Naturel set is made completely of undyed yarn, even on the inside

Aren't they pretty?!  This is just the start!  We just finished making 68 more that include a couple of new colour sets!  Hooray!

Disclaimer - There are likely chemicals present in the dye of the coloured balls.  However, the dye is colour-fast and we do wash the balls  several times (using all natural, organic detergent) leaving them with only trace amounts of any chemicals left from the dying process.  If you are still concerned, we do have a natural set (see Au Naturel above) made from entirely undyed wool.

How They Work ...

So, I'm not a scientist, nor am I educated in a field that comes close to science but this is what I understand to be true:  Just the very fact that there are a few balls running around in your dryer puts space between your clothes allowing more air to get in, therefore drying them faster.  The added bonus is that the balls are made of 100% wool which is also great at absorbing the moisture.  Some that sell dryer balls use tennis balls in the centre and then cover them in yarn but we didn't want to risk the chemicals in the make up of a tennis ball.  That's why we decided to fill ours with 100% wool as well as cover them with it.

The heart of them all!  It's what's on the inside that counts!

It may seem a bit obvious but the other point is that because there is more agitation in the dryer the clothes come out softer than they would if you had just dried them alone without fabric softener.  Sometimes they even come out softer than with fabric softener added.

It is also important to note that because dryer balls do not coat your clothes to make them softer they are completely safe to use with cloth diapers, "mama cloths" and any other clothing type items you'd use for absorption. 

How You Use Them ...

It's simple really.  You wash your clothes like normal while omitting the fabric softener.  Then you put your wet clothes in the dryer with 6 or more dryer balls (depending on size and weight of your load) and omit your dryer sheets.  We sell them in sets of 6, 9 and 12.  We'd say 6 is the minimum and will do for any size load but the more you use the softer your clothes will be and the more time you save in energy.  The amount of heat you use doesn't matter.  The important part is that you use a moisture sensitive setting otherwise the dryer won't stop when the clothes are dry and that's the part that saves energy.

Obviously, there are other simple use and care instructions (which we provide for you), but it is really that easy.  We thought it would be way more complicated than that.  Nope!  Wash, dry, done! :)  Oh, and maybe fold if you like! ;)  The best part is that when you're done the laundry you can give the fun coloured balls to your children to play with.  They're safe for them and they're machine washable!  Seriously, way to much fun for the laundry!  :D

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We'd love to hear from you ...

What do you think?  Have you tried dryer balls?  Would you try them?  What colour set is your favourite?  Which colours would like to see us make?  Or if you have questions let us know.


  1. I like you skeptical look! That is very interesting about the wool balls.

  2. I had never even heard of these:) Thank you for this great informing post:) I love the blue set!

  3. I love this idea....and the colors are so fun!! I get how they work but a dumb question kept going through my head as I was reading this....if wool bothers my skin to begin with, will drying my clothes with these affect that? Love your skeptical look...perfect!

    1. AnnMarie,
      That's a really good question ... I refuse to wear wool because it makes me incredibly itchy but the dryer balls don't bother me. I think it's because it's the wool fibres that scratch not so much an allergy. If that's the case with you the same could be true because wool in the dryer balls doesn't actually come in contact with your skin. Hope that helps! :)

  4. Awesome post! Thanks for detailing it all out - I have been curious about them for some time now. And I love both your skeptical face (!) and your suggestion of only *maybe* folding the laundry. :D

    1. Ha ha! I didn't want anyone to think that they'd need to fold laundry if they bought our dryer balls. We want laundry to be fun!

  5. That is so interesting, I don't have a dryer but I can imagine they are very useful. Niki x

  6. They look extremely useful! We do not use dryer sheets either. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ooh, how fun! I've been really thinking about switching to dryer balls for some time now! Checking out your shop now! Oh, and I'm stopping by from the CAST team. :)


  8. Thanks so much for your feedback everyone! We love hearing from you!

  9. Yes, your dryer is having waay too much fun with all those colors. Seriously though - stunning idea.