Desperately trying not to go for the obvious cheap laugh.
I was intrigued until I saw the price. $34 for six balls of wool? Give me a break.
Me, not so much.
I was perplexed by the product... It promises drier balls, but it is made of wool -- wool tends to make me sweat, thus I will not have drier balls, however I guess it is relative; I imagine that latex would make me sweat even more than wool, so wool would result in drier balls than latex; therefore, the product needs to be renamed Wool Dryer Balls Than Latex.
These are much better than Woodsies, which, if done incorrectly, can make your clothes wetter.
To DIY these kinds of dryer balls:
- Buy one skein (package) of 100% wool yarn at a craft store. This will cost you something in the vicinity of $5. (Fisherman's Wool (US) works well. Note that major craft stores, at least here, have frequent 40%-50% off sales and accept competitors' coupons.)
- Wind the yarn around a tennis ball until the tennis ball is completely covered.
- Trim end, then tuck it under a layer of wool so that it stays put. Tie a knot to keep it there.
- Throw the balls into the washing machine with some towels or linens and only a smidgen of detergent. When the washer is done, you may now throw the dryer balls into the dryer. The surface should be turned to felt.
A good-sized skein of yarn should yield something in the area of 3-4 tennis balls' worth of winding.
I would not recommend doing this with the other kind of balls you folk seem to be talking about, though. They might not last if you put them in the washer.
Well, at least they'll make less noise.
two differences did become clear when the product was in use. First, the hard plastic clanks audibly against the dryer drum. Second, the machine performed basically the same with or without the Balls inside.
The subject of balls were most eloquently milked here, of course:
Dry 'er balls and send her home, I guess
The 3 pack is just $17, FYI.
Question: fundamentally, how does a ball of pure wool in a dryer full of fabric make drying faster?
Also, what is the texture? Is it a ball of wool like a rolled up sock, or do they somehow make it firmer?
It would be cool if someone did some controlled experiments to confirm or deny the claim that they shorten drying time. All I see in the Amazon page is the bald claim, and in the reviews some say "yes" and some say "no" but it's easy enough to chalk it up to confirmation bias -- nobody offers evidence. Without data or at least a hypothesized mechanism of action it's hard to take the claim seriously -- but if it were true, they'd probably pay for themselves pretty quickly.
They're supposed to keep the clothes more separated, and prevent clumping, so air can circulate better. Even though, like the rest of the laundry, they may also be fabric, the fact that they are consolidated spheres, compared to normal clothes and linen, keeps them moving and untangled.
Not sure about the claim for making things softer, though...
I dunno. Laundry balls, which are meant to go in the washing machine and improve cleaning, perhaps even removing the need for soap, seem pure hokum.
These thingees for the dryer at least are plausible in being able to keep air circulating and not clump. I think it will depend on your dryer, though, and the load. Some dryers supposed do things to prevent clumping anyway, which would likely make these less effective. Plus I bet small loads, or loads containing small, less clump-prone items, show less effect as well.
We tried using a similar product a few years ago. It consisted of a set of three wool covered, soft, slightly elastic balls for use in our drier. We never noticed a shorter drying time, even with lighter loads like sheets, and there was definitely no difference whatever when we dried towels. We stopped using them, and we noticed no increase in drying time for whatever that's worth.
I'm really not sure of the physics of these balls. They didn't stop knotting and gnarling of various items. Our duvet covers still swallowed towels and our pillow cases would swallow socks and hand towels. They didn't expedite the drying process. I can't imagine how they are different from, let's say, adding a bunch of balled up clean socks or some other dry item. They might absorb a little moisture, but not all that much.
The only use for them would have been to scent our laundry, perhaps by dabbing the balls with lavender oil, but we like our laundry unscented. This product may be somehow superior to the one we tried, but we doubt it.
"Woolzies also work better than plastic drier balls:" Which is to say they actually do… something?
They are sort of a dryer placebo, then.
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