Save On Laundry With Dryer Balls

UPDATE: Curbly might recommend, but it seems our readers don’t, with comments like: “Suck”, “Make[s] a racket,” and, “Dismayed.” Oh well.

Curbly recommends using dryer balls as cheaper and natural alternative to dryer sheets. They work by “tumbl[ing] in the dryer to lift & separate laundry allowing hot air to flow more efficiently. The soft nodules massage fabrics to naturally fluff up and soften without the use of chemicals.” The balls are reusable and are supposed to last up to two years.

We were skeptical but Curbly said they worked, AND cut drying time by 15 minutes, and those kids don’t fuck around. Dryer balls, stuff ‘em in your dryer’s mouth.

$8.95 at AsSeenOnTV — BEN POPKEN

How to Save Money on Laundry Day [Curbly]

Comments

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  1. nffcnnr says:

    i will vouch for the balls. i am a ball convert. i started using the balls a few weeks ago instead of dryer sheets, and have found the balls to be most efficient and functional. A very minor downside is that the balls are noisy. The balls bounce around quite a bit and bang into the inside walls of the dryer. It sounds like when you have a pair of shoes up in there. i’ll let y’all know how my balls stand up to all that banging and if they really last ‘up to two years,’ like the package says. In short, the balls work!

  2. JLam4911 says:

    I tried these. They suck like a Hoover. I went back to regular fabric softener and haven’t looked back.

  3. JLam4911 says:

    I’ve used these things, and they suck like a Hoover. I’ve gone back to regular fabric softener. To me, there’s no comparison.

  4. WindowSeat says:

    My Mom sent me these things and honestly I don’t notice any difference PLUS they make a terrible racket. My first impression of them was that they were re-purposed vinyl dog toys sans squeaker.

  5. Notsusan says:

    They work some of the time, just not on really fleecy stuff or socks.
    I’ve cut my dryer sheet usage in half, so that’s something.

  6. JLam4911 says:

    Oops, double comment there. Sorry.

    The dryer balls still suck.

  7. Kornkob says:

    Googling reviews of this product netted 2 results: glowing reviews that reported the exact behavior described by the company (read: shills for the sellers of these things) and dismayed commentary at the dismal performance and additional noise (read: people who feel ripped off).


    Isn’t that always the case with anything sold by ‘As Seen On TV’?

  8. Pelagius says:

    Hey Ben, I have some healing crystals I’d like to sell you.

  9. Fixxxer says:

    @ JLam4911:

    Really? I received a set of these for Christmas this year and they’ve been working great! No longer will I have to buy overpriced dryer sheets that just end up clogging the lint filter.

    As some have mentioned, they are very loud. It sounds like someone threw a pair of tennis shoes in the dryer. If you can deal with the noise, I think they’re worth it.

  10. 5h17h34d says:

    $10 for 2? 2 tennis balls will set you back how much? (and works just as well).

  11. defectiveburger says:

    My dad tried these….they were really loud and ripped a hole in his pants

  12. I’m thinking of just buying one of those centrifugal force clothes dryers and hanging my clothes on a rack from now on. I’ve had such bad luck with dryers.

  13. My wife and I got a pair of these – not this particular brand, but same idea – a year ago from my parents, and they work just fine. Sure, your dryer now makes a gentle clunking noise, but if it doesn’t upset our bunnies who live right next to it, then it shouldn’t annoy you. I can’t hear the sound from more than one room away, anyways.

    We haven’t had any problems, and now we don’t need to bother with dryer sheets anymore. The chemicals from dryer sheets tended to bother my skin sometimes, so that’s another bonus of the dryer balls.

  14. MotherFury says:

    But do they eliminate static cling? That is the only reason I use fabric softener.

    Nothing I hate more than realizing my underwear is stuck to the back of my fleece jacket AFTER I get to the grocery store.

  15. valkin says:

    They’re ok. I think the same thing could be accomplished with tennis balls though. My clothes are soft and drying time is less.

    I haven’t noticed any static cling, but I also use white vinegar as a fabric softener in the wash.

  16. 5h17h34d says:

    White vinegar as a fabric softener?

    Details please.

  17. gte910h says:

    I bought a pair of these at Bed, Bath and Beyond a year ago or so. They work great. Then again, I’m allergic to normal fabric softener, so my alternative is this or nothing.

    My house as plaster walls, so sound just doesn’t travel there at all. I’ve never noticed the sound they make at all.

    Here is the math question: Clunky balls for $8 one time, or continually buying fabric sheets at $2 per month for the rest of your life.

    Also, I wonder if more balls would make them more effective :o)

    –Michael

  18. Get a sturdy drying rack and (if you’ve got the space) an outdoor clothes line.

    Clothes that are line or rack dried don’t need fabric softener (which shortens the life of your clothes anyway).

    Drying in the dryer takes about 4x the energy of washing, so why not remove it from the equation entirely instead of fussing with fabric softeners and creepy little balls?

  19. Kluv says:

    Gott throw my vote behind “Balls are Great”. We’ve been using them for over a year, and while the do make a little noise, I’ve found them to be much better than the ol’ dryer sheets.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    Or… get real laundry equipment! The Amerikan-style washers & dryers are archaic, no better (and less reliable) than the models built back in the 1930′s.

    Euro front-load washer + euro front-load dryer = 1/4th the electricity and water used AND the clothes are cleaner, without using bleach or fabric softener. I only use 1-2tbsp of detergent per load, any more than that causes oversudsing. Also, the Euro set is far more gentle on my clothes. The lint filter of the dryer is proof of that — no lint! Literally, it takes about 5 loads (including fluffy towels & socks) before there’s enough lint to clean off the filter.

    For those who want the nitty-gritty:

    Avg water used in an Amerikan-style washer:
    55 gallons/load
    Avg water used in a Euro-style front loader:
    10 gallons/load

    Amerikan-style dryer: 5500 watts
    Euro-style dryer: 1200-2200 watts

    Avg lifespan of Amerikan washer/dryer: 5-10 yrs
    Avg lifespan of Euro washer/dryer set: 20 years

    All of this…and my clothes don’t reek of chemicals/perfumes, towels are MUCH softer and more absorbent (fabric softener inhibits a towel’s ability to absorb water, as the animal fats clog the fibers), and I’m not walking around with pig/cow/dog?/who knows what fat covering my clothing.

  21. EvilTapioca says:

    So your really supposed to stick those in a dryer? I thought they were dog toys too. I just use Gain and knock off gain fabric softner. They smell delightful.

    Eyebrows McGee-I lived at a place once were the dryer hookup was burnt out. It was so nice to do that during the summer but not so much in the winter. :D

  22. dwarf74 says:

    FLConsumer – I’m assuming that this means the Europeans have strange UFO and/or Atlantean laundry technologies that have been suppressed by the American (oops, I’m sorry Amerikan) government?

  23. mathew says:

    No, FLConsumer is right. European-style front-loading washing and drying machines are way more energy efficient than US top-loaders, use less water, need less chemicals, and take longer to wear your clothes out. Check Consumer Reports if you don’t believe it. Oh, and they typically have higher capacity per load too. It’s just another of those areas where America is technologically backward and doesn’t know it.

    The local electricity & water company (Austin) gives rebates towards the cost of front loaders, because they reduce resource usage so much.

    But if you want to keep getting your clothes shredded by vertical agitator blades, that’s up to you. And I’ve got your dryer balls right here.

  24. @EvilTapioca: “It was so nice to do that during the summer but not so much in the winter.”

    For us it’s the other way around — it’s so dry here in the winter that drying the clothes on the rack indoors takes hardly any time at all and adds direly-needed moisture to the indoor air. But in summer it’s sooooooooo humid it takes forever for anything to dry.

    @dwarf74: No, American manufacturers just get away with a lot more crap in terms of planned obscolesence, inefficiency, and lack-of-sturdiness than European manufacturers do.

  25. bastarre says:

    @FLConsumer:

    American Style drying time : 60 minutes
    Euro Style drying time : 4 years

    Other than the size, I can’t say that I was too impressed with anything else haveing to do with Euro/British appliances when I lived there.

  26. FLConsumer says:

    Eyebrows McGee has it right — the Amerikan style ones are part of planned obsolescence. Also, Americans love buying disposable crap. Why should I pay $300+ for a washer when I can buy one for $199? Americans generally don’t do the math when it comes to TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), and the US appliance manufacturers are more than willing to take advantage of the situation. They also don’t look at the quality & performance of the products they buy anymore.

    @bastarre: My dryer only takes 30 minutes at most to dry clothes, often is 15-25 mins. The FL washers do a better job of extracting water with their high-speed spin cycles, so the dryers don’t work as hard. They also use less heat and more air. Now, in Europe, they do have “condensing dryers” for places without dryer venting and these DO take some amount of time to dry clothing. BUT they don’t require any special dryer electrical circuit and they don’t require a vent be run outside, so they are very popular for retrofits in Europe.

  27. Shutterman says:

    Extra bonus to these… If you have a set of really soft sheets you like, they’ll put holes in them.

  28. TinaT says:

    Euro style washers may save water, but there’s no way they save power. They take forever to run. Also, they are crap at getting rid of dog hair. My old fashioned washer continually ran the water through a lint filter and all the dog hair ended up there.

  29. thisiskspraydad says:

    A test for Ben…please ignore.

  30. boston515 says:

    I have a mixed opinion of the dryer balls.

    Yes, they do make a clunking sound. The loudness lessens with larger loads. The drying time is 15-20 minutes less, which saves energy. There will be less static cling IF you don’t over-dry the clothes.

    However, here are two suggestions:
    1. Try the balls out on some old clothes that you don’t mind shrinking by over-drying when you first use the balls. The difference in drying time can be surprising.

    2. NEVER put these balls in with a bed comforter. The comforter takes up too much space, the balls will get stuck in a particular spot, and you’ll have a nice rubbed out spot/discoloration on your comforter.

    3. Still use dryer sheets or fabric softener liquid for bed dressings and towels. Trust me.

  31. medalian1 says:
  32. FLConsumer says:

    Tina: It takes a lot less power to move wet clothes around than to try to force them around in water.. Think of how difficult it would be to drag a full laundry basket through a swimming pool vs. free air. As far as dog hair goes, I’m not sure how that would work, no dogs here, just a rabbit. No problems with bunny fur stuck to clothing at the end.

    I still haven’t used fabric softener in over 5 years now. No need for it. Quite happy with my clothes smelling clean rather than covered in perfumes.

  33. swalve says:

    FLConsumer: please let me know where I can buy a dryer for $300.

    I used dryer sheets forever, but found that they left spots on my shirts. I had always assumed that the spots were from me dribbling food on myself or something. So I switched to liquid softener and haven’t turned back. I also found that using name brand laundry chemicals has kept my cottony clothes from getting stiff like older cotton does.

    How does fabric softener shorten the life of clothing?

  34. dot5k says:

    Hey guys, you can just use those rag dog bones available at the Dollar Store. Work great. A lot cheaper. Still makes a racket for those who don’t like noise, though.

  35. AcidReign says:

    …..Easy enough, if the link below works…

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&produc

  36. falconree says:

    I always buy cheapo dryer sheets and rip them in half. easy peezy cheap n eazy

  37. FLConsumer says:

    Fabric softener won’t shorten the life of clothing, but it will shorten the usable life of your towels by clogging up the fibers with wax.
    With regard to the clothes wear, that’s caused by the rough action of the agitator in an America-style washer. Not to mention the lack of clean water in that 30+ gallon tub of the top-load washer.

  38. Ran Kailie says:

    Personally speaking I love mine, no more weird skin rashes from the laundry either. The make my sheets and towels soft plus unlike dryer sheets I don’t have to worry about them screwing up the absorbancy of the towels.

    And they don’t smell, I don’t find them weird places later, and its a hell of a lot more friendly on the dryer.

    Only real downside has been the static, its not horrible, but there is some now. The sound isn’t bad at all, and my computer is right next to the laundry room.

  39. Onpoint76 says:

    I was at Bed Bath and Beyond with my Mom and she insisted on buying these for me since I refuse to use dryer sheets. The package even said something to the extent that if you use four balls, it works even better (go figure, only 2 come in a package)
    So I let my Mom buy me two packages.
    They are only loud when you first turn the dryer on. After they heat up they become softer and don’t make much noise at all.
    My clothes also get dry a whole lot faster, so yes they do work.
    I can’t say that I have noticed anything more “fluffy”
    They reduce static cling some too, but nothing to replace your dryer sheets.
    Overall, they could save you money because the most stand out feature is the cut down on drying time.

  40. rdm says:

    I know I’m coming in really late but has anyone else had the balls turn their dryer blue? The inside of my white on white dryer is getting a blue tint to it. Ugh.