Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Buying the Best Dryer Balls

Back in March of last year, I made my first purchase of a set of dryer balls from Etsy.  This began my venture into the world of dryer balls!  A year later, I am reevaluating my current dryer balls and looking to purchase a new set.  Here are the factors that I am considering when buying new dryer balls.

the benefits

Why use dryer balls? Dryer balls do many different things for your drying load of laundry. Heavier dryer balls help to break up clothing, cloth diapers, sheets, and towels while they are drying. This makes your laundry dry faster and saves you money. Dryer balls are also known for their ability to lessen static and are often used as a replacement for dryer sheets. Scented wool dryer balls can help your laundry smell extra fresh and are often scented with natural oils that are much healthier than the chemicals used in traditional dryer sheets.

Stoney Mountain Farm Wool Dryer Balls
wool vs plastic

I buy wool dryer balls.  Wool is fantastic not just because it is a natural fiber, but because it is naturally resistant to bacteria.  This is why wool is used in many cloth diapers as well.  Local stores will carry plastic or rubber dryer balls, but these products are made with PVC, which is a chemical that is poisonous.  If you desire more information on this topic, please check out this article at TreeHugger: Nellie's Dryer Balls.  In addition, you may have heard to use tennis balls in the laundry to fluff coats or bedding while they are drying. Tennis balls are made with rubber and can also have extra chemicals that are released with heat.   I prefer to know that no extra chemicals or colors are being released into my clothes while they are drying. 

scented or unscented

Many wool dryer ball artisans offer to scent the dryer balls with natural oils. This can be great if you have a favorite scent and love to have your clothes to have a fresh dryer smell. You can also buy a separate set of scented dryer balls for the bed linens and towels. Imagine how much safer the natural oils are compared to the random chemicals in traditional dryer sheets!

However, using scented all the time can be problematic for men's clothes, when your guy doesn't want to smell like an orange. It can also compete with your favorite perfume. So be sure to consider the pros and cons of scented wool dryer balls and also know that you can choose to scent them yourself using your favorite natural oil.

felted over wound

Wool Dryer Balls by Green Baboon Designs
From my experience so far, I find that a felted wool dryer ball will hold up better than a wound dryer ball.  The five ball set that I have used so far were wound and have gradually unwound (though still functional), pilled, and become a bit less pretty.  The felted balls are less likely to be pulled, will only become more felted, and may pill slightly but are unlikely to unravel from pilling.  Both felted and wound dryer balls will continue to work even when they begin to pill or have other signs of wear.  For the person who likes the wound look better, just be sure that the seller has placed a thick layer of the colored yarn over the ball so the ball will stay the right color for the duration of its use.

I attempted to buy "felted" dryer balls the first time around but they were not felted at all. The Etsy seller may have gone through a partial felting process, but the yarn strands were very obvious.  So if you desire to buy a felted wool dryer ball, be sure to differentiate between balls that are slightly felted and balls that have undergone the full process of being felted.

the natural look or the brighter the better

Deciding whether to go for natural colored fibers or to go with bright colored dryer balls is a matter of personal preference.  The natural fibers often contain no dyes, which can be great for a family with allergies.  Otherwise, have fun with the colors!  Most shops who sell wool dryer balls have a beautiful array of colors to choose from and many combinations packages as well.

diy

Tons of tutorials exist on how to DIY dryer balls.  Personally, I don't have the time or patience to sit and wind my own dryer balls.  This be said, I will link you to the best tutorials for making wool dryer balls for all of you awesome people who will do this yourself.  You rock.

How to Make a Sewn Dryer Ball
Tutorials:

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls Tutorial by thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com

Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls by Good Mama Diapers

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls From an Old Sweater by Melody Gould

How to make a sewn dryer ball from recycled materials by Rebecca at Night Owl's Menagerie

Video Tutorial

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls With Wool Batting by carlynicoleelliotte

my top choices for dryer balls

Below are the wool dryer balls that have made the biggest impression on me.  I planning to buy one of the following for my dryer:

Wool Dryer Balls - Set of 6 by Bog Berry Handicraft

Update:  Here's a little coupon love from Bog Berry Handicraft!!!  Use the code DesigningLife at checkout for 10% off
Handmade Wool Dryer Balls by Natural Cuties
All Natural Wool Dryer Balls by Subito Farm
 Recycled Sweater Wool Dryer Balls by Ela's Idea

your favorites

Feel free to link below to your favorite dryer ball.  I'm completely curious and would love to see what dryer balls you've tried out.  Thanks for reading today's blog!

~ Brooke

9 comments:

  1. I never hear of dryer balls before!! I will give them a try ;)

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  2. I'm always learning something new on people's blogs. Never heard of dryer balls before.

    Stopping by from God's Growing Garden blog hop.

    Lynette - Sweet Posy Dreams

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  3. Thanks for the info! My sheets are always getting tangled up and have to be re-dried! These would help a ton...off to check out your links :)

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  4. This is so very interesting! Thanks so much!
    And thank you also for participating in my blog hop yesterday!
    Angie
    www.godsgrowinggarden.blogspot.com
    PS - I'm also your newest follower.

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  5. So glad to have you! Thanks for the blog hop, I'll have to do my own sometime!

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  6. Just great tutorial! Everything is easy and very clear!

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  7. Thanks! I would like to share my video tutorial, if you wouldn't mind :)
    Here it is http://youtu.be/ItkQVV4Y-34

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  8. Tennis balls are free, because I find them in the gutters of the street. They are made of rubber, so no PVC problem. I also have my original, I guess, PVC dryer balls for 10 years. How much PVC could come off in all those years? I ran the same load twice and the balls cut down drying time by almost 50%. Believe me, because I'm selling nothing. Wool is itchy, they wear out and are expensive. For static, I make a ball of aluminum foil about 6 inches across and it has been bouncing around all winter. No static in the rough Chicago winter of 2013-14. The aluminum foil ball was a tip from the TV show "The Chew." If you have people that drop food on their clothes, spray with canned starch on ANY kind of fabric, don't iron and hang dry. Oil stains wash right out. The fabrics do not get stiff. Bon Ami makes a stain repellent that I suspect is just starch in a different can. Yes, they sell starch. Canned starch does not leave white streaks on colored fabrics. Show your thanks by throwing a few bucks in the basket at the church.

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