Wool Dryer Balls Or Fabric Softener: Which Is Better?

Is anything more off-putting than reaching for your fabric softener and realizing you're all out mid-laundry? You can always stop what you're doing and run to the store, but liquids and powders will always run out again at some point. While that's the price to pay to have soft, fresh-smelling clothes and linens, it's not the only way to live anymore. Some products on the market, like wool dryer balls, give you the same results as fabric softener options but without the need to replace them.

Both dryer balls and fabric softeners offer a variety of benefits, but it mainly comes down to sustainability. Which one will give you more bang for your buck while still keeping your clothes feeling and smelling good? Wave Max Laundry explains the usefulness of adding fabric softener, noting that it reduces wrinkles and helps protect against static cling. Static can contribute to fabrics' overall wear and tear, which is why softener or dryer balls are a popular choice for laundry supplies. So which option is best, and how do they compare? The answer might surprise you.

Fabric softeners vs. dryer balls

Fabric softener has been a staple of the laundry room for decades. According to the Montreal Gazette, it was created to negate the rough texture that certain dyes produced in clothing. Once the trend caught on, people began adding this product to their grocery lists every week — or as often as they needed to. Fabric softener turned uncomfortable, coarse fabrics into velvety soft articles, making everything cozy for the wearer. It comes in liquid and powder forms and can be added to the rinse cycle of most washing machines to ensure clothes stay static-free and unwrinkled. The bonus of using fabric softener, and probably one of the biggest draws of it, is the fragrance that sticks around long after everything has dried.

Dryer balls are made of wool compacted into a tennis or baseball-sized sphere. These can be placed in the dryer with your clothing or linens, and as they tumble around, they separate each article inside the machine, reducing wrinkles and static. Two or three balls can be used at once, and they help to dry items faster due to their presence and ability to space out wet laundry. Maytag notes that these handy orbs are usually sold in sets of three and come in different sizes, which are safe to use in gas or electric machines.

Dryer balls for the win

Deciding between standard fabric softeners and dryer balls comes down to several factors. The Ecology Works suggests switching to dryer balls if you or your family members suffer from allergies since fabric softeners contain synthetic ingredients, as do dryer sheets. These chemicals can irritate the skin and other senses, especially highly fragranced options. The wool spheres are made from natural wool and don't contain scents or irritants that some liquids or powders can hold. Another perk of switching to these balls is that they are sustainable and eco-friendly. They can be reused repeatedly, and Parachute Home explains they last up to 1,000 loads. If you usually do laundry once or twice a week, that's upwards of 10 years of use!

Fabric softeners will likely remain a favorite for many, but there is no denying that dryer balls have many benefits. Switching to these helpful home items will save you time and money in the end, and you'll never have to worry about running out of softeners during a load again.