We Tried The Tennis Ball Foil Hack To Reduce Laundry Static And There Was One Hard To Ignore Problem

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There's a common laundry room staple that you probably use on a regular basis, but it may be costing you more money than you imagine. Dryer sheets, which are used to reduce static and soften fabrics, are relatively cheap, but they could be harming your laundry and costing you some big bucks. This is because these small, soft sheets leave a coating on clothes, which can wear down your fabrics faster and cause you to need replacements more often. Because of this, we set out to find a better alternative, something that could save you money and protect your clothes while still providing all the same benefits as dryer sheets. 

While there are some products on the market that do this, such as wool dryer balls ($6.99 on Amazon) and reusable dryer sheets ($16.95 on Amazon), we wanted to see if we could DIY an item with things we already had on hand. That's why we wrapped a tennis ball in aluminum foil and added it to the dryer. This DIY claims to reduce static, dry clothes faster, and fluff fabrics. A few drops of essential oils can also be added to the tennis ball to add a fresh scent to clothes. Because we've heard that tennis balls can soften clothes and tightly wrapped aluminum foil can reduce static in the dryer, we were optimistic about this hack. 

Collecting our assortment of materials

While we already had all the items we needed for this DIY on hand, but they're all relatively inexpensive to purchase. Our tennis ball was part of a three-pack of Penn Championship Extra Duty types, which can be bought from Walmart for $3.94. The aluminum foil was by the brand SE Grocers and cost $2.49 for 25 square feet at Winn-Dixie. Finally, the essential oil drops we used were from the Target brand Everspring in the lemon and mint scent and cost $7.99 for the small bottle.

Once we gathered these items, the only thing left to do was clean some laundry and throw it in the dryer. Our dryer is part of a GE stackable combination appliance that came with our rented apartment. Just an FYI, it's not the best appliance we've ever used, as it takes fairly long to dry clothes and is pretty squeaky. We tried this test on two loads, one with two throw blankets and another with a mixture of clothing and towels.

Preparing the tennis ball and testing it

The first thing we needed to do was add a few drops of essential oil to the tennis ball, then wrap it in aluminum foil. After that, we threw it in the dryer with our two damp throw blankets. As soon as we turned on the appliance, the tennis ball started to bounce around and create a loud noise, but it wasn't extremely disruptive. However, keep in mind that our dryer is quite squeaky, so our tolerance for appliance noise may be higher than others. Once the cycle was over, we discovered that the tennis ball was completely bare, and the foil was wrapped up tightly in one of the blankets. While there wasn't any static, the blankets were still slightly damp, and they smelled strongly of the essential oils.

For our second attempt, we wrapped the foil a bit tighter and didn't add any additional essential oil drops since the faint scent could still be detected on the tennis ball. We threw it into the dryer with our clothes and towels and started the appliance like normal. This time, the foil stayed on nicely, besides breaking apart very slightly on one side, and the small pieces of foil that came off were found in the lint catcher. Further, there was no static on the laundry, and all of it was completely dry. While it smelled clean, it didn't have any hint of the lemon and mint essential oils.

Is this the best dryer sheet alternative?

It's clear that this hack works since there was no static on the laundry in either load. If you're going to try this out for yourself, make sure you tightly wrap the aluminum foil around the tennis ball and pack it down. You may also need to add more foil than we did so that it has less of a chance of breaking apart while it bounces around the appliance. Further, if you want your clothes to smell like essential oils, add a few drops to the tennis ball before every single cycle.

However, while this hack definitely worked, we're not convinced that it's a better option than wool dryer balls or reusable dryer sheets. This is because both of these products would most likely be less loud since they're made out of softer materials. Additionally, there's no risk of them breaking apart in a cycle since they're not made from something flimsy like aluminum foil. Therefore, while the foil tennis ball is a good option, it may not be the best. At the same time, if you don't want to spend any money and you already have the materials on hand, this DIY may still be the ideal choice for you.