Extend The Life Of Your Wool Dryer Balls With These Little-Known Tips

A reusable eco-friendly alternative to fabric softener, wool dryer balls are a great laundry hack to get your clothes soft and dried with ease. According to Whirlpool, dryer balls can last at least 1,000 loads on average, but their longevity will vary by your specific laundry routine. You can extend the life of your wool dryer balls by washing them and refreshing them to maintain their effectiveness. You can also purchase dryer balls made of plastic, but the wool option is an excellent zero-waste choice. 

Made of felted wool, these dryer balls help soften and dry fabrics faster as they absorb water, creating space in the laundry for better airflow. The balls evaporate water back into the dryer, acting like a steamer to smooth out wrinkles in all of your fabrics. Using these laundry favorites also adds a snuggly softness to fabrics and cuts down on static cling, providing a sustainable way to avoid using dryer sheets. All of that bouncing in the dryer can take its toll, however, so maintaining your dryer balls will help them stand up to the demands of your laundry schedule. 

Ways to extend the life of your dryer balls

Now that you know why you should be using wool dryer balls, it's time to learn how to extend their lifespan so you can toss them in again and again. Recharging them will keep them from becoming too dry or brittle, as well as ensure your dryer balls absorb water effectively for evaporation. If you do laundry frequently each week, you may need to recharge your wool dryer balls at least once a month for the best performance.

The easiest way to recharge them is by hand washing with a mild detergent, or on a gentle cycle in a mesh bag or a clean pillowcase. Carefully remove any fuzz or lint from the balls with a razor before washing, and ensure you only use hot water. After the wash cycle, look for any remaining detergent residue on the wool, then remove as needed. Follow up by tumbling them on "high" in the dryer or letting them air dry, keeping them out of direct sunlight.

When is it time to replace your dryer balls?

Unlike your never-ending laundry pile, wool dryer balls can't last forever! Because you likely aren't counting every dryer load until you reach that magical 1,000 loads, pay attention to any signs that you should be replacing your wool dryer balls. Good indicators it's time to retire your dryer balls include if they shrink, have loose felt or multiple threads missing, as well as if takes longer than usual to dry your clothes. You should also replace them if they unravel or fray, because they could leave wool on your clothing with each tumble. 

If you've tried to refresh and recharge the wool but they're still looking a little worse for the wear, don't worry. Wool dryer balls are biodegradable, so once you're done with them, don't throw them in the trash and let them languish in the landfill! Instead, you can compost them alongside your dryer lint.