What Really Happens If You Put Aluminum Foil Balls In The Dryer

Companies may like to blame millennials for killing fabric softener, claiming they "don't even know what the product is for," but this group of consumers just might be onto something.

We get that many people love the fresh smell, soft touch, and lack of static cling that dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners impart, but these products could ultimately be causing you more harm than good. Fabric softeners contain synthetic chemicals that can cause skin irritation, heightened asthma, reproductive harm, and even an increased risk of cancer, according to the Environmental Working Group. Yikes.

But the good news is that there's a whole slew of natural ingredients you can use to mimic these same effects in the laundry room. For that fresh smell, there's distilled white vinegar [LINK TO VINEGAR LAUNDRY HACKS]. For that soft touch, try baking soda. To get rid of static cling? Believe it or not, aluminum foil balls are a great DIY solution. Keep reading to find out how they work in your dryer.

Aluminum foil balls help reduce static cling

Ditch the wool and plastic dryer balls, because balls of aluminum foil work just as well, and you can make them at home.

How do they work? Science! According to CNET, when pieces of laundry tumble around in the dryer, electrons are exchanged. Some pieces become negatively charged, while some become positively charged. Once the cycle is over, the oppositely charged pieces stick to one another, which is static cling. The insertion of aluminum foil balls into the process, however, help disrupt this process — and speed up drying — by discharging static buildup and keeping clothes separated.

To make your own at home, it honestly couldn't be simpler. Take about three or four square feet of aluminum foil, and squeeze it tightly into a ball between two and three inches in diameter. Smooth down any bits that are sticking up so the ball doesn't come apart or snag fabric in the dryer. Most loads will require two or three balls to effectively combat static, and your DIY dryer ball should last for months.