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Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls

We’ll help you decide – Dryer Sheets or Dryer Balls?

Here’s everything you need to know about Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls. We recommend Dryer Balls for the sustainability. It’s better for your laundry, your wallet, and your utilities. 

Tips from a Laundry Service

We’re a laundry service. We know laundry.

And we know how hard it can be. Clothes wear down after time as they’ve washed and worn over and over. Laundry is actually a pretty intrusive process that can damage clothing if not properly cared for. Keeping your clothes soft and comfortable is an important part of doing laundry.

Dryer sheets & dryers balls help.

But, which is better? Dryer Balls are better for us.

Here’s how you can make that decision for yourself.

Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls?

When it comes down to it, making the choice between dryer sheets and dryer balls has more to do with your environmental footprint than anything else.

Wool dryer balls are made of all-natural products, last longer than dryer sheets, and are compostable when they’re no longer being used in your laundry routine. They cut down on the amount of electricity you’ll be using and don’t contain harmful additives or single-use packaging.

Dryer sheets, however, have some ingredients (namely, the softener in the sheet itself) that can be toxic or harmful. They may spike allergies, and some have even been linked to serious health issues. Most dryer sheets don’t naturally break down; they contribute to environmental waste. A handful of dryer sheet products on the market can be recycled and are made of natural products (which we list below!), but these can be hard to find and still don’t last quite as long as dryer balls.

Another consideration is cost. With a life of around 1,000 laundry cycles, wool dryer balls outlast dryer sheets by a landslide. Each dryer sheet can be used for one cycle and the average box contains about 200 sheets. A pack of dryer balls comes in at an average price of $6.50; a box of dryer sheets is around $10. In the end, you’ll spend much more on dryer sheets than you will on wool dryer balls.

Ultimately, the choice between dryer sheets or dryer balls comes down to personal preference. Things that may affect your choice include the size of your household, concern for environmental impact and cost.

Why We Don’t Like Dryer Sheets

Reduced dryer efficiency

Can cause stains on clothing

Can be accidentally ingested by pets

May contain harmful chemicals

Why We Don’t Like Dryer Balls

May be noisy

Not scented unless you add essential oils

Not ideal for large loads

Plastic and rubber options not eco-friendly

How Do Dryer Sheets Work?

The majority of dryer sheets that you can purchase in-store are made up of polyester material coated with a softener. When you toss a dryer sheet in with your load of laundry, the dryer heats up and activates the coating of softener. This softener transfers to the fabrics, which makes them feel soft to the touch.

This coating transfers to your clothing and your dryer. The coating can have negative impacts on the sustainability and life expectancy of both. As a laundry service that has it’s dryers running 24/7, we stay away from dryer sheets to prevent damage to our machines and your laundry.

Dryer sheets also reduce static electricity by throwing positively charged ions into the mix. This part gets pretty scientific – when you dry your clothes, there are too many loose electrons giving off a negative charge. The dryer sheets’ positively charged ions equalize everything and prevent static.

Interestingly, dryer sheets have come to be known for their wide variety of uses throughout the home – not just in your dryer. They’re also great for pest control, removing soap scum, and picking up pet hair, among other things.

Some companies have pushed the industry forward by creating reusable dryer sheets. A more eco-friendly option, reusable dryer sheets are often hypoallergenic and unscented. And, these we can get behind. They’re listed below!

Stay away from single-use dryer sheets and go for the reusable dryer sheets instead.

Single Use vs. Reusable Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets and liquid softeners essentially do the same thing; they both make fabrics feel soft and usually add fragrances to your laundry as well. Dryer sheets are made for use in the dryer while softeners go directly in the wash cycle. Both apply a thin layer of film to your clothes that create softness to the touch.

Most dryer sheets are almost always single-use and don’t break down after use, so they add to environmental waste. Individuals with sensitive skin or allergies may have adverse reactions to dryer sheets as they’re usually heavily scented and imbued with softeners, which are harsh on the senses.

Reusable dryer sheets are another options for people who want the same punch of fragrance and softness without the high environmental impact. Single use dryer sheets are the least efficient way to soften your laundry. It’s wasteful. There are better quality options that don’t melt onto your clothing.

Reusable dryer sheets often last 2-3 loads, but cloth-based dryer sheets last longer. Companies manufacturing reusable dryer sheets also tend to be more conscious of the other downsides to the most popular options on the market. The dryer sheets they create are often hypoallergenic, and unscented while still having the same – if not better – softening and anti-static effect.

Can Dryer Sheets Damage Your Dryer?

Unfortunately, dryer sheets can actually be harmful for your dryer. That’s why we stick to dryer balls at our laundry service.

The same residue on dryer sheets that makes your clothes feel softer can actually clog the screen of your lint filter and reduce air circulation. This ultimately makes the dryer less efficient and drives up your electricity bill.

Reduced efficiency also means that your clothes aren’t drying entirely or are taking more time to dry. Additionally, without good circulation, there’s a chance that your dryer could eventually overheat and potentially lead to a fire.

If you’re using dryer sheets regularly – with almost every load of laundry – make sure to carefully clean your lint screen once a month with a fine brush, hot water, and a bit of dish soap to get rid of the residual softener. Ensure that after each load of laundry, no dryer sheets remain in the machine as they may get stuck blocking the lint filter or a vent.

Are Dryer Sheets Toxic?

Health bloggers have recently been pointing out that these aromatic sheets can be dangerous, causing unnecessary exposure to “toxic chemicals” and even carcinogens, according to Healthline.

While it’s a good idea to be a conscious consumer, it’s important to recognize that not all chemicals are bad. Nearly all of the chemicals commonly found in dryer sheets are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

One lingering concern, however, is related to the fragrances used in dryer sheets and other laundry products. More research is needed to determine the potential health effects of scented laundry products. In the meantime, switching to fragrance-free products or all-natural dryer sheet alternatives may be your best bet if you decide you prefer dryer sheets.

How Do Dryer Sheets Remove Pet Hair?

Dryer sheets don’t make the pet hair disappear from your laundry. Dryer sheets actually separate the pet hair from your laundry. Once the pet hair is separated from your laundry, the pet hair is oscillated into and trapped in the lint trap of the dryer while your clothing continues to tumble in the dryer’s drum.

The anti-static properties of dryer sheets separate the pet hair from the laundry which forces the pet hair into the lint trap. By the time your clothes are dry, the pet hair has already been separated from the dryer drum and is trapped in the lint trap.

Dryer sheets and dryer balls both do this quite well. But, be sure to keep your lint trap clean!

Best Dryer Sheets on Amazon

We’re a delivery laundry service that specializes in residential laundry – which is your everyday clothing. We know laundry and we know dryer sheets! Here are our favorites!

Dryer Sheets Reviews from a Laundry Service | 2ULaundry | Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Allertech Reusable Dryer Sheets

If you want the efficiency and ease of use of dryer sheets without the harmful side effects, Allertech has a great option in their reusable dryer sheets. These sheets are unscented, chemical free and hypoallergenic. Each sheet is good for over 500 loads of laundry.

Dryer Sheets Reviews from a Laundry Service | 2ULaundry | Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Pure Eco Reusable Dryer Sheets

Pure Eco is chemical-free and vegan. It’s perfect for those suffering from skin allergies, as well as infants with that extra-sensitive baby skin. Pure Eco’s dryer sheets are made of 99% polyester and 1% Nylon in North America. They are chemical, perfume, and dye free.

Dryer Sheets Reviews from a Laundry Service | 2ULaundry | Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Grab Green Wet Dryer Sheets

This 96-sheet pack of wet dryer sheets will last 192 loads. They are both reusable and compostable, made with naturally derived ingredients. Grab Green is a female-and-mother-owned company. Each dryer sheet is good for two cycles.

How Do Dryer Balls Work?

Dryer balls are made of plastic, rubber, or felted wool. Although rubber and plastic dryer balls are also available on the market, they rarely hold a candle to wool dryer balls when it comes to results.

Whether you choose wool, plastic or rubber, dryer balls actually dry your clothes faster, reducing energy usage while also absorbing some of the moisture. By bouncing around in your dyer, dryer balls break up the knot of clothing and allow warm air to move between them.

Additionally, dryer balls naturally make your clothes free of static, so no more skirts or trousers sticking to your calves.

Dryer balls usually come in packs of 3-4, and that’s really all you need for quite a while – they’ll last through about 1,000 loads of laundry. It’s easy to tell when it’s time to buy new dryer balls as with wool balls, the fiber will start to break down and look a big scraggly. When they finally reach the end of their lives, they’re actually compostable. Although plastic and rubber versions don’t have the same visual indicators, they last just as long as wool balls.

Wool Dryer Balls vs. Rubber Dryer Balls

For fiber-based products, the industry requirement is that they must be 100% of that particular fiber. Most wool dryer balls are made of New Zealand wool, a renewable resource since the sheep re-grow a coat of fleece each year. The main draw behind wool dryer balls is that they are eco-friendly and all-natural. The wool is biodegradable and recyclable. It actually benefits the environment in that plant and animal life can use the wool once it has outlived its laundry use.

While they don’t normally come scented, you can add a few drops of essential oils into the wool before tossing them in the dryer.

Plastic and rubber-based dryer balls tend to last longer than wool balls and are also unscented. The downside to these dryer balls is that they aren’t always made of environmentally conscious materials; PVC, for example, is a man-made product that doesn’t degrade easily and can give off toxic materials when it does.

However, due to their long life, plastic and rubber balls still have less of an environmental impact than dryer sheets do as they are not one-time-use.

Can dryer balls harm your dryer?

If you’re a first-time user of dryer balls, you might be a little surprised by how loud they can be – especially when drying small loads of laundry. It’s a bit disconcerting at first, but keep in mind that wool dryer balls are very light and soft. They’re bouncing around in there, but it’s unlikely that they’re causing any damage.

Even plastic and rubber dryer balls won’t have an effect on your dryer. Most manufacturers are careful to note the weight of each dryer ball and the material it’s made of. That being said, most loads of laundry don’t need more than 2-3 dryer balls at a time. If you hear a loud clanging coming from your dryer, stop the machine immediately and look for the source of the sound.

How many dryer balls do you use per load?

The number of dryer balls you should use is based on two things: 1) the size of the laundry load you are drying and 2) the size of your dryer.

For residential use, we recommend that you use 2-4 dryer balls. For larger loads in commercial laundromat dryers, you can use 4-6 balls. This is due to the excess capacity of laundromat dryers.

We recommend using at least two with every load. The more balls you use, the less time your laundry takes to dry. And, one never seems to do the trick!

Do dryer balls need to be cleaned?

You can clean dryer balls but you do not need to.

If you decide to clean your dryer balls, you can wash them in your next load of laundry. Tip: Put each ball in a delicates bag or inside a sock to prevent them from bouncing around too much. Wash should be on a gentle cycle and dryer settings should be on high heat.

Be careful to dry them all the way. While the outside may feel dry, it is likely that the inside is still wet. After drying them for 15-20 minutes longer than you think you need to, set them out for 48 hours to prevent mildew.

Best Dryer Balls on Amazon

We’re a delivery laundry service that specializes in residential laundry – which is your everyday clothing. We know laundry and we know dryer balls! Here are our favorites!

Dryer Ball Reviews from 2ULaundry | Laundry Service Product Reviews | Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls

Made of organic New Zealand wool, Friendsheep’s dryer balls are cruelty free and last for 1000+ loads of laundry. They are made in Nepal and hand-felted in ethical working conditions by women. A set of six can be used for large loads of laundry.

Dryer Ball Reviews from 2ULaundry | Laundry Service Product Reviews | Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

Smart Sheep is a company that has become a proven winner. The wool dryer balls were named “Best of the Best” in the Hearst Media product awards. The creation of the wool balls is sourced out to women and minorities in Nepal, paid a fair living wage.

Dryer Ball Reviews from 2ULaundry | Laundry Service Product Reviews |Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls
Sunseeke Cactus Dryer Balls

We love Sunseeke’s cactus-shaped dryer balls. Made of food-grade silicone, it is environmentally friendly and BPA-free. These dryer balls are resistant to heat up to 400 °F and last up to 5,000 loads. For those with a more eclectic laundry room, these are perfect.

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