Wool Dryer Balls:  How Do They Work?

Written by C. Cartwright
@Eco Blvd
08 Nov 2019

When you load your laundry into your dryer it starts off wet / damp – and it is more than likely stuck together in a ‘clump’.  It will remain stuck together like this until the moisture in the load has begun to evaporate due to the heat in the dryer.  It can take some time for the heat in the dryer to penetrate the ‘clump’.

If you place your wool dryer balls into the dryer at the very beginning of the cycle, they will naturally bounce around the load and get in between and around all of your laundry.  This acts to separate the wet / damp layers.  [Occasionally you may hear them while they are at work bouncing around separating your load – they are typically quieter than their plastic counterparts which tend to make a clattering noise.]

The heat in the dryer then has better access to all aspects of your laundry (increasing the circulation / airflow between the layers) which in turn speeds up the evaporation process.  At the same time, the wool balls are drawing moisture from this humid environment.  The combination of separating the laundry to aid heat circulation and evaporation, in conjunction with the balls absorbing the moisture from the humid air, results in the dryer operating more efficiently - and your laundry drying faster!   By using Wool Dryer Balls, your drying time can be reduced by up to 25%! 

The moisture retained in the wool balls also help to reduce the potential of static electricity build up. [more on that later…]

With this in mind, it makes sense then that trying to dry great big laundry loads all at once is not ideal.  Great big loads in the dryer do not allow the dryer balls room to do their work. Small, medium and large loads allow the balls to work efficiently and effectively, but X-large loads do not.

As promised ... more about static electricity:

When different objects rub together, an opposing electrical charge is created on both objects making them either cling together or repel.  I’m sure most of us know that if you try to pull these objects apart, it can result in sparks or shocks!  We don’t need to be scientists to know that static in our laundry is not ideal!  And guess what, static electricity is formed much better when the air is dry and / or the humidity is low.  Therefore, to avoid static electricity building up it is very important to remove your laundry from the dryer as it becomes dry (and whilst the wool dryer balls have still retained some of the moisture). 

Very Important: Don’t continue to dry clothes that are already dry – the longer you do, the more completely the balls dry out (lowering humidity) and the environment in the dryer becomes perfect for static electricity to build up on the contents of your load. Some fabrics such as silks, polyester, nylon and rayon are particularly prone to static.  Also, by over drying your load you are missing out on the benefits of reducing drying times and lowering your energy costs!