How to Clean Wool Dryer Balls

I remember how excited I was when I first learned about wool dryer balls. A natural alternative to fabric softeners and traditional dryer sheets? I would take it! But after using them multiple times in the dryer, wool dryer balls start to look dingy. When this happens, you don’t have to throw them out. You can clean wool dryer balls yourself with a few easy steps. 

Do you have dirty or dingy dryer balls? You may want to give them a quick refresh so they can do their best work with your laundry. Check on the rest of this post to learn how you can make your wool dryer balls look new and work well again. It’s easy to do and you likely already have the items you need.

How do you clean wool dryer balls? Clean and refresh your wool dryer balls by washing them in the laundry machine or a tub using warm water. Then air dry them or dry on high heat in the dryer. Add drops of essential oils to give the dryer balls a favorite scent.

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What are wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are balls of wool that you add to the dryer load to help the clothes dry faster. The wool absorbs the moisture from the wet clothes while allowing warm air to circulate making for quicker drying time. They also help soften clothes by reducing wrinkles in them. They are about the size of tennis balls.

Note that you probably want to use actual wool balls, not plastic dryer balls or those made of synthetic materials. You don’t want to use tennis balls either or your clothes could end up smelling rubbery. Natural wool dryer balls are best.

How do you use wool dryer balls?

Add several wool dryer balls to your dryer. Don’t put too much laundry in the dryer or the balls won’t be able to move around well. Dryer balls work best with small to medium loads and not with large loads. Add a few drops of essential oils such as lavender to the balls if you want before putting them in the dryer. This will give you a fresh laundry scent without the use of regular dryer sheets that can have harsh chemicals.

How do you clean wool dryer balls? 

If you use wool dryer balls, there will eventually come a time when you look at the ball and think “Ew, I can’t put this in the dryer with my clean clothes.”

This happens to every wool dryer ball at some point because the ball will pick up lint and pet hair as they tumble around your clothes. When it gets to the point where there is too much dirt on your wool dryer balls, you should always opt to clean them instead of throwing them out. 

 What do you need to manually clean wool dryer balls?

  • Tub
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Razor 
  • Towel
  • Essential oils (optional, but will make your dryer balls smell fantastic)

How to manually clean your wool dryer balls step by step

  1. Start by taking your wool dryer balls and using the razor to remove the lint or build-up. Additionally, you can also use a sweater shaver or a dermaplaning tool to accomplish this. Make sure you skim the razor over the ball gently so you don’t cause any damage to the wool.
  2. Fill the tub with warm water. Ideally, it should be on the verge of hot but not too hot. Place your dryer balls in the tub and allow them to soak. 
  3. Now, you will need to start squeezing the dryer balls. When you do this, you’ll notice bubbles start to pop. Keep squeezing until the bubble stop popping.
  4. Add a small amount of laundry detergent to the tub of water and thoroughly mix it so the detergent doesn’t just sit at the bottom of the tub.
  5. Continue to squeeze the balls in the detergent water until they appear to be clean.
  6. Drain the soapy water, and fill the tub with clean water. It’s important to soak the wool dryer balls in clean water to get rid of any leftover soapy residue. 
  7. Take the wool dryer balls out of the tub and start to roll them around in the towel to dry off.
  8. Once they are dry, you can a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you want the balls to be scented.

How to clean wool dryer balls in the washing machine

Don’t have the time to manually clean your wool dryer balls? Don’t worry, you can clean them in the washing machine too. Before putting your wool dryer balls in the washing machine, make sure you follow the first step we mentioned above and gently shave off as much of the lint as possible. 

When washing dryer balls in the washing machine, always use warm water. It’s important to avoid using hot water because the higher heat can cause the wool to unravel faster. If you want to ensure the balls get cleaned properly without ruining them, choose warm water only. 

To clean the wool dryer balls in the washing machine, always use a mild detergent and set the washing machine to the gentle cycle. This will remove the dirt build-up without causing damage to the balls. Once the load is complete, move the balls to the dryer to dry off. When they are finished in there, roll them around in a dry towel to remove excess moisture.

Additionally, you can add a few drops of essential oil to make them smell nice.

What should you know about washing wool dryer balls?

One of the steps that we mentioned is to remove the lint from your wool dryer balls with a razor, or similar tool. It is important to follow that step precisely because using other methods to remove lint could cause damage to the balls. Some people have completely ruined their wool dryer balls by using a scrub on them.

It may feel natural to you to scrub away dirt, as this works well on rugs and furniture. However, the bristles from the scrubber are too harsh for the dryer ball. They can snag on the wool and damage your balls. 

How long do wool dryer balls last?

The manufacturers of most wool dryer balls claim that they last for one year. Keep in mind, this is the minimum time frame. These balls are designed to last well over 1000 loads of laundry, so you can get 2 to 4 years or even more of use from a wool dryer ball. It really depends on how often and how many loads of laundry you do.

Once your wool dryer ball has reached the end of its life, it doesn’t have to end up in the trash. Wool dryer balls can be repurposed or placed in the compost if you don’t have another use for them.

One way to repurpose dryer balls is to essential oils to them and place them in areas around the home to keep a fresh scent in the home 24/7. This can be a great addition to closets or drawers to always have fresh-smelling clothing as well.

Final thoughts

Over time, dryer balls can become dirty and dingy and need some refreshing. Luckily, cleaning them is easy. Just follow the steps above for the best results and you’ll have a handy tool for your next load of laundry. Now laundry day can go a little faster and easier. Who doesn’t want that?

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