To most people, laundry seems like a pretty simple process: you throw your clothes in the washer, add some detergent, and when they’re done you move them to the dryer.
But, we know better than that. We’re a delivery laundry service that specializes in residential laundry – which is your everyday clothing. With that comes the responsibility to properly care for your favorite t-shirt and your kid’s favorite pair of jeans.
Simple isn’t always better.
It’s a fact that 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 pliable is an important part of doing laundry.
Dryer sheets & dryers balls help.
So when it comes down to it, which should you choose? Here is our list of the best dryer balls & dryer sheets for delicate laundry.
Dryer Sheets or 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.
Dryer Sheet Negatives
- Reduced dryer efficiency
- Can cause stains on clothing
- Can be accidentally ingested by pets
- May contain harmful chemicals
Dryer Ball Negatives
- May be noisy
- Not scented unless you add essential oils
- Not ideal for large loads
- Plastic and rubber options not eco-friendly
The Best Dryer Sheets for Delicate Laundry
Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets. What’s the difference? And, does it matter? Here is everything you need to know about dryer sheets!
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 Dryer Sheets
Many companies that produce laundry detergents also produce softeners, dryer sheets, and other laundry-related products. These are the big names you recognize from the grocery store.
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 dyer 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
Reusable dryer sheets are another options for people who want the same punch of fragrance and softness without the high environmental impact. Reusable dryer sheets often last 2-3 loads, but some 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 softening and anti-static effect.
Can Dryer Sheets Harm Your Dryer?
Unfortunately, dryer sheets can actually be harmful for your dryer in a few different ways. 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.
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.
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!
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.
Purecosheet is chemical-free and vegan. It’s perfect for those suffering from skin allergies, as well as infants with that extra-sensitive baby skin. Purecosheet’s dryer sheets are made of 99% polyester and 1% Nylon in North America. They are chemical, perfume, and dye free.
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, so they put the safety of your family first. Each dryer sheet is good for two cycles.
If you’re looking for a scented plant-based option, Grab Green also has their rose petal scent Stoneworks dryer sheets available. Each pack contains 160 sheets that are one-time-use. The rose petal scent is light and floral, not overwhelming as most fragrances on the market can be.
The Best Dryer Balls for Delicate Laundry
Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets. What’s the difference? And, does it matter? Here is everything you need to know about dryer balls!
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
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 & Rubber Dryer Balls
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 Should You Use?
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 You Need to Clean Dryer Balls?
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!
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Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets? Keep Your Laundry Soft Without Ruining Your Dryer!