What Are Dryer Balls? A Cheap Fabric Softener Alternative !


by Hannah Walton aka The Cheapskate Mom

So…What Are Dryer Balls?

Years ago, I said goodbye to conventional fabric softeners and said hello to Vinegar as an eco-friendly, budget friendly fabric softener alternative. Part of my decision to do so was motivated by cost – I can buy a large container of Vinegar at Wal-Mart for around $3.00 whereas I would be hard pressed to find a no-name fabric softener that uses the cheapest ingredients for the same price. I feel confident using Vinegar as a natural fabric softener because it works well, it doesn't have all those scary chemicals and no – my clothes don't smell like a vinaigrette salad dressing! I'm just not comfortable having my son lay on sheets that are coated in softening chemicals. Yuck.

I know vinegar is not the only cheap and natural fabric softening option and I have heard about drying balls before.  They work by lifting and seperating your clothes in the dryer, eliminating static, so that they get fluffy. Apparently this is how liquid and fabric softener sheets work too – they have chemicals in them that lubricate your clothes so that they don't stick together.

Dryer balls do seem like a great idea – after all, I use a tennis ball to fluff my Patagonia coat and keep it looking great year after year after year. I can't tell you how many times I have been on the verge of buying those drying balls and saying goodbye to my semi-weekly Vinegar purchase – but I've never been able to do it because putting plastic or rubber dryer balls in my dryer and heating them up just seems like a potential chemical mess. With cancer rates and chemical sensitivities seeming to increase every day, I have to admit I am super skeptical of a lot of products out there – even my shower curtain is cloth because showering every day surrounded by a heated plastic sheet just doesn't seem like the best idea.  I've had a few friends who have tried the pvc and rubber dryer balls over the years and they have always said – dryer balls work wonders but they are too loud. So, I've never bought dryer balls before because – though I've imagined they would save me money – I didn't want to take the risk.

I was reading about Woolzies dryer balls online late one night when I couldn't go back to sleep after feeding the baby. I was completely intrigued because it had never occurred to me that there would be a completely natural alternative to the pvc and rubber drying balls out there. Woolzies dryer balls are natural, hand made and made of wool (though they are safe for folks with wool sensitivities).  They cut down on your drying time by 25% in large loads and by as much as 40% in small loads.

You throw the six Woolizes drying balls in the package in your dryer – and they last for up to a year or 500 loads.  They are $ 35.99 (with free shipping)- so that means you are spending 35.99 for a year of naturally soft clothes. In my review – I'm going to take a look at whether or not $35.99 for a year of fabric softening.

The Cheapskate Mom's Woolzies Dryer Balls Review:

Yep – These Dryer Balls Work!
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical (but hopeful)- especially because these wool dryer balls weren't pvc or rubber or anything you see at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I looked at these soft, white balls and thought – "how on earth are these going to soften my clothing?".  The packaging was pretty cool though and I had read great reviews online about Woolzies.  My husband looked at me like I had two heads as I eagerly started up a load of laundry for the test drive, clutching these fun looking white balls!  He said, "Are you learning to juggle?".

Forty minutes after starting up the dryer (these balls made NO noise), I remembered to check on the laundry -usually my elderly dryer takes about 50 minutes to an hour for a medium sized load of laundry. Because I hadn't yet read about how Woolzies cut down on drying time by as much as 40% for smaller loads,  I honestly could not believe how dry my clothes were in just forty minutes. They were also incredibly soft and really did what they say they do. The forty minute drying time seemed too good to be true – so I threw a few towels and jeans in the washer to really test these babies – and man – 35 minutes later – my clothes were dry. It's like I have the brand new dryer I've been writing that I want someday – all because of wool balls. I asked my husband what he thought of the softness of his jeans and he said, "I notice a huge difference".  I have my sheets in the dryer getting the Woolzies treatment – can't wait to relax later with my new, soft sheets.

Is 35.99 a year cost effective?
I just checked out a popular consumer website and it looks like you can find 120 fabric softening sheets at around 7.00 for a brand name.  That breaks down to five cents a sheet. If you only use two sheets a load – that breaks down to ten cents a load. Ten cents times 500 loads equals 50.00.  If you buy Woolzies, you save about 15.00 dollars a year (every dollar counts here in cheapskate land) – not to mention that eco friendly Woolzies are a feel good purchase – you are helping the environment by not producing more waste and you don't have to carry the products in to your home and out of your home (  I live up two flights of stairs).

Final Verdict
Yes, – buy Woolzies ! – they are hand-made, eco friendly, cheaper than fabric softener sheets or liquid softener and they are healthier for your home and family. They cost more up front than buying fabric softener every week – but as with most things , I feel that by buying higher quality, more expensive products , you buy less and save more in the end.
I think these would make swell gifts – be it an as eco-friendly present for a bridal shower, baby shower, or housewarming – and they are perfectly sized for a wow-factor christmas stocking stuffer – very thoughtful gift for the frugalistas and environmentalists in your life.

*lucky me – I received a free set of Woolzies for this review . For more information, please visit my disclosure statement.

The Woolzies Giveaway! Whoot!

The kind folks over at  Woolzies have teamed up with The Cheapskate Mom to offer you an awesome chance to win your very own set of Woolzies! You can enter every day for a chance to win – open to US residents age 18 and over.
be sure check our giveaways page to see what else we have going on

a Rafflecopter giveaway




  1. I love that they are natural and contain no chemicals or PVC.

  2. Woolzies save time and energy by cutting down on drying time by an average of 25% per load. It takes my dryer 2 hours to dry per load.

  3. Brittany Christianson May 14, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I like that they don’t have any chemicals and won’t melt- thanks for the giveaway

  4. have been wanting to try these! :)

  5. I like that they don’t have chemicals!

  6. I do not like using chemicals and have been wanting to give these a try over the plastic dryer balls.

  7. I love that they reduce drying time by 25%!

  8. Oh I LOVE that they are chemical free AND help reduce wrinkles!  Less wrinkles = happy momma!

  9. I like that they are 100% Eco Friendly! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Because every dollar DOES count here in cheapskate land. I don’t want to use the stinky chemical based fabric softeners. DH really likes them and I would rather have static clothes. We argue. I am hoping that dryer balls will solve our argument LOL

  11. I have a 3 month old son, so I love that there are no chemicals in these dryer balls!

  12. Have been dying to try out wool dryer balls mainly b/c less chemicals, softens clothes, and reduces drying time!

  13. I love that there are no chemicals…. I would love to use these with my cloth diapers.

  14. Ashley Dominguez30 May 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I love that they have no chemicals and are wrinkle free


  15. What appeals to me most is that they are all natural!

  16. I like that they help keep your clothes soft and wrinkle free without the use of chemicals.

  17. I like that they help reduce static and wrinkles too!

  18. The best thing is that they use no chemicals to do the job.

  19. heather whitford June 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

    I love that it’s all natural

    heatherwhitford at ymail dot com

  20. I like that it isn’t made with chemicals and is eco-friendly! I’ve always wanted to try them, hope I win!

  21. I like that they aren’t made of plastic

  22. I love that they are chemical free!

  23. i love that they’re chemical free and that they cut down on drying time. i can use anything that saves me time. i’ve never heard of anything like these. good to know there’s something like this out there. 

  24. I like that it helps cut down on the drying time.

  25. I like it does not take as long to dry your clothes.

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