How Long Do Wool Dryer Balls Last?

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One of the best reasons for using wool dryer balls is that they can save you money. They do this in a couple of ways: you won’t need to keep buying single-use dryer sheets and they speed up the drying time, thereby reducing the amount of electricity that you use. 

Great, that’s a double win. But, for this to be the case you need your wool dryer balls to last a while. You’ll not save any money if you need to get new wool balls every other week.

So, let’s take a look at how long you can expect wool dryer balls to last. 

wool dryer balls

Do Wool Dryer Balls Wear Out?

Wool dryer balls do wear out over time, but they last for quite a while before they need replacing. Eventually, the wool balls will start to fray and fall apart and will need to be replaced, but this should only be after many years of use.  

How Many Times Can You Use A Wool Ball In The Dryer?

Most manufacturers state that their wool dryer balls will last for over 1000 uses. For most people, this is several years of use from one set of wool dryer balls which is much better value than you get from single-use dryer sheets.  

How long the wool balls last time wise will depend on how much laundry you do. If you do two loads per week then you will get nearly 10 years of use out of your dryer balls!

Even if you wash your things every day it will be more than two and a half years before you have reached 1000 uses. Not bad for a product that spends its life being shaken about. 

dryer ball in dryer

Do Wool Dryer Balls Lose Their Effectiveness?

Wool dryer balls will slowly lose their effectiveness over time and will eventually need to be replaced when they start to fall apart. You can extend the useful life of your wool balls by recharging them periodically. This will help them to regain their shape and maintain their effectiveness. 

Suggested read: Can You Wash Wool Dryer Balls?

Why Do You Need To Recharge Wool Dryer Balls?

Wool dryer balls should be recharged now and then. Over time, the wool will become overstressed and become less absorbent than it was previously. Recharging wool dryer balls helps them to last for longer and work more effectively for longer. 

When you recharge a wool dryer ball you’re trying to add moisture back into them which will make them more absorbent when in use and help to dry your laundry quicker. You should recharge your wool balls around every 100 uses or when they start to look a little bit rough. 

There is no need to keep a tally chart, just estimate roughly when you will get to 100 uses and set a reminder in your calendar. For me, this is every six months but it will depend on how often you do your laundry. 

How To Recharge Wool Dryer Balls

To freshen up and recharge your wool dryer balls you should put them in your washing machine. Just use a gentle cycle with hot water – this will clean them and remove any lint that has accumulated. Then, put them in the dryer on high heat and they’re ready to use again. 

The aim of recharging your wool balls is to clean them, rejuvenate overly dry wool fibres, and rehydrate them. This means that they will be better at absorbing moisture when used in your dryer. 

When you recharge your balls you can wash them along with other laundry (so long as it needs the same settings). You can also dry them with other things, but bear in mind that they will be wet and won’t work like they normally do to aid the drying of your garments. 

How Often Should Dryer Balls Be Replaced?

Dryer balls should be replaced once they start to fall apart. Eventually, wool balls will start to unravel and get a bit scraggly. You may also notice bits of wool falling off them and showing up on your clothes. This is a clear sign that they should be replaced. 

This shouldn’t happen until you have used them around 1000 times, if they’re newer than that and just looking a bit rough then it’s worth trying to recharge them before assuming that they have reached the end of their life. 

Washes Per WeekHow Long Dryer Balls Last
119 years
210 years
36 years
45 years
54 years
63 years
72 1/2 years
old wool dryer balls

Can you Use Tennis Balls As Dryer Balls?

You can use a tennis ball in the dryer. Many people swear by it and think that it has many benefits to their laundry. But, as they weren’t designed for this purpose you may want to consider the risks before throwing one in your dryer.  

People use tennis balls in the dryer in the hope that they can prevent their clothes from clumping which reduces the drying time. They also hope that the tennis balls will reduce static cling, and soften clothing. These are some of the same benefits as using a wool dryer ball. 

There are a few issues to be aware of though. Using a tennis ball in the dryer can result in your laundry smelling of rubber. Some tennis balls transfer their bright yellow dye onto your clothes. And tennis balls sometimes disintegrate from the temperature inside the dryer. 

It must depend on the type of tennis ball that you use because some people are very happy using a tennis ball in their dryer whilst others have had disasters. The problem is you won’t know how it goes until you have tried your tennis ball!

Plus, everyone agrees that putting a tennis ball in the dryer is very noisy.

Read more: 9 Things To Use Instead Of Tennis Balls In The Dryer

The Bottom Line

Wool dryer balls offer a long-lasting alternative to single-use dryer sheets. They’re a natural product without any nasty chemicals that can save you money in the long run. 

It’s worth getting a decent quality set of wool balls to make sure that they will actually last for 1000 uses. 

I like to use Handy Laundry dryer balls which are made from 100% organic wool and are felted in Nepal by women and minorities that are paid a strong living wage.

As a fun alternative, I really like these Friendsheep wool dryer balls – they look like penguins! 

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