Do you know the tennis balls in the dryer hack? It’s pretty simple, all you do is throw a (new and clean) tennis ball in the dryer along with the rest of your laundry.
Why do you do this? Well, it gives multiple benefits including shorter drying times, less static and fewer wrinkles.
This is great, but what if you don’t have a clean tennis ball lying around the house? Is a tennis ball really the best thing to use?
Luckily there are some other household items that can also provide many of the same benefits when put in the dryer. Chances are that you will be able to try one of my ideas below using things that you already own.
But if you don’t have any of these things at home and need to buy something it’s worth knowing that there are products that are actually designed to help with your laundry rather than being made for a nice game of tennis!
Let’s take a look at some alternatives to using a tennis ball in your dryer.
1. Wool Dryer Balls
This is probably the best thing to use in your dryer and wool dryer balls provide numerous benefits.
Wool dryer balls can help you to save both time and money by speeding up the drying process. They also provide you with softer less wrinkly garments that smell great and are free from pet hair and static.
You can get all this while knowing that you are doing your bit to help the environment by using a natural product that is reusable many times over.
My favorite wool dryer balls are these ones which are made from 100% organic wool and they are felted in Nepal by women and minorities that are paid a strong living wage.
2. Homemade Wool Dryer Balls
So, as you can see, wool dryer balls are pretty awesome. But let’s be honest they are not the most high-tech solution to this problem. You may be sitting there thinking “I don’t need to buy wool dryer balls, I can make them myself”. And you could be right.
It is perfectly possible to make your own wool dryer balls since all that they are is balls made out of wool fiber, roving or yarn which has been felted so that the wool fibers adhere to each other (felting means you add hot and cold water, soap and some form of agitation).
If you like to do crafty things then this might be a good way to go. It’s pretty simple and you can easily find an online tutorial. It’s unlikely to save you much money compared to buying them but could be fun and hopefully you can re-use some old wool rather than buying it.
3. Aluminium Foil
Another alternative to using a tennis ball is to use a ball of aluminium foil. All you do is crumple up a few sheets of foil to make a ball that is around two or three inches thick. Then just chuck it in the dryer and you’ll get nice static-free laundry. This is a homemade option for people that like their home crafts to take less than 30 seconds!
4. A Stuffed Animal
Most of us have a stuffed cuddly toy at home and, so long as it’s clean, you can place it in the dryer and achieve the same benefits as using a tennis ball. It’ll be much quieter than a tennis ball but make sure that it is not one with plastic parts.
5. An Old Clean Shoe
This might be one of the more surprising options on the list but using an old sneaker, shoe or even flip flop can bring about the same benefits as using a tennis ball or wool dryer ball. You need to make sure that it is a clean shoe and be prepared for some noisy banging about in the dryer unless you have a very full load.
6. A T-Shirt Tied Into A Ball
Another option that most of us can use without spending a dime is to use a ball made of old t-shirts. All you do is wrap two old but clean t-shirts tightly together to form a ball. Once it’s in the dryer it will work to separate your laundry in much the same way as all the other options on this list and will provide similar benefits.
7. Plastic dryer balls
Plastic dryer balls are not quite as eco-friendly as wool dryer balls but they can be bought cheaply and share most of the same benefits.
Read more: Wool Vs Plastic Dryer Balls.
8. Sock balls
This idea is a lot like the t-shirt ball above but using, you guessed it, socks! We can all find a few old socks about the house so this is a good way of getting new life out of your old odd or holey socks.
Just tie two to five socks very tightly in a ball. It’s quite hard to get the socks to stay together so I’d say this is my least preferred option on this list. But if you are stuck then socks are something you can find easily, and since they can be untied after use, it doesn’t even need to be old socks that you use.
9. Dryer Sheets
If having rummaged through your house, all you can find are old dryer sheets then these will also do the trick. But, I don’t like to recommend them since dryer sheets are a single-use product that contains some toxins that might get into the air and into your clothes.
They are also an expensive option since you will need to keep buying them all the time, unlike wool dryer balls which last for around 1000 loads.
As you can see there are quite a lot of different options for improving your drying experience.
Whilst a lot of these ideas are things that you can find around the home, I personally think that it is worth investing in some wool dryer balls rather than relying on a makeshift option like a tennis ball or shoe.