Can You Wash Wool Dryer Balls?

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One of the great things about wool dryer balls is that they last for ages. They should last you for years and years.  

But, if you have been using your wool dryer balls for a while they might have started to have become frayed and discolored.

So, you might be wondering whether you can wash wool dryer balls. Let’s take a look…

wool dryer balls in washing machine

How Often Should You Wash Dryer Balls?

You should wash your wool dryer balls when they start to look misshapen and overly dry. Washing your wool dryer balls will not only make them look good as new but will also improve their performance so that your clothes dry more quickly. 

You won’t need to wash wool dryer balls very often, maybe around every 100 uses or so. This is probably a good few months between cleans. You should be able to judge whether they need cleaning from their shaggy appearance. 

One of the reasons for washing your dryer balls is that it improves their performance. When a wool ball has been in the dryer many times it becomes overly dry. This actually means that it is less good at absorbing moisture. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true! 

For the wool dryer balls to work their best you want them to absorb moisture from your wet clothes. By washing them you help to recharge them and they will once again be great at absorbing moisture.

They will be back to their best and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefit of them speeding up your drying times. 

Can You Put Dryer Balls In The Washer?

You can put your wool dryer balls in the washer. Many people regularly do this in order to clean and recharge their wool dryer balls. However, some manufacturers recommend that you wash wool dryer balls by hand if possible. 

Washing wool dryer balls in the washing machine is effective, but over time it could cause damage to the balls. To begin with, you are unlikely to notice much of a problem when you inspect your balls after they have been in the washer. But over time, they will begin to deteriorate.

The problem is that being in hot water for a prolonged period will slowly loosen the wool fibers and damage the wool felt. Eventually, this will lead to the deterioration of your wool balls and they will need to be replaced.

It is hard to determine exactly how much machine washing will reduce the lifespan of a wool dryer ball. You may consider the added convenience of using the washer outweighs the potential damage to the wool balls. 

How To Clean Wool Dryer Balls

In this section, I will describe how to clean wool dryer balls both manually and using the washer. 

Both options work. To ensure the maximum lifespan of your wool balls it is recommended that you wash them manually. But, let’s be honest, it is much easier to let the washer do the work for you and this is the method that most people tend to use. 

How to wash wool dryer balls by hand

  1. First, you should gently remove the lint from the wool ball using a fabric shaver or lint remover.
  2. Place your dryer balls into a tub filled with warm water. Push them down so that they are soaked. 
  3. Squeeze the dryer balls hard so that the air is forced out of them. Keep squeezing until the bubbles stop.
  4. Add some mild soap or detergent to the water and keep squeezing them until they are clean. 
  5. Soak them in some clean water to remove the detergent.
  6. Dry your wool balls. You can do this by leaving them somewhere warm or by putting them in the dryer but bear in mind they will not work as dryer balls until they have been dried.

How to wash wool dryer balls in the washer

  1. Start by removing the lint from the wool with a lint remover or fabric shaver. 
  2. Throw the wool dryer balls in the washer and set them off using a gentle setting with a mild detergent.
  3. They’re clean! Just air dry them or dry them in the dryer. Once they are dry they are ready to be used. You could always add some essential oils if you would like them to have a nice fragrance. 

When To Replace Wool Dryer Balls

Eventually, you will need to replace your wool dryer balls. There will come a time when the fibers have begun to break away from each other and you are no longer able to recharge your wool dryer ball by washing it. 

You will know when it is time to replace your wool dryer balls as they will start to unravel and look a bit scraggly. It is also possible that bits of wool will start to fall off the ball and onto your garments in the dryer, you might then find small bits of wool on your clothes. 

When this happens you will know for sure that it is time to replace your wool dryer balls. 

You should get plenty of use out of them before this happens as wool dryer balls generally last for more than 1000 uses. For most people, this is between 2 and 5 years’ worth of laundry. 

The Bottom Line

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. As you have read, wool dryer balls can be cleaned many times over and will last you for years of happy laundry. 

You can clean your wool dryer balls yourself, either manually or in the washer. Both methods are pretty simple and it is definitely worth doing to get more life and better performance from your wool dryer balls. 

If you are looking for some new wool dryer balls, I recommend these ones which are 100% organic wool and ethically made in Nepal. 

Or, you could try the Friendsheep wool dryer balls – they look like penguins (yes, really). 

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