Which Is Better? Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets

A quick walk down the detergent aisle in your favourite store provides evidence of a market saturated with options for cleaning, stain removal, fabric softening, deodourizing, and static prevention. When it comes to drying your clothes, it can be equally as overwhelming, and adding to the dilemma of which product to purchase is the age-old debate between dryer balls vs. dryer sheets. If you are considering switching sides or left wondering if you are using the right one for your family, Mr. Appliance® can help you make a more informed decision and settle this laundry room battle once and for all.

A person holding a dryer sheet and a dryer ball with laundry in the background

What is a Dryer Ball?

Dryer balls are a chemical-free alternative to traditional dryer sheets, and they are typically made from either plastic or wool. Dryer balls range in size and formation, with variations that are smooth, spiked, or whimsically shaped to resemble cactus, hedgehogs, or other creatures. Regardless of their appearance, each type is designed to work in the same manner, by continuously separating items as the dryer tumbles and preventing them from clumping together. This gentle motion serves to increase airflow to the fabrics, shortening drying time while reducing the amount of static electricity that is produced.

How do Dryer Sheets Work?

Dryer sheets are the most popular solution to softer, cleaner smelling clothes, but while they are meant to produce the same end results as their counterparts, they have little else in common. Dryer sheets are thin, rectangular, polyester sheets that are coated with various chemical softeners and fragrances. The hot air, humidity, and friction created during the drying cycle serve to release these compounds onto the fabrics, producing a long-lasting scent while softening clothes and reducing or eliminating static cling.

Dryer Balls vs. Sheets: Which One is Better for You?

Whether you opt to use dryer balls or dryer sheets, each comes with its own set of pros and cons which include:

Dryer Balls Pros

  • Dryer balls are reusable, often up to 1,000 loads or more.
  • Wool or plastic balls are environmentally friendly and produce no waste.
  • Dryer balls are chemical and additive-free.
  • When using three to six balls for medium to large loads, dryer balls effectively reduce drying time and static electricity.

Dryer Balls Cons

  • Balls can be noisy.
  • Dryer balls add no scent, although fragrance may be added to wool balls.
  • Higher initial cost per load.

Dryer Sheets Pros

  • Dryer sheets are more effective at softening clothes and reducing static.
  • Sheets are easy to use and require no preparation.
  • Lower initial cost per load.

Dryer Sheets Cons

  • Some believe the chemicals and additives in dryer sheets may be harmful to health.
  • No reduction in drying time.
  • Dryer sheets may reduce the absorbency of towels.
  • Sheets are thrown away after each use, producing more waste than dryer balls.

Additional Uses for Dryer Sheets

Avid DIYers and cleaning experts have discovered several additional uses for dryer sheets, aside from laundry:

  • Use a dryer sheet to clean your vacuum.
  • Place under the seats in your car for added freshness.
  • Buff chrome fixtures to a brilliant shine.
  • Fold a dryer sheet through your belt loop to repel mosquitoes while outdoors.
  • Click here for more dryer sheet magic from Mr. Appliance!

Regardless of which type of fabric softener you use, you can help to ensure the safety, performance, and efficiency of your dryer with expert dryer repair and maintenance services from Mr. Appliance.