I hate chemicals!
In this day and age there are chemicals in everything, one of my daughters has very sensitive skin and so we can’t have any scented laundry detergent or dryer sheets. When I talked (complained) to a friend about it, she mentioned that her grandmother used to throw in a crumpled sheet of aluminum foil with her clothes rather than a dryer sheet. I immediately had visions of exploding dryers and fires starting, but then she said “…after all, isn’t the dryer vent made out of foil?”
After reading up on dryer balls and looking at different types on Amazon, I decided that I wasn’t going to spend $20 on a set of dryer balls when I could get tennis balls for a fraction of the price. I bought two tubes of tennis balls ($3.84 for both) and a roll of Aluminum foil from the dollar store ($1). I started my experiment by wrapping 5 of the tennis balls in the aluminum foil. The 6th, I wrapped in an old sock so that I could add essential oils to the drying cycle (I love my clothes coming out smelling like Orange Blossoms).
The first balls lasted about 2 weeks (10 loads of laundry) before they started peeling away and showing the tennis ball inside. After doing some further research I found that this was a common problem. So I decided to make solid aluminum foil balls. I bought another tube of aluminum foil ($1) and tore off sheets about 2 feet long. I then gave them to my four year old and told her to crumple them together. I checked on her a few minutes later to see a dozen little tiny foil balls all over the living room, which is my own fault for not making it clear. So after another roll of aluminum foil ($1) AND supervision, I ended up with two balls of aluminum foil about the size of softballs.
I add about four drops of essential oils to the surface of the sock covered tennis ball and throw it in the dryer with the three other tennis balls and two aluminum foil balls. After about 10 loads the tennis balls started to smell like hot rubber when I took the laundry out (which completely negated the nice essential oils I added). So I thought, why do these clothes need to be dried on hot? I switched my dryer over to the delicate cycle (very low heat) and started it up. The cycle only lasts for about 30 minutes versus the hour I used to turn my dryer to.
This morning I dried a large spare blanket on ONE cycle of the delicate (low heat). I pulled it out to find it completely dry and smelling faintly of Orange (no burnt rubber smell). After using these balls for several weeks, I have noticed that all of my towels, blankets, anything I put in the dryer, are softer and have no static build-up at all (I always had just a bit, even with dryer sheets).
The one bad thing is that I can’t switch my dryer on at night to run while we sleep, the banging noise wakes up my kids. Who wouldn’t wake up with six balls bouncing around in a metal tub? For the benefits of saving money on electricity, clothes that last longer, and a 30 minute drying cycle, I think I can live with it.