Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls Review – Do they Work?

4 out of 5 leaves


Aluminum foil dryer balls are a green alternative to commercial dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener.  While in the dryer, they absorb electrical charges so your clothes stay static free.  They also tumble happily with your laundry, softening it as it drys.  But do they actually work?

The Good

  • Better for you – no more toxic chemicals hanging onto your “clean” clothes
  • Better for the Earth – fewer dryer sheets in the landfill
  • Saves Money – foil balls can be made cheaply, reused and last for months
  • Better for the Earth (part 2) – aluminum is easily recycled when the ball is spent


The Bad

  • Clothes are not as soft as you may be used to from commercial fabric softeners


My Experience

DYI dryer balls

DYI dryer balls

This is the idea that started it all folks.  A friend posted a link to the aluminum foil dryer balls idea on Facebook.  I thought, “that’s just crazy!”, and, “how could that possibly work?”.  I started searching the web for a green idea review database to see if this idea was worth my time.  No collection of green idea reviews could be found and this blog was born!


I found the link above and made my own dryer balls out of heavy duty aluminum foil. I made three because I think if two are good, three are probably better! I was a little concerned with the sharpish nubbins all over the balls snagging my clothes so I did the first test run on towels. I washed the towels as usual with my store brand liquid detergent, and then placed them in the dryer with the three balls. I ran the dryer as I typically would for towels: high heat and auto dry (the dryer stops when it senses a low humidity).

As the load dried, you could hear the foil balls knocking around in there, but I found it wasn’t much louder than a pair of kid’s overalls. I folded the towels as soon as the load was complete, while they were still warm. All the towels in this large load were completely static free. I found that some of the smaller items were not very soft and fluffy, but the larger items were almost as soft as I am used to from using dryer sheets. The balls came out of the dryer looking much smoother and rounder after being tumbled around, so I have no more concerns about clothing snags.

Three dryer balls took the static from all these towels!

Next I used them with a load of kids clothes. Again the clothes were static free, except for a tiny bit around the fleece footie pajamas, but I would expect that based on the material. The clothes were noticeably not as soft, but they were nowhere near stiff.
In summary, I am very pleased to report that THEY WORK!! The aluminum foil dryer balls did their job and kept my clothes static free. They also did a decent job of tumbling clothes to softness, but weren’t all the way there. Stayed tuned as I experiment with other natural ideas for clothes softening, as I think we are done with dryer sheets for good!

Have you tried aluminum foil, or any other kind of dryer balls? I’d love to hear about your experience!

This post was a featured “Teacher of the Week” for Butter Believer’s Sunday School Blog Carnival!

Shared at Sunday SchoolMonday Mania, Homestead Barnhop, Homestead Carnival, TALU Tuesday,  Teach Me Tuesday, One Project at a Time, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wildcrafting Wednesdays, Your Green Resource, Rural Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Friday
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170 Responses to Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls Review – Do they Work?

  1. I need to try this! Thanks!

    • Loretta Williams says:

      Don’t throw out your old dryer sheets. They are a good mosquito repellent. Stick a sheet in a pocket, the opening of a sock or even wrap it around your hair with a rubber band or clip. I was surprised how well they work. I live in south Texas. Hurricane Harvey left us with no power and stores were closers. The mosquitoes got bad after a few days and a neighbor told me that’s all he uses. I tried it and I’m a believer. I have long hair and I tuck a sheet in my pony tail while I’m in the yard. Stops all bugs from pestering you. I reuse them several times and toss out when the bugs start bothering me.

    • Syl says:

      like I just posted, I only use a small amount of foil, loosely rolled, and I use a table spoon of baking soda in my wash now, with a tiny bit of those scented crystals, and my laundry is squeaky clean, it smells divine, and it has absolutely no static..I just use my 3 inch rolls of foil for that day, and toss them and make new ones, not sure why, I just like to use new foil every time, but don’t use to much soda in your laundry, it is a hard product to rinse, but it will scrub the soap out of the clothes, so there is less static there already..:)

      • T B says:

        Don’t toss your foil after one use. That’s silly and a waste of resources as it works for hundreds of uses. I’ve used the same ones for nearly a year with great results.

  2. I just started doing this as well. It works great and I am so happy to not use sheets that have who knows what chemicals in them. I have heard you can only use them a few times though and then they lose their oomph. So I use them about 3 times and then get new ones. I also just put sheets of aluminum in the dryer. I don’t even make the balls the first time. Then after that first load they come out round.

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks for your tips Suzy! How big of a foil sheet do you use?

      • sue robbins says:
        says to use a 2 foot piece. Form into tight ball. Doesn’t snag clothes, will come out smoother each time.

        • Raquel Otis says:

          I think this is a good idea, the only concern I have is about disposing of the aluminum…is it environmentally safe? Probably anything is better than the dryer sheets, but isn’t this polluting to a degree? I know that its not always accepted as a recyclable by trash collectors…..

          • Victoria says:

            Hi Raquel – one foil ball can be used for months at a time. My municipality can take the foil for recycling, so I never thought about it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Interesting! What a great frugal, natural replacement. Although personally I’ve never used dryer sheets so I don’t really have the need for a substitute. I’d never even heard of them until I got to college and saw everyone using them in the laundry room! To each her own, I suppose. 🙂

    I found your blog through Simple Lives Thursday. What a neat idea for a blog!

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks for stopping by Meghan! Do you use an alternative to dryer sheets to manage static and softness?

      • No, I don’t use any alternative. For some reason my parents never used dryer sheets growing up so I guess it never occurred to me that static and roughness (or whatever the opposite of softness is) were a problem! They just seemed like a part of laundy, lol. 🙂

  4. Elise says:

    Sounds great! dryer sheets are so nasty smelling that when I do have to use my dryer, I’d rather just put up with the static than that smell.

    • Victoria says:

      Elise – it’s amazing how STRONG conventional dryer sheets can smell when you’re not used to them anymore.

  5. DavetteB says:

    this is such a great idea! I mainly used dryer sheets for the static when I do, so this is a much more healthy and economical alternative.

    ps: found you @ Simple Lives Thursday

  6. I use aluminum foil balls in the dryer and they are great for reducing static. However, you are right that it does nothing to soften the clothes. For that, I add vinegar to the rinse cycle in the washer. I posted about it here:

    Love your site!

    • Victoria says:

      I tried out vinegar as a fabric softener too! Here’s a link to my review:

    • KatieDC says:

      I use white vinegar as a laundry rinse too.

      Also find that being frugal with soap, just use what you need, helps to keep the clothes soft, might be that soap residue contributes to making clothes a bit stiff.

      • Belle says:

        I started using white vinegar in the rinse water a couple years ago for the towels. I use borax and about 1/4 cup of tide – maybe less for a large load. The vinegar, 6 -10 ounces, goes in the first rinse, then plain water for the second. Vinegar is also suppose to be a disinfectant. The towels became increasingly softer and fluffier over time as the vinegar washed away the detergent residue. Even very old towels became nice again. I also read that drier sheets are not good for towels as they make the towels less absorbent. I really don’t have static issues with the towels anyway. I use vinegar for all my clothes now. I’m interested in trying the aluminum and wool balls now.

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  8. Melissa says:

    Huh, this is interesting because I never would have connected the two. Personally, I don’t use the drier anymore and we hang all our clothes to dry, but if I do ever start using it again, I might have to try this.

    • Victoria says:

      We live in smoggy Los Angeles, and really close the the airport, so I feel like my clothes could get dirtier by hanging outside! Do you live in a place that is sunny all year? What do you do in the winter?

      • Melissa says:

        I actually live in an apartment so we have no backyard/outdoors space to hang them. I have a drying rack and hang them indoors year round. Someday I hope to live in a place with a backyard so I can hang them up. When I’m not drying clothes, the drying rack collapses so I can put it away and it’s out of sight, out of mind. I think I just do it because it’s cheap lol. It’s 75 cents to dry a load of laundry, whereas I bought the drying rack for 10 dollars a few years ago and it has more than paid for itself several times over.

  9. Karsten says:

    When should I replace the aluminum balls with new ones? j/w

    • Victoria says:

      When I notice they are losing effectiveness, I just wrap a new sheet of foil around the balls (every 4-5 loads). If at some point they are getting too big, or starting to fall apart, it’s probably time to replace.

  10. Karsten says:

    Would it be wiser not to use the balls for all-in-one washer and dryers?

    • Victoria says:

      Hi Karsten! I don’t have any experience with all-in-one machines. I wonder, however, if the balls would be prone to mold after getting wet?

  11. Pingback: Using Vinegar as Fabric Softener Review – Does it Work? | Green Idea Reviews

  12. Beth says:

    how big should the initial balls be?

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  14. Emily Peterson says:

    I just barely tried this and the results were amazing. We had a huge static problem in our house, and now it’s GONE! It was seriously a mini miracle.

  15. Darla Gottsabend says:

    I came across your website yesterday while I was searching for alternatives to dryer sheets.
    I really like your website and what other women have to say about the subjects. So here’s my
    When I did towels yesterday, I missed the rinse cycle, so instead I poured some vinegar on one of the washcloths, just a little. I put in the dryer on top of the towels. They came out fluffy
    and soft. On a few of them there was the slight smell of vinegar. But very, very slight. I just wanted to pass this along. 🙂

    • JA McDonald says:

      I have a spray bottle (old hair spray pump) of white vinegar – I wonder if you had loaded the dryer and spritzed a few times that would have spread it around more – or maybe as you are loading it – few towels in, spritz, armload, spritz, last few bits, spritz? I never seem to be around when the rinse cycle is rolling, so I’m glad you tried it in the dryer! Might give this a whirl – Thanks!

      • DavetteB says:

        If you have or can get an old Downy ball, just put the vinegar in that. It goes in the washer in the beginning and dispenses for the rinse cycle.
        The one good washer (front loader) in our complex has a compartment you fill and it dispenses later. If you can add it in the washer, by the time the clothes are dry you won’t smell the vinegar (works for hand wash too).

      • Jody says:

        I just put the vinegar in the fabric softener tray. It works great.

    • Tina says:

      Darla, I’m curious now, I wonder if you just could spray essential oils on a washcloth, say lavender along with the aluminum balls and get the fresh smell and eliminate static..just a thought 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        Tina, I do this often. I wet the cloth with hot water, leaving it a bit more wet than the clothes, put a couple of drops on and rub the cloth on itself to spread the oil. I’ve also used cologne the same way.

  16. Maggie O'Regan says:

    I have just discovered your blog through the Homestead Survival page on Facebook and have spent the last 2 hours reading all your interesting reviews. I have always tried to be green rather than chemical, but must admit, having a busy life, convenience has sometimes taken over some aspects of housework! However, as I have recently been diagnosed with emphysema I now have to be extra careful about inhaling anything toxic or irritating. It’s great therefore discovering someone who has done all the research and testing for me….thankyou!
    There are just a couple of things I’d like to add to your very useful tips:
    I’ll be trying the aluminium balls but I’ve heard it’s best not to use fabric softener on towels as it impedes their absorbancy, so I use a nappy liner with a few drops of lavender or rose oil in the tumbler dryer for freshness. I line dry when possible, and find that, whilst still damp, giving the towels and natural fabrics a quick tumble dry to finish them off takes away the dreaded ‘line stiffness’.
    I use a dilution of bicarbonate of soda and water to clean my fridge as it absorbs any odours and keep a small open jar of the powder in there which also helps keep it smelling sweet.
    Bicarbonate is also very effective to use dry on upholstery and carpets to remove nasty smells, especially vomit and urine, just rub it in, leave it for a while then vacuum off. Dilute it in warm water for washable surfaces.
    I hope these comments may be of interest to you, I apologise if you have already mentioned them in your blog, there’s still a lot of it left for me to peruse!
    I wonder if you have any suggestions for killing and deterring clothes moths and their eggs? I have an invasion of them and as I have a large vintage fashion and textile collection and am panicing about protecting it long term now I can no longer use chemicals.

    • Erika says:

      Maggie – I have had the same problem with the moths. I believe that they came in with some old fly tying paraphernalia that my boyfriend brought in. They have literally taken over! They manage to survive by eating the animal hair in the corners from my pets, the animal hair on our deer mounts, my wool sweaters and any other natural material that they can find. I have tried the cedar soaked in a mix of oils then stuffed into old nylons. Um, nope. The moths ate through the nylon (I think they actually like the oil!) I have even tried placing bowls of cedar in the corners and under furniture. Nope….didn’t work either. The most success that I have found is with the moth traps from the local feed store. The have a pheromone in them that attracts the male moths. It has cut back the hatching some, but there always ends up being that stray male that ends up mating. I can’t use sprays; I have cats in the house. This is an 11-year battle that has me to the point of just burning down my house!! JK! If you ever do find that secret destructive method for the moths, please let me know where to find it!!!

      • Maggie O'Regan says:

        Hi Erika, thanks for your comment – yep …. I still have moths but definitely not as many as last year. I gave in to chemicals in the end and got my daughter to do the spraying whilst I kept we’ll out of the way in the garden with the cat! I live in the UK and it sounds like you are in America where you may not be able to get the same products as are available here, but if you can I’ve found a couple of things which I think are helping lessen the invasion.
        The first is a spray which has a 12 month residual action and kills the moths and any eggs. I’ve sprayed it inside wardrobes etc and on stock that I want to store but can’t be washed. It’s called ‘Zero in’, active ingredient 0.1% Cypermethrin , bought through Amazon UK. As long as you keep the pets out of the way until it dries it won’t harm them ( my Bengal cat’s still healthy!) – it actually says you can use it on clothing as long as you let it dry before wearing it and apparently it lasts two washes before you should do it again. I’ve used it on some winter clothes before I store them for the Summer but mainly on rugs, the underside of upholstered furniture and inside emptied drawers and cupboards etc as I’m not really sure I want it, safe or not, next to my skin. You could use it in your deer mounts and the corners where the fur collects to kill any eggs? I’ve been advised to Hoover furnishings and floors regularly but find it a bit of a chore and probably don’t do it as ‘regularly’ as I should – it’s a lot easier to brush the cat!
        It’s taking ages but I’ve nearly got all my textile collection stored in vacuum bags and my hanging clothes in garment bags after washing or spraying things like my sheepskin coat etc. I’ve never been so organised! I’ve also got bowls and sachets of lavender and lemon verbena everywhere as I’m told that it deters them – the house smells lovely but I’m not sure how effective it is!
        On the advice of an antique carpet collector I’ve also got ‘Rentokill Moth Killer and deterrant’ paper strips pinned inside every wardrobe and cupboard as they have found them very effective. You can also cut them into smaller pieces and place them in between things that are folded and stored.
        I’ve just bought some cedar balls and have put them in the drawers where I keep my cashmere sweaters just in case it helps but always make sure I put them away after wearing them and keep the drawers firmly shut …. So far no damage…
        I’ve got the pheromone moth sticky strips everywhere and have noticed that I am catching a lot less male moths than last year so something is working! I’m told that they aren’t really any use on their own but are a good indicator of how many moths you have got lurking about. I have, however, noticed that in the summer with the windows open they seem to attract moths in from outside which I’m not sure is a good thing! I’ve stopped buying the traps, they are quite expensive if you want to put them in every room, but just buy the sticky strip refills in bulk (again from Amazon) and Bluetack them to the walls instead. I think I inadvertently touched one the other day and found a couple of moths following me around in the local thrift shop!
        My daughters say I’m becoming moth phobic and it’s costing me a fortune in deterrants but I am determined to try and get the better of the little B’s or I’ll have to find another way of making a living and resort to only wearing Nylon ….eek!
        I know only too well the temptation of wanting to torch the place and shave the cat but have, so far, managed resist! Eleven years is a long time but hang in there & hopefully you too will find something less drastic that at least keeps the invasion under control. I hope some of my suggestions help ….keep me posted if you find anything else that works and I’ll do the same if I discover the ultimate weapon in the moth war!

        • Sharon says:

          Years ago, we had a moth infestation. I will make this brief. If you are keeping sunflower seed in or near your home, set it outside or cover it tightly. It contains naturally occurring moth larvae or whatever, and will hatch out when it gets warm. Removing the seed to a garage solved our problem. Watch what you store! Acorns on a string will turn into moth food, as will that beautiful gingerbread house! And flour products should be tossed every 6 months, or frozen. We had to use a commercial spray to clean up, but that was 10 years ago and we have no moth’s. None.

      • Dazz says:

        If you suspect there may be moth eggs in some item of clothing you can kill the eggs by freezing. Simply wrap the cloth well in a plastic bag to protect it from freezer smell, and leave it in the freezer for a few days. I do this because we have moths and I knit with wool. When you knit it’s hard to keep the item you’re working on sealed in plastic all the time so I simply freeze everything I make after it’s done. Freezing is also said to help keep angora from shedding as much.

    • Kathy says:

      I was told some moths do not like the smell of bay leaves and or spearmint. I put out some bay leaves in my food cupboards along with some pieces of Wrigleys Spearmint gum still wrapped up. The moths went away and I haven’t had much of a problem since. I occasionally put new things on the shelves just to keep them away.

  17. Karen T. says:

    I just discovered this today and gave it a try. Like you, I put 2 aluminum foil dryer balls in with my towels. Yes they are not as soft as with dryer sheets, but its a greener way to dry your laundry. I tried them next with my dark clothes. A nylon shirt had a little static, but not bad! I think I like this idea! I will definitely be using this as my way of softening my clothes!

  18. Hi Victoria, I’m stopping from TALU and wanted to tell you that that’s a fantastic idea. I hate the thought of the dryer sheets and their chemicals and love to dry the clothes outside when I can. But Vancouver and Oxfordshire, the places I live it, are not out-door drying friendly for about 8 months/yr. I’m going to give this little hint a try. Thank you. 🙂

  19. I saw this idea on Pinterest a while back but keep forgetting to try it. For the softener, everyone seemed to agree that vinegar in the rinse cycle is the way to go, but I would never remember to go back to the machine. I use dryer sheets, not fabric softener, so that wouldn’t help me, although I’ve been meaning to try CLEANING the washer with vinegar… [#TALU]

    • Kimberley Murphy says:

      If you can find a ‘Downy Ball’, fill it with white vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener. It is designed to open during the rinse cycle.

  20. Lara Britt says:

    TALU-ho! Never used aluminum dryer balls but I’ve used old tennis shoes wrapped in old pillow cases. I’ve also used commercial dryer balls and rings. I use dryer sheets instead of moth balls and other insect repellents. But I’m thinking that the aluminum might also help dry the clothes more quickly as well as control the static. Worth a try. But I too mostly hang up my laundry these days.

  21. Teri says:

    Does it have to be heavy duty foil or will regular foil work too?

  22. Tammy says:

    I too just started using foil balls (my first load is the dryer as I type) DH and I were talking about the static electricity in the winter, as I was pulling clothes out of the dryer and it was like the 4th of July!
    I don’t use dryer sheets, never really did because the chemicals build up on your dryers lint screen, causing dryer fires. Instead I use vinegar in final rinse to soften clothes, keep towels absorbent, and it’s WAY cheaper than a $10 of fabric softener!

  23. Greg Keane says:

    thanks all, I tried the aluminum foil but it did not work for my synthetic running gear. I noticed however after reading this blog and the comments that my aluminum foil balls may not have been tight or small enough and should I have two in the same load?

    I like the idea of vinegar to soften the cloths but I use a shared laundry facility in my building and I would never remember or want to run down to pour vinegar in the rinse cycle but I do have these fabric softener balls and I wonder if I could just fill those with vinegar.

    • Joetta says:

      Yes you can use the fabric softener balls with the white vinegar. A 1/2 c per load is sufficient

    • Smara says:

      Synthetic fabrics and athletic gear should be hung or laid flat to dried. Nylon, polyester, anything with elastics, etc. you don’t need to do it outside. Anywhere in your house is fine and works great.

  24. I’ve gone through nearly the whole site and also have examine lots of excellent things but we find the content articles lack inside deeper thought

    • Joetta says:

      Yes you can use the fabric softener balls with the white vinegar. A 1/2 c per load is sufficient.

  25. sue b says:

    I also tried this and found that it worked best when used on more natural fibers. Hence, my “professional” work clothes still had some static cling. Solution I used was to use the foil balls on my husband’s cotton and natural fiber clothes, towels, etc. and dryer sheets on my work clothes. (Although I’m semi-retired now so no more work clothes!! yippee-skippee!) Also, you can slightly open the used foil ball and maniupulate it to form a new ball. This seemed to help “recharge” the foil for a few more loads.

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  28. Frances Gates Rhodes says:

    I have used the same two spiked rubber dryer balls in my electric for several years. They produce soft, static-free results and appear to be virtually indestructible. A little under 3″ in size, they come in pairs and I paid less than $5.00 for them. I have liked them so much that I have given a pair as gifts to many of my family members and friends over the years. I don’t even remember when I purchased my last box of dryer sheets! It is a given, of course, that fragile fabrics and intricate lace need to be hand-washed and air-dried regardless what one puts in the dryer to begin with — be it chemical saturated dryer sheets, aluminum balls, or the spiked rubber balls!

    • Frances Gates Rhodes says:

      Oops, I said “in my electric” when I should have said “in my electric dryer.”

    • Victoria says:

      I’ve heard about these rubber balls, and definitely want to try them sometime!

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  30. Jana says:

    This is such a great find for me! My husband is an electrician at a power plant and has to wear flame retardant clothing. I can’t use any type of commercial fabric softener because it leaves behind a coating that is not fire-safe. But then I worry because his clothes are static-y and can produce an electric shock/spark that is not safe in his work environment either. Thank you for posting this idea, along with the vinegar suggestion…I’m eternally grateful!

  31. natalie says:

    I imagine the first few washes clothes would still be somewhat soft since fabric softener usually doesn’t wash out of clothes after one wash. At least that’s what a laundry mat owner told me a long time ago. May not be true but who better to know right? lol. Regardless, I am trying this tonight. I know adding vinegar to the wash helps soften so I can always do that then the tinfoil I dyer. I live in Arizona where it’s especially dry so it’ll be interesting to see if I get zapped by everything like I do every time I vacuum or change a polyester mattress pad.

  32. Chris says:

    So I have done this for a few weeks now and the results have been nice except for one experience. Turns out my 100% polyester Under Armour hoodie is not a fan of hot pieces of a metal rubbing against its fabric. So with that in mind, I’d pay attention to what it is you’re tossing in the dryer with them.

    • Greg says:

      I tried an aluminum ball for the first time, today. I found that any polyester or nylon clothing came out with static. All other clothes were just fine. I didn’t know about using multiple balls, or tennis balls. I will try that next time. As for the polyester/nylon . . . ???

      • Joe says:

        The tennis ball speed up drying time. The aluminum ball is for static. The last winter in Chicago was long and cold. I had no static problems. But then, we don’t have every fabric type in our wardrobes. All I can say is experiment.

      • Carrie says:

        I don’t know if this will help you but as a kid my mom would put a paper clip on the hem of my nylon slips to end the static. I live in a humid place so I have no static worries, but i figured you could give this a shot. Good luck

      • Brandy says:

        I have used foil, wool, and tennis balls in the drier to help with static and softening. I found the foil balls to be noisy and like in your case they don’t always work so I dug around a little more in cyberspace and discovered that one of the main reasons for static electricity is over-drying, often caused by mixing fabric types in the same load. Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon dry much faster than cotton. When possible I try to do my polyesters and nylons all together in a load because they need a much shorter drying time at lower heat. If I only have a few pieces made out of synthetic material, I’ll just lay them over the back of my chairs to dry and they’re usually dry about the same time as the rest of the load. Not to worry, these fabrics are never stiff from “line” drying. I currently use 6 wool balls and 2-3 tennis balls per load to soften laundry in the drier. The tennis balls are GREAT at picking up all those stray hairs I shed everywhere since I have long hair. =)

    • Carla Smith says:

      Also, new jeans black or dark colors can each a white dust look on them when you dry them the first time. I use an old wash cloth with a vanilla extract and water solution for a great smell to all my clothes and bedding. Works great with the foil balls

  33. Delene says:

    Does it matter if you have a gas dryer as opposed to an electric dryer?

  34. Joe says:

    1 aluminum foil ball works very well for static in the extreme winter of 2013-14. So far, I’ve run a dozen loads and not static cling. TV’s “The Chew” says the aluminum ball lasts for months. We shall see. I also let 6 tennis balls bounce around and that softens the clothes. I once did the same load twice to judge if there was a difference in drying time with and without tennis balls. Tennis balls cut my time by a third or better. The tennis ball have been in my dryer for years. At first, the tennis balls do make a racket, but they get caught up in the clothes after a while and the whole thing quiets down. Then as I unload the clothes, more often than not the tennis balls bounce out of the machine. But, I find it all acceptable and green.

  35. Nay says:

    I was looking for an alternative to dryer balls so when I wash my pillows they won’t become lumpy, does the aluminum foil balls work for this

    • Joe says:

      I use 6 tennis balls to speed up drying 40%. I’ve tested it by running the same load twice (drying with and without tennis balls). The aluminum ball does a job on the static. Would 6 balls of aluminum foil do the same job as the tennis balls? Good question. However, according to TV’s “The Chew,” the aluminum ball has to be replaced after a few months. I’ve also used old gym shoes as a fluffing method on down coats. But, I’ve also washed down comforters and coats to dry them in the summer sun over two closely spaced clotheslines to keep them off the ground. They seem to fluff up by themselves. I even get two people and we shake the comforters out. I can hold them up to the sun and I can see the distribution of down and no clumping. My original idea was to dry them in the sun and fluff in the dryer, but found it unnecessary to place them in the dryer. A king sized comforter does not tumble well even in a jumbo washer at the laundromat. Less so in my home machine. I’ve just tried the GOOP hand cleaner in the automotive department. It works on oil and leaves no stain. Granny had a fluffy house robe with a real nasty collar and nothing seemed to remove it. Rubbing with GOOP and letting it stay on for 24 hours really helped. Even better than rubbing with Fels-Naptha soap. The robe was synthetic. Rubbing with GOOP and throwing it in the hamper will not create mold as ONLY GOOP is used. Rubbing with Fels requires water, so it soon should be washed. For basement drying, I hung broom sticks from the ceiling using electrical ties. Broom sticks do not sag, thus I can hang more clothes on plastic hangers. When dry, I slide all on my Nifty Grabber (eBay $14) (the grabber is used for sorting clothes so I don’t have to bend over), throw it over my shoulder and carry the clothes upstairs and hang in the closet. I’m not selling anything. I use 2 Nifty Grabbers to spread out old sheets under the bushes I want to trim to catch cuttings. My back does not take much bending these days.

  36. loup says:

    Even with vinegar during the rinse + one aluminum ball, my blanket is still static-heavy.

    I should put 2-3 more.

    • Joe says:

      I can only guess as to why it does not work. Vinegar is a fabric softener. The aluminum ball should eliminate the static. I will hazard a guess. Is the drum of your dryer bare metal, or does it have a coating of some kind like porcelain? My thinking is the drum is insulated from the aluminum ball and thus does not pick up the charge and discharge when it touches the drum. There might be a coating from the dryer sheets. Pull out the dryer lint trap and pull out the lint. Then see how a trickle of water from the faucet goes through it. Then wash the filter with soap and water and test it with a trickle of water again. You should see a difference. This should be done every few months when you use dryer sheets to improve ventilation and speed up drying time. It might be your dryer drum is coated with the chemicals from the dryer sheets. You can try washing down the drier drum. Please let me know your results. Here is another new tip I learned that I think is off the wall. Polish your stainless steel appliance with wd-40. Not only does it leave no streaks, fingerprints have not shown up in over a week.

    • Joe says:

      2nd email. I don’t use vinegar any more. The tennis balls do the job well. Regardless of the TV commercials (teddy bear falling onto a pile of towels), using dryer sheets on towels makes them LESS absorbent. I want my Ts to absorb moisture as it has a cooling effect in the summer. Also be warned that there is no such thing as “flushable wipes.” Another lie in advertising.

    • Brandy says:

      One of the main reasons for static electricity is over-drying, often caused by mixing fabric types in the same load. Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon dry much faster than cotton. When possible I try to do my polyesters and nylons all together in a load because they need a much shorter drying time at lower heat. Sometimes I’ll put blankets or a mattress pads, things that I know ALWAYS comes out full of static, in the drier but set a timer so I can take them out when they’re still just a little damp to finish air drying so they won’t get over-dried. I’ll just lay them over the back of my chairs to dry and they’re usually dry in just an hour or so.

  37. loup says:

    Vinegar + two aluminum balls don’t remove the static either on my my dried clothes. 🙁

    • Joe says:

      The vinegar is to soften the clothes. I use 1 aluminum dryer ball and it works. I’ve been using the same aluminum foil ball during this long winter in Chicago (2013-2014) I have a stainless steel drum. I wonder if it does not work as well if you have a coated drum. I’m not selling them, so use what works for you.

  38. I live in south Florida – where higher humidity is common – static electricity is seldom a problem. My grocer sells a store brand of less expensive dryer sheets, and I use each sheet twice, one to a load to “soften” fabric. And then I attach the used ones to an old “duster” wand to hold a “wad” of them together. They work great and dust does not return as quickly as without the “used” dryer sheets.

  39. Chris says:

    We recently purchased a new dryer that has a sensor in it that determines if clothes are dry, and the instructions say not to use dryer sheets. So I did web searches for alternatives and foil balls came to my attention. Our nice brand-new perfect dryer now has hundreds of dents in the dryer drum. I am concerned that these dents may make the drum out of balance and create more wear and tear on the motor. I wish some of you who so heavily reccommend foil balls would have also let us know about how they make dents, because I am certain I am not the only one this has happened to. We have been using 6 wool balls and 1 foil ball. I understand wool balls will also get rid of static cling and act as a fabric softener – so the foil ball was probably totally unnecessary. So thanks for the heads up and thanks for the damage to my dryer.

    • Joe says:

      Aluminum is a very light (not dense) soft metal. I would really look for another cause. My aluminum ball has been bouncing around all winter in my Tromm dryer with no problem.
      A tennis shoe would be more dangerous than an aluminum foil ball and a tennis shoe never causes harm that I have heard about.

      Sounds to me like someone was drying rocks. I do know of one girl who washed her Father’s police badge in the dryer and it ruined the badge, but not the dryer.

      By the nature of the product, the load is always uneven, so I don’t believe dings will cause any problem. Then again, I’m not an expert, just an old science teacher.

      Please let me know if you find another cause.

      • Chris says:

        Nope, the foil ball is definitely the culprit. I made a ball roughly the size of a tennis ball and it has become smaller and much more compacted after many drying cycles, and the thing is now as hard as a rock. Our dryer drum is stainless steel and is now peppered with dents. Maybe I am a little too concerned about the dum getting out of balance, because you are right – the clothes themselves will prevent the drum from ever being truly balanced anyway. But it still makes me really mad that we paid a lot of money for this dryer, the thing is only 1 month old, and it has already gotten so damaged, Sure, the damage is on the inside where nobody really sees it, and this dryer will be ours until it dies, so it’s not like the resale value has been ruined – but it still makes me mad. It would have been nice if I would have found warnings about this before.

        • Joe says:

          One source of the aluminum foil ball is from the TV show “The Chew.” It is not on cable, but on one of the main networks. As I remember it, the show came up with a number of laundry tips that day that had a European source. I forgot the guy’s name, but he is probably the youngest male on that show. He is on facebook and the video of that show with the aluminum ball is on his page.

          You made me look at my stainless steel dryer drum closely. I too have dings, but I’m sure those are from belt buckles, coins and so forth. The dings look to have been made by the corners of metal objects. I would expect spherical dimples if they were created by my aluminum foil ball. Thinking back about it, I think I noticed those dings before I used the aluminum foil ball. I just never gave it a thought over the years and the dryer has been running fine for 10 or more years.

          I also use tennis balls. I once ran the same load twice and drying time was cut almost in 1/2. I won’t use wool because I’m afraid of the itch factor as I’ve read they wear down over time. I’m happy with the tennis balls and a couple or real drying balls.

          One side comment. I turned on the machine and I did not hear the usual thumping of the tennis balls. I checked and found the cat in the dryer. He was panting, but is still living well on his remaining 8 lives.

      • Frank says:

        Don’t be so dismissive and accusatory. Chris knows better than you do what caused the dents. Our brand new dryer also now has hundreds of little dents from using aluminum balls, and yes, it absolutely was from the balls. I’m not too concerned about it, but I won’t be using them anymore.

  40. Diane says:

    When I learned of the effects of chemicals in dryer sheets on our reproductive system, I too decided to search the internet. I love the tin foil option and wish I had known of this before. I do find it loses effect after 2 or 3 uses though, so I change it often. I just put a flat sheet in and it comes out in the form of a ball. My biggest concern is if tiny pieces of foil tear off and can damage the functioning of the dryer. Also, maybe Joe could tell me why the foil loses its effect after a few uses?? (Good question for a science teacher.) Thanks for all the info!!

    • joe says:

      My foil ball worked all winter and then became smashed smaller and smaller. So I wrapped another sheet of aluminum foil around it and it is still doing the job this spring. Without any observable evidence, I can only speculate. I never find any lose foil in my dryer. My thinking is that your foil ball becomes coated with the old residual dryer sheet chemicals or residual detergent and thus insulates the aluminum ball so it cannot collect and discharge. Besides the aluminum foil ball, I also have several tennis balls in the dryer. One source of using the aluminum foil ball came from the TV show “The Chew.” The aluminum foil ball is used in Europe, is his claim. He also stated that it looses it’s effectiveness after 6 months. My drum is stainless and other dryer drums may be painted or coated with ceramic. Loads for some people might be all synthetic, cotton or combination of these. There are also different detergents that contain different volume boosters, scents and fragrances. Also, different companies make aluminum foil and what do they to the surface of the foil? There are a lot of variables so it is impossible to tell. Observations over the net are not much help. What is really needed is to measure the static charge after each load with different clothes, in different machines, using different detergents over time. So, all this DIY is always going to be hit or miss. The saving grace here is that it is cheap so if it works for you, you save for the rest of your life. It is well worth the experiment because one tip can save, for example, a dollar a week. Over a year, one kid can go to summer camp at no cost to your budget. Do try the homemade detergent: 1 part washing soda, 1 paart Borax, 1 bar grated Feds-naphtha laundry soap Use no more than 3 tablespoons for a big load. The cost is 6 cents a load instead of 60 cents a load. Another guess is that since I use such a small volume of detergent as compared to commercial brands that more detergent is flushed out so there are less residuals to coat my aluminum ball. All this is shooting from the hip because without actually measuring the results, there can be no valid conclusions.

  41. Scruffy Nerfherder says:

    I use tennis balls. I’m not that concerned about static cling. Given that it’s just electricity, you can easily ground yourself, and the static charge, by simply folding clothes on a concrete floor (barefoot). I’ve found that old, “flat” tennis balls work the best.

    • Joe says:

      In my experience, tennis balls, speed up drying time 50%. I’ve run the same load twice and timed it. Again, from my experience, they do nothing for static cling. However, my golf ball sized aluminum ball does the job well. I’m sure it has a lot to do with atmospheric conditions. I live in Chicago and the winter of 2013-14 was a shocker in more ways than one. I would even get shocks from light switches (unfinished utility room) as well as people. However, since I’ve used the foil ball, I don’t remember any shocks anywhere, even rugs. Could it be that I did not have static on my body because of the aluminum foil ball?????? I’m mainly a cotton or cotton/polyester blend guy. It might be a whole new ball game if people wear all synthetics. It is always hard to keep track of “what does not happen” (static shocks).

  42. Ann says:

    I have used these for awhile in other dryers. I had to wrap them in a double layer of old socks because they were denting my new stainless steel dryer tub! 😛 They still work.

  43. josie says:

    I really enjoy this site…wanted to mention this hint
    although it doesn’t have to do with aluminum and
    dryers..I clean the inside of my fridge with hydrogen
    peroxide. It’s fast and does an excellent job.

  44. Bill says:

    Most towel mfrs. recommend low heat.

  45. Joe says:

    It works. My aluminum ball starts to crack after a while, so I wrap on another layer of foil or two. Still going strong after 9 months. I also have a dozen tennis balls in there. I ran the same load twice and the clothes dried in 1/2 the time. Amazing.

  46. Joe says:

    I’ve been experimenting with throwing a teaspoon of regular old corn starch in my bucket for hand wash rinse water. This would be for white and light colored fabrics that are both cotton and synthetic. I would only use my iron to hit people. Starch is a stain repellent. The stains wash out easily. For dark fabrics of all types, I use a dollar can of spray starch as it leaves no white residue on dark colors. Again, the results are very good. Bonami sells a stain repellent that I suspect is really starch. Nothing gets stiff, unless you iron the starch coated fabric. There is a woman on line that starches and irons napkins that are 10 years old and they look new. OK, don’t believe me and try it on some old T shirts. The results are amazing.

  47. Joe says:

    The dents in my dryer seem to come from the coins and keys I did not find when sorting. The golf ball aluminum ball would leave round dings in my stainless steel dryer. I’m not selling anything.

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  49. Mary NJ says:

    I wonder what would happen if you just tossed a couple empty soda cans in the dryer instead of the balls…

  50. Donna says:

    I use vinegar with a few drops of lavender essential oil in the rinse cycle. In the dryer I use the foil balls. My laundry comes out soft and static free. Love this

    • Joe says:

      I agree. Everything is marketing at our greater expense.

      I’ve made my own detergent for 6 cents a load as compared to 60 cents a load for years.

      OK, you will think I am nuts. Get a can of spray starch and spray EVERYTHING. Don’t iron. It is a stain repellent and the synthetics don’t get stiff. You won’t even get white stains on blue jeans.

      I just ate some BBQ ribs on a wire top table. Of course the sauce dripped through the table top on to my jeans. It washes out easily without pre-treatment because they were starched.

      Bonami sells a can of stain repellent. It is still starch. For a buck a can, you save a lot of grief as it lasts a month with a house full of piggy eaters.

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  52. Chris says:

    Tried using the aluminum foil balls twice in our dryer. The first time, my wife emptied the dryer of the dried clothes and then went to pick up the aluminum foil balls from the empty dryer to place them on top of the dryer and received a static discharge from them so strong it made her hand go numb. I paid for it but laughed at her and thought she was overreacting even though I heard the static discharge from several feet away. Turns out when it was my turn to empty the dryer the next load, she wasn’t kidding or overreacting. It didn’t shock me as bad as it did her from the static discharge in touching the aluminum balls, but it was still a pretty good jolt…enough to get my attention and stronger than touching your tongue to a 9-volt battery for sure. We stopped using them after this happened. And for reference purposes, we live in the humid south and this was during the summer so static electricity should have been fairly low. It seems somehow the static in the laundry transferred to the aluminum and had no way of discharging until it found a ground which happened the moment we touched them standing on our tile floor.

    • Joe says:

      I’ve used them for a over a year in Chicago all year around and have not had your experience. I wonder what the difference is? I have a HD with a stainless tub.

      • Chris says:

        I have the exact same.

        • Joe says:

          Then I don’t know. Chicago is now in a cold spell and it is 22 F. The clothes still come out static free. However, I usually wash cotton or cotton blends. My wife has these synthetic fuzzy robes and sweaters and they come out static free. Other years, we would get a painful static shock even between each other. I never kept track of how many shocks. But we have not had a static shock since using the aluminum dryer balls. Coincidence? My aluminum ball has been smashed down to golf ball size and still works. After a few months, the old ball started to crack and fall a part. Metal fatigue. Adding more foil did not help as the fatigue seemed to go through the new foil.

  53. Robbyn says:

    Reading about the foil ball in dryer and wondered
    if liquid fabric softener was safe? I stopped using
    dryer sheets awhile back, tried vinegar, got completely
    dried out and static ridden so went to liquid softener.
    Am definitely going to try foil for static, but lerry to
    give up softener.

  54. Robbyn says:

    Regular foil or heavy duty?

  55. Tabitha says:

    In looking for an alternative to dryer sheets and a way to reduce static cling I have run across the aluminum foil ball idea. As I read many reviews on dryerballs, I am recalling studies coming out warning not to use foil for cooking or storing food due to it leeching from the foil with high heat. Just wondering if this at all can apply to clothes in the dryer. If I am trying to stay away from aluminum sources in my food storage, deoderant, pop/water cans, etc. does anyone know if this would apply here as well? Not even sure if the aluminum could affect my clothes or how. Any source would be appreciated. Thank you.


  56. april says:

    If you line dry, you have no static and save electric or gas as well…And, with the wind blowing the fabric, it is always soft.

    • Joe says:

      True. But in the winter, you dry clothes come in like cardboard and you have to let them thaw out. I know, use the basement if you have one. I always line dry over the stationery tub on a suspended broom stick and each item is on a plastic hanger. The hangers increase my drying area. I spray all with spray starch as a stain repellent for a buck a can. Even on synthetics and I don’t iron. They don’t get stiff unless you iron. I know a woman that has 10 year old cloth napkins that look like new because she uses starch. Underwear and such always goes in the dryer. We all have our tips that fit our particular situations. Keeping things out of the dryer makes things last a lot longer too. (No more white collar points on blue shirts etc.)

  57. ceedee says:

    i use soapnuts to wash clothes. just put a few soapnuts in a sock and tie up the sock and throw it in with the laundry.
    google soapnuts… its amazing.
    clothes are soft.
    for whites- i put grated ginger alongwith soapnuts
    for colored – i put few peppercorns alongwith soapnuts.

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  59. Jasmine says:

    I am doing a project on this and I need to know how to document this, can anyone who has done this before help me?

    • Joe says:

      Run a load of clothes out of the washer. Run the same load again and again and compare times. Each load should be different as all jeans in one load run twice or more and then whites and so forth. One load with washing balls, one load with wool balls, one with tennis balls, one with a plain towel, another load with a gym shoe, one load with balled up socks. Let’s us know how it turns out. Sounds like a science fair project. Use the stop watch on your phone and sit and play with you computer while waiting.

    • Joe says:

      Aluminum balls are to reduce static. I have no clue how you objectively measure static. However, dryer balls speed up drying time and that can be measured.

  60. D Jones says:

    I stopped using dryer-sheets awhile ago. One of my son’s has very sensitive skin. I use Woolzies, Wool Dryer Balls. I those them in my dryer, each load of clothes. And though they work excellent, (leave my clothes very soft), my clothes were static.

    Hence, I started putting an Aluminum Balls in with the Wool Dryer Balls and now all is good. Soft clothes with no static. I read above that the Wool Dryer balls are expensive. Really they are not so costly. They pay for themselves as they last a pretty long time.

    • Joe says:

      The aluminum balls work, but are noisy. I now roll up a pair of old socks in knee high nylons, then wrap back 2 more times. Quiet, cheap, no static in Chicago

    • Pam says:

      I make my own Wool Dryer Balls….they last forever. I have very little problem with static electricity but will try using a couple of foil balls this winter. I like the idea about the sock over the aluminum balls.

      Besides all the horrid chemicals in dryer sheets, they are not good for any dryer that has sensors in them as they will coat them rendering them inaccurate.

      • Joe says:

        I just tie up old cotton socks in a nylon. I see nothing special about wool, except the price

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  62. Nurse Daisy says:

    To work, I wear all polyester long sleeved T shirts under my scrubs. Under-armor, and Danskin etc. Three foil balls did not help static at all. It was terrible and actually uncomfortable. I used to hang all my clothes to dry. Then I became MRSA positive according to nasal swabs. Of course I got it at work. But anyway, I am too afraid not to use the dryer. I don’t mind dryer sheets but I loved hanging up my clothes.

  63. Debbie says:

    I clean off and re-use the aluminum from take out to make these balls so I’m not tossing it into the trash. I like a smidge of scent when the clothes come out of the dryer so I cut dryer sheets up into quarters and toss in a little piece. Also, I use the downy ball in the washer so I don’t have to try to time the rinse cycle on the washer. I use homemade laundry soap as well. Has anyone tried putting a couple of rubber bands on the aluminum balls? Would this help or negate the static reduction? Does anyone know the science of it?

  64. Denise says:

    I had seen a “life hack” Facebook post about it but was really skeptical. However, when my wife and I ran out of dryer sheets I decided to give it a try. While researching I came across this forum and thought I would share my experience. We used three balls of off-brand regular duty foil.

    The first load I put in the dryer was a mixture of socks and boxers. They turned out with a slight static but nothing I would really ever notice. I was actually really shocked at how little static was in the clothes. There were a few pair of socks and boxers that when dried with dryer sheets would turn out with a lot of static. However, when using the foil balls there was almost none.

    The other load I tried was our bed linens which always tend to generate static. Yet, using the foil balls really decreased that. I do agree their not as soft but I think that has a lot to do with the chemical makeup of the water and detergent people use. All in all, I think foil balls are a wonderful substitute of dryer sheets.

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  67. George F. says:

    MY daughter told me about them. I had mentioned that when I use commercial dryers in the Laundromat the odor from previous dryer sheets remains in the dryer after someone uses them. I prefer to not have any fragrances lingering. and had mentioned that to my daughter, who then told me about the aluminum balls. I tore off a length of aluminum and formed it into a ball about three or four inches in diameter. The result was such that there was no after odors on my laundry.

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  71. AL says:

    I imagine that tumbling around will damage the dryer after a while. That’s why for example you have drying racks for shoes now inside driers rather than just throwing shoes in

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  74. Cathy M. says:

    My 17 year old son has an interesting question: will any aluminum be on the clothes and would it then bother/harm us? I have heard that Alzheimer’s can have some connection to too much aluminum in us. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • John Jie says:

      Ingest too much of an alien metal and it could indeed cause problems. But the likelihood of that happening is so incredibly small…

    • Snookie says:

      Tell your on he has nothing to worry about. There are no aluminum particles left on the clothing.

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  76. John Jie says:

    It’s been my experience that that aluminum foil balls do absolutely nothing. Just another old wives tale.

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  78. Snookie says:

    I’ve been using the balls for months and will not go back to dryer sheets ever! One, the dryer sheets used to leave that film on the clothes which I really didn’t notice UNTIL I stopped using them. Two, the clothes feel like clothes! Third, my son tends to suck on the color of his shirts. Knowing his clothes are no longer filled with toxic chemicals (yes, dryer sheets are toxic when ingested), gives me one less thing to worry about. I recommend the heavy duty aluminum foil as they last much longer. Sometimes you can pick up great ideas from the internet. This is no wives’ tale, either.

  79. Rosario W says:

    Hi everyone. I am so happy I found this place, you all have awesome ideas. I hope you can help me with some questions I have. I am trying to learn how to clean my house and wash my clothing (specially whites) in a more natural way. I have heard a lot about white vinegar ( I have no idea how powerful this natural product is) but I still have some questions.

    I was reading that Borax (never heard about it in my life) or Washing Soda (not Baking Soda) was better to wash whites. Is that true? If so, is it safe to use both in white and colors? Can you combine Borax and Washing Soda to wash your whites?

    Looking on internet on how to clean your floors (tile/wood floors) I found out about White Vinegar but when I went to the store I found Cleaning Vinegar. Is there a difference? Should I only use White vinegar for laundry?

    I was reading as well about fabric softeners and it’s very scary about the chemicals they use for both, fabric softener and the dryer sheets. I would like to go a more natural way. I have front load washer and dryer machines and I also have water softener system at home. Is it safe to use white vinegar instead of fabric soften for my clothes? If so, is it safe in both, whites and colored clothes? Since I have water softer at home I was wondering if I even need the vinegar at all because it seems it’s only for softening your clothes right?

    If that’s the case, I was reading about making your own dryer sheets, mixing some white vinegar and 30-40 drops of natural oil and soaking some cotton fabric and use them as dryer sheets. Have someone use them? do they work?

    regarding the Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls, since it’s aluminum, is it safe to use in a dryer? It’s not like using aluminum in a microwave? I know its a silly question.

    Thank you so very much for any advise. I know I have so many different questions but I love been green and protecting our bodies and our planet from so many commercial chemicals out there.

  80. joshua spratford says:

    How dog get dog air of my clothes????

  81. Denise says:

    I saw the hint about using aluminum foil balls in the dryer to reduce static so I tried it. My clothes came out with more static!! Any idea what I might have done wrong? Is it that I used regular foil and not heavy duty? I was really looking forward to this tip working so please tell me what I missed. Thanks for any answers or explanations you can give.

  82. Jackie Miller says:

    I use vinegar as fabric softener in the rinse cycle (it leaves behind no scent, and softens but…there’s static out of the dryer).. So I use the foil balls in the dryer.

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  84. Lucinda says:

    Hate to sound dumb….but-do you just have to time the cycle, or can it be put in the fabric softener dispenser?

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  88. Gizzy says:

    There are a lot of things I don’t use fabric softener in and I never use dryer sheets.
    I have an acrylic blanket that got soooo much static because of the dryer, my cat would light up when she walked across it in the dark! It would stick to the dryer drum to hard when I pulled it out every time even when I tried fabric softener.
    I tried the tinfoil balls …………… I cannot tell you how well the tinfoil works, I have a stainless drum so not worried about the balls hurting the surface, but I wonder if they’d work inside a sock or a lingerie bag just in case! I think I’ll try this next time.

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