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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85 Responses to Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls Review – Do they Work?

  1. I need to try this! Thanks!

  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.

  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:

    http://theprudentpantryblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/add-softness-to-your-laundry-with.html

    Love your site!

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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. :)

  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!

  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.
    http://media.downy.com//images/common/proddetail/products/downy_ball.png

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  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!

  29. Pingback: Washing Laundry With Soap Nuts Review – Do They Work? | Green Idea Reviews

  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.

  33. Delene says:

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

    • Victoria says:

      Hi Delene – I have a gas dryer. Honestly, I’m not sure if gas or electric makes a difference – I’ve never thought of it!

  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.

  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.

  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! :P 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:

    As my aluminum foil ball got smaller, I added more foil to the ball. Now it is golf ball size and just about as hard. Worked all winter and still working through June 14, 2014. The only dings in my stainless steel drum are from coins. I’ll stop adding foil at this point in time and see how it goes.

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