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Despite how efficient and reliable dryer machines are, they still aren’t perfect.
Clothes get stuck together, and the drying process removes softness from the fabric.
For a long time, dryer sheets were used to deal with these issues.
But recently, a contender has been on the rise as an effective alternative, called dryer balls.
Let’s look into how they work.
What are dryer sheets?
Dryer sheets are small rectangular sheets made of polyester.
They are coated with chemicals, particularly surfactants.
Surfactants are compounds used to lower the surface tension between two substances, such as liquids and gases, solids and liquids, or even two different liquids.
These chemicals are activated by friction and hot air, allowing them to be released to the laundry to work their magic.
These compounds give the dryer sheets three primary purposes: to prevent static cling, to soften the fabrics, and to add a fragrance.
Static cling is unavoidable with how the dryer tumbles the laundry around to dry it.
It is similar to how aggressively rubbing a balloon to your hair causes the strands to stick to it.
The clothes rub against each other, which causes an electric charge to build up in the fabrics.
Some become positively charged while others get negatively charged, resulting in fabrics sticking together like magnets.
The surfactants in the dryer sheets store positively charged ions, which cancels out the static effect.
These ions balance out the negative charges building up in the laundry, preventing the clothing from clinging together.
The surfactants also contain fatty molecules that soften the laundry fabrics.
When the surfactants get activated by heat and friction, these molecules are also released, coating the laundry and giving it that smooth and soft texture.
Dryer sheets are also coated with molecules that give off fragrance.
However, the molecules are disputed as being hazardous.
Some researchers have linked them to skin diseases, asthma, and migraines while others refute this claim.
It’s up to you which side you want to believe.
Dryer Sheets: Pros vs. Cons
- Effectively reduces static cling.
- Effectively softens and scents the fabrics.
- Easy to use. You can use 1 sheet for each dryer load.
- Affordable. A box of 240 sheets is worth less than 10 $.
- Chemicals in the sheets are claimed to be harmful.
- Each sheet can only be used once.
- They do not lower drying time.
What are Dryer Balls?
As suggested by their name, they are balls made out of plastic or wool.
They are on the rise as a chemical-free alternative in response to the dryer sheets.
Like the sheets, they can reduce static cling and soften the clothes.
But they have one significant advantage to sheets; they can also reduce drying time.
The dryer balls deal with static cling in two ways.
As they can get between clothes, they separate clothing articles, thus lowering the friction between the clothes.
Wool balls also retain moisture, which elevates the dryer’s humidity, lessening the chances of static.
However, these are not as effective in reducing static as the sheets.
Dryer balls can also soften clothes.
They do this by agitating the fibers of the fabric and fluff them up.
Reduce Drying Time
Being able to speed up your laundry’s drying time is one big advantage the dryer balls have over the sheets.
Drying time gets reduced because as the balls get between the clothes, they also create a space for the hot air.
This creates a better circulation for the heat, thus reducing the load’s drying time.
Dryer Balls: Pros vs. Cons
- Effectively reduces drying time.
- No health risks.
- Softens the fabric by fluffing them up.
- Also affordable.
- Noise caused by the balls’ bouncing.
- Not as efficient in reducing static and softening compared to dryer sheets.
- Doesn’t add fragrance to laundry.
- Wool balls may unravel, creating a mess in the dryer.
Dryer sheets vs. Dryer balls
Both sheets and balls have advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re wary of chemically-caused ailments, then the dryer balls might be better for you.
But if you prioritize the reduction of static cling and softness, the dryer sheets are an acceptable choice.
It’s up to you on what you prioritize more.
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