Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Woolzies dryer balls

I've been curious about wool dryer balls for a while now, so when the opportunity came up to review some, I decided to give it a shot. Luckily my package of six fuzzy Woolzies arrived at the beginning of a marathon laundry run. Being a nerd scientist, I decided to collect data through some (semi) organized tests. The moisture sensor on our dryer doesn't work - or only works sporadically, at least - but I typically dry every load of laundry at 70 minutes on the delicate setting. According to the package, the Woolzies are supposed to shorten drying time by up to 25%, act as a fabric softener, and prevent static cling. I decided to start with a load of kitchen towels since towels generally take longer to dry and are really scratchy when they're dried without fabric softener.

Test Load #1: kitchen towels
Time: 50 minutes
Results: all items dried and softened

Test Load #2: clothes + fluffy bath towels
Time: 50 minutes
Results: all items dried and softened

I was impressed with the reduction in drying time and the softening power of the Woolzies, but I wanted to be a little more rigorous in my static-cling testing. I had a pair of flannel curtains from Elliott's room that needed washing, and they seemed like good test subjects. The curtains came out static-free, as did my thin T-shirts that tend toward clinginess.

Test #3: flannel curtains + clothes
Time: 50 minutes
Results: all items dried and softened, no appreciable static cling

When I wash MB's shirts, I generally hang them up to dry so the sleeves won't shrink up in the dryer. Once they're dry they're stiff, so I throw them back into the dryer for about five minutes with a fabric softener sheet. For Test #4, I threw three dry T-shirts into the dryer with the Woolzies. They came out maybe halfway as soft as usual and pretty staticky. I'm not sure if more time would've helped, but it wasn't that big a deal.

Test #4: previously-dried T-shirts
Time: 3 minutes
Results: sort of softened, staticky

(Can we pause here to talk about how cute the Woolzies logo is? Seriously.)

Things were going really well, so I thought I'd make the test a little harder. For the next load of clothes I decided to raise the challenge level. I put in a load of clothes with no jeans and no towels and set the timer for 40 minutes. Everything came out dry except for one pair of very thick baby socks.

Test #5: clothes (no jeans, no towels)
Time: 40 minutes
Results: mostly dry, all softened, no static

By this point I was convinced, converted, and pondering whether it would be reasonable to buy dryer balls for the Christmas gift exchange this year (seriously). I only had one test left I wanted to run, and that was to dry a load of sheets and see how staticky they were.

Test #6: sheets
Time: 40 minutes
Results: not staticky at all

I've probably washed ten loads of laundry with the Woolzies so far, and saved about 20 minutes of drying time per load…so 200 minutes saved. That's pretty significant!

At the outset of the experiment, I had two concerns about the Woolzies: First, how loud would they be once all six of them were tumbling around in the dryer? Second, would they produce crazy amounts of lint? After ten loads I can report that despite their weight, Woolzies aren't too terribly loud. They do cause a bit of a low-bass thump-thump-thump but they don't make nearly as much noise as kid sneakers, zip-front hoodies, overalls, or a dryer full of snap-crotch baby onesies. I suppose if you're a light sleeper and your laundry room is right next to your bedroom you may want to use the Woolzies only when you're not trying to sleep, but I couldn't even hear the thumps once I went back upstairs. I cleaned out the lint trap before and after the first towel load to check for fuzz production. The post-towel amount of lint was about what I'd expect just from towels, and I had the same results after subsequent loads.

Like I said before, I'm converted and ready to start pushing these on all my friends. If you'd like to try them out for yourself, Woolzies is providing a set of six dryer balls for me to give away (and they'll ship anywhere, worldwide!). For a chance to win leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, September 1st and include a valid email address. Winner will be chosen using random.org and must be willing to provide his or her contact information directly to Woolzies.


Congrats, Erin! I'll be emailing you shortly :)

Disclosure: I was given these items free of charge to review. The words and opinions in this post are my own.