Going through different stores and websites, I have come across different versions of dryer balls - all claiming that they can soften your clothes and reduce dryer time. I've been skeptical at the very least. Most balls were synthetic and heavy and somewhat pricey (in my opinion), just to put in my dryer, make lots of noise and possibly ruin my clothes and still not make any difference.
When I got the chance to try EveryDayWillow Wool Dryer Balls, I jumped at the chance, because I wanted in the worst way to prove that these things were nothing more than an expensive "gimmick". I just couldn't comprehend HOW a couple balls in the dryer would reduce the drying time of my clothing and not come out all full of static. I was prepared to write a review warning every consumer to save their money.
Well, that's not going to happen. The EveryDayWillow Wool Dryer Balls have blown me away. These very simplistic items ended up being my absolute FAVORITE item that I was able to test and review for 2011!
I received three balls, very well packaged and in a box like the one shown above. They appeared to be very well constructed and in the most gorgeous jewel tones: Spearmint, Dragonberry, and Grape Jelly. They were made of 100% wool and had a somewhat firm feel to them. They came with directions and also a claim that these colored balls would not harm whites. I was skeptical that these beautiful dark jewel tones would not transfer any color to my whites.
The first load that I used the balls with came out full of static. See - I was sure these wouldn't work. I emailed Catherine at The Willow Store and she told me I had over-dried my clothes and to lessen the time next time. I knew that wouldn't work, because we have an OLD dryer (from 1970) that normally won't dry a load of clothes without adding extra time.
The next load, I backed off a bit more and still had static. BUT my clothes were dry the first time through! I continued this experiment and found we were knocking off 20 minutes or more with DRY clothes and NO STATIC!!
Then it was time to try the whites. I was so skeptical that I used with a load of white work rags to make sure there would be no transfer of color. I had no problem at all. I became braver, and did out white towels and finally our good clothes.
All this took a lot more time than I had expected to do a review for The Willow Store. My turn-around wasn't as fast as I had originally thought. When I found the balls really did cut down on my dryer time, then it was to see how much I was going to save. The first full month's electric bill was down $20. The second month was down about the same, even with the per kilowatt price increase!! That's INCREDIBLE!
The balls are holding up nicely. They did seem to get a little firmer and are getting those balls that wool sweaters get, but outside of that, I see nothing that says these guys won't last a long, long time!
A set of three balls like those that I received cost $19.95 (at the time of this review). We are normally a household of two now that the kids are in college, and with the savings we saw, these guys paid for themselves in the first month, just in the electric bill alone. Imagine the savings one could see over the next year in the electric bill alone. Plus no more smelly dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener and less wear and tear on the dryer. With a larger family, one could see an even more substantial savings!
You will need to experiment as I did to find out how much time you can cut off your drying time, as each dryer is different. You will also find different clothes, fabric weights and types of cloth will also require different lengths of time to dry. It is a bit fussy at first, but in just a few loads of laundry, you will be able to determine how long is needed and for what type of clothing. For me, the hardest thing about using these balls is sometimes finding them. I've found them in pockets, sleeves, and pant legs before, but certainly a small inconvenience next to the savings I see on my electric bill!
EveryDayWillow Wool Dryer Balls are most definitely the best product I've used and tested in 2011! Thank you to Catherine at The Willow Store for providing me a set of these to use and honestly review.