Deal alert: Amazon's No. 1 bestselling wool dryer balls are now $14 for six

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In need of a last minute gift that is functional and will save your lucky recipient Moolah? I have a goodie - and it's on sale. Right now, a six-pack XL dryer balls on Amazon costs just $ 14.
Do you think dryer balls are an odd Christmas present? Continue reading.
I have to make a confession: while my job is to write about wellness and green living, some of my choices are ... less than good and a questionable shade of green. For example, when it comes to my hair, I use the chemical creation that makes it look and smell its best. Lightbulb? I'm addicted to the soft glow of environmentally friendly light bulbs; A long-life LED must never cross my threshold. And laundry? My dryer sheet of choice is a popular supermarket brand, loaded with chemicals and "disposable" - like in the landfill and expensive. The cost of these sheets really add up. So when I heard about natural wool dryer balls, I had to try them out.
Shop it: Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls, $ 14 (was $ 17), amazon.com
These doodads - which you toss in the dryer with wet clothes - promise to soften clothes and reduce drying time. As someone obsessed with NOT washing and drying my clothes too much (they wear out so quickly and I don't particularly like washing), I found this very appealing. A shorter drying time not only protects the textiles, but also saves energy, which leads to lower energy costs. And less time washing clothes!
There are plenty of cheaper options with good reviews, but the brand I heard about, Smart Sheep, is handcrafted in Nepal from pure New Zealand wool. It's been a lot of traveling for something meant to save the earth, but I was excited to try it anyway. I've saved all of my laundry (as in, I used this as an excuse to ignore the ever-growing piles of clothes, sheets, and towels). Here, dear readers, it went.
Get to know my new dryer balls
Smart Sheep Dryer Balls come in a pack of six, with a small instruction card. They look organic - like something you would see in a decorative basket in a high quality home interior store. And my cat really, really wanted her.
Use them
I shooed my cat out of the basement and followed simple instructions: “Put wool dryer balls in the dryer with your laundry. Turn on the dryer. ”Simple enough.
The promise was that by jumping between my clothes, the balls would "lift and separate fabrics", increase the airflow and thus dry the clothes faster - and make them softer.
I bought two packs of three, so I threw in five dryer balls with a large load of workout clothes and jeans, and reserved one in case I wanted to give it to my cat. I wrote down the time.
The results
Instead of waiting for the angry beep from the dryer, I returned to the basement 15 minutes before the usual 30-minute drying time. Not only were my clothes completely dry and static-free, but they were SO soft - like they'd spent an hour in them with fabric softener and my favorite dryer sheet (loaded with chemicals).
Indulging in tactile indulgence (no moisture, plus silky softness) as I felt through the basket, I retrieved the balls and repeated the experiment with a load of towels and pillow cases. Perfection.
I slipped on my favorite t-shirt and thought I might be missing the smell of my dryer sheets - but I didn't. My clothes just smelled ... clean. If you like a small scent, Smart Sheep recommends adding a drop of essential oils like lavender or lemon to a dryer ball.
Bottom line
These dryer balls painlessly eradicated chemicals from my life. That's the kind of eco move I love. No sacrifice, no discomfort, and a huge financial saving - at $ 14 (originally $ 17) for six, these balls cost more than a large box of my (now former) favorite dryer towels. But where this box gets me through 244 loads, my wool dryer balls promise more than 1,000 loads each - that's more than five years of laundry! And because they reduce the drying time by two thirds, I save a whole bunch of energy costs.
And they don't add garbage to the planet - because if and when they lose their magical powers, my cat will use them forever and ever. Give away dryer balls - the gift that you give again and again!
Shop it: Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls, $ 14 (was $ 17), amazon.com
The reviews quoted above are the most current versions at the time of publication.
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