Like most people in the world today, you may be looking for a way to conserve energy. Whether your reason is economical, environmental or both, there is a simple trick of putting one or two tennis balls in the clothes dryer with your laundry to reduce dry times and help fluff your clothes. This may sound like an old-wives tale, but there is real science behind the use of the tennis ball in laundry.
When taking wet laundry from the washing machine into the dryer, throw in one or two tennis balls. Do this with any load of laundry but most people claim the greatest results happen with blankets and towels. This practice is recommended by some dryer and comforter manufacturers such as Northern Lodge.
The function of the tennis ball is primarily to help create more space between the heavy and large items that will otherwise clump into sections. The more air that is able to circulate around the towel or blanket, the faster it is able to dry.
There are a couple of environmental benefits to using tennis balls in the dryer. The first is that the balls will be recycled. Of course, faster drying times mean less gas and electricity usage. This reduces the consumption of natural resources and reduces waste, helping protect the environment. It also potentially reduces the heat transferred into the home during hot summer months, further reducing energy consumption to cool your home.
The advantages of using tennis balls in drying your laundry is that the laundry will be fluffed as it dries. This is very important with home items such as down-filled comforters, where tossing in the dryer can lead to clumping where damp spots may remain and develop mold or mildew. Other benefits reported by consumers are reduced lint attraction on clothes, less static cling and fewer wrinkles.
The Laundry Alternative website warns that while some manufacturers do recommend using tennis balls to help dry larger items, there are potential problems with this practice. This is especially true with items containing down feathers where the dyes used on tennis balls can be transferred to the item. Additionally, high heat may cause the tennis ball to melt or otherwise become damaged, potentially damaging the laundry items or the dryer. The Soap and Detergent Association recommends removing items periodically during the dry cycle to fluff them and then return them to the dryer to complete the cycle.