Mindful Mama

Non-Toxic Natural Wool Dryer Balls: A Better Alternative to Dryer Sheets

Picture of my natural wool dryer balls and organic lemon and organic bergamot essential oils.

I was so excited when we moved to California a few years ago. We were living in essentially a garage apartment (a garage that was converted into an apartment)  in a great neighborhood. We were the first people to live in the new unit and we had our very own new washer and dryer too! Now I could start literally fresh, and use only “good” laundry detergents and dryer sheets.

We always used Tide detergent growing up so I started using Tide free and clear detergent. Did I miss that nostalgic original Tide scent? Sure, but I thought by going “free and clear” I would be keeping a less-toxic home. I switched to the Bounce “free and gentle” dryer sheets for sensitive skin too.

But then a few months later I found a new love: Mrs. Mayer’s Clean Day Dryer Sheets in the Basil scent. Basil! Everything Basil! I had her Basil dish soap and hand soap too at the time. I would use the dryer sheets anywhere I could to keep a “fresh” scent – in laundered and folded sheets, with our shoes, in our closet. About this same time – years ago – my friend Erika recommend I try just some essential oil on a washcloth in the dryer instead, but I wasn’t ready to give up the Basil!

When I started to get serious about removing fragrances, I realized the Mrs. Meyer’s dryer sheets and my attachment to fragrance had to go. They sell Mrs. Meyer’s at Whole Foods so it gives the appearance of being natural, but it still has added, unspecified fragrance, and that Basil fragrance is STRONG!

I was also looking for ways to cut down on less dryer use. It’s better for the environment, and I’m also lazy and have been known to accidentally over-dry and shrink my husband’s favorite shirts. I found some possibly? BPA free plastic dryer balls to help reduce drying time. They were ok.

Then one day browsing some natural laundry detergent on I found a new solution: natural wool dryer balls. I did some research and it’s a total thing I had missed for years! I ordered my natural wool dryer balls on Amazon but you can by them on or even make your own fleted wool dryer balls tool.

I still had a big problem though: I’m very lazy at laundry and sometimes I mix up our clean and dirty laundry piles. So I started using a few drops of essential oils on the natural wool dryer balls before I put them in the dryer and I leave just enough hint of scent for 24hrs – just enough time to pressure us to get our act together to fold our laundry before we confuse it.

My Non-Toxic Laundry Drying Tips

  • We use about 6 natural wool dryer balls in each cycle in our stackable dryer unit.
  • I only use organic essential oils on the dryer balls. I’m very sensitive to scents – even essential oils, so if I’m going to use them I choose organic. I find I can tolerate organic lemon essential oil and organic bergamot essential oil without being bothered. Handling most other essential oils is too overwhelming.
  • I try to used the timed dry settings – 30 minutes or less – instead of the preset settings to reduce time.
  • We also have a multi-tiered trying rack that we use for items that can’t be dried in a dryer or items that are mostly dry in the dryer but could use more air dry time.
  • You will see the spots on the natural wool dryer balls left behind by the organic essential oils.
  • The natural wool dryer balls can be washed to clean them up if needed.
Picture of my natural wool dryer balls and organic lemon and organic bergamot essential oils.

My natural wool dryer balls and organic lemon and organic bergamot essential oils. You can see the essential oil spots on the natural wool dryer balls.


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