Let's Talk Laundry

Monday, January 25, 2016

I have a love/hate relationship with my front loading style laundry machines.....   Love them for clearly the convenience of at-home washing & drying.....  Hate them for their quirks that you begin to accept and deal with, because, well, you have to. One wrinkle I've written previously about involves how front loading washing machines tend to develop an interior musty odor over time & usage. Following a Google search on the topic, recommendations to rectify include switching from liquid to powder detergent and running the machine every so often with distilled white vinegar. I have since done both (and actually, I include a small amount of white vinegar in every load) and the musty smell has never returned.

More recently, the front loading dryer has become the bane of my existence with regards to drying our king sized sheets. No matter if I shake them out prior to starting in them in the dryer, once I start the cycle, the sheets wrap up into themselves and create one giant ball. This drags out the drying process -- stopping the machine, pulling them apart, restarting -- for the set to eventually dry completely.

I headed to Google and see/read that many others experience the same problem. Suggestions for keeping sheets from creating a ball in the dryer included adding tennis balls to the cycle or a shoe -- the idea is help keep the sheets separated while turning in the machine....  But ah-ha! There are "dryer balls" available for purchase on Amazon, and after reading various reviews, I settle on these -- Smart Sheep 100% Wool Dryer Balls.

Smart Sheep advertises the benefits of their dryer balls to include:

  • Softens Laundry Naturally--- No Chemicals or Synthetics Used (great for those with sensitive skin & babies)
  • Shortens Drying Time (use 3 balls for small/med load, 5-6 for large)
  • Extra-Large (9 in. circumference,) Handmade, Eco-friendly, Saves Energy
  • Lasts for a Thousand-Plus Loads, Replaces Dryer Sheets & Liquid Fabric Softeners, Saves Money. (A healthy, petroleum-free alternative to plastic dryer steamer balls)

Also to note, I opted for the wool style rather than the harder plastic design dryer balls due to comments mentioning that the plastic design makes a ton of noise bouncing around the interior of the machine. Additionally, a review suggested sprinkling on a favorite essential oil to the wool design for fragrant clothes & linens.

Well, I've used the dryer balls for a week now.....  And.....  The jury's still out.

Bottomline, they've helped the balling up of the sheets somewhat, but certainly have not eliminated the problem. I do find myself having to check and stop the cycle to pull apart the flat from the fitted.....  And I haven't noticed the drying time decrease dramatically.....  Also, a sidebar detail to mention, you gotta keep an eye on the dryer balls when taking out your dried linens, they tend to fall right out of the machine -- and in my case, roll out onto my basement floor.

So, have you encountered this problem?.....  Are there any other solutions?
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