Nellie’s PVC Free Dryerballs: Work in Progress?

January 5th, 2011

I really wanted to like poor old Nellie’s PVC-free dryerballs. A few years ago on another blog, I had complained about the dangers of PVC and questioned why a supposedly green product contained it.

Well, they listened to all the complaining by people like me, but unfortunately their product didn’t turn out so well. I hope it’s possible to make PVC-free dryer balls that work, but Nellie’s hasn’t done it yet. (Keep reading for other options.)

As for the Nellie’s dryerball claims about reducing drying time and wrinkles, plus softening clothes, I don’t think I can fully give you my opinion. I’ve had to stop using the dryer balls after less than two weeks.

Nellie’s PVC-free dryer balls are crumbling and melting before my eyes.

I thought everything was going fine. The balls make laundry time rather loud, but they seemed to soften clothes without the use of any other fabric softener or vinegar. I didn’t do any timed tests to see if the balls reduce drying time, but I did start to notice green particles in my lint trap.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the balls were starting to disintegrate after less than a dozen uses. I decided to keep on using one of them to see what happened. Then, I heard ungodly compacted shrieking noises coming from my dryer.

In a full towel load, a Nellie’s dryerball got seriously maimed.

It seems that the ball wasn’t able to bounce as much as it liked ( ?! ) and it melted a bit.

That’s when I gave it up. I received these dryerballs as a stocking stuffer, and I was so excited to try them. Now, I can’t believe that Nellie’s makes such a wasteful product. If they don’t last, then they certainly aren’t green. I never tried their previous blue dryerballs, so I can’t compare.

If you want an alternative to Nellie’s dryerballs, try wool dryer balls sold at Buddha Bunz. This very popular, mommy-made product may be worth the wait after you order. My sister-in-law loves them, but I’m allergic to wool.

Some people also try tennis balls in the dryer, but I’m unsure of the safety of repeatedly heating them.

To soften clothes naturally without adding any sort of ball to your dryer, simply pour a half cup of vinegar and/or baking soda into the washer during the rinse cycle. Also, place a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a cloth in the dryer for fragrance.

How do you soften clothes and reduce dryer time?

4 Responses to “Nellie’s PVC Free Dryerballs: Work in Progress?”

  1. Claudia on January 27, 2011 10:20 pm

    I miss using dryer balls! If you check your dryer’s lint trap, you might notice that dryer balls cause your clothing/linens to produce more lint, to break down just a little bit more than they do without the balls. Fabrics won’t last as long, and I spend too much for that to happen to mine. As a conselation tip, to avoid static and to get a nice scent in my dryer loads, I set aside a cotton sheet of fabric, which I dampen with water, put about a half tablespoon of eco-friendly fabric softener onto, and then bunch the sheet up and twist it to get the softener worked in. That’s my dryer sheet; I have four. This way, I don’t have to spend money on commercial materials that eventually burn in the dryer’s mechanism, and don’t contribute positively to the environment.

  2. Peggy on January 27, 2011 11:32 pm

    Hi Claudia. Thanks for commenting. I’m currently trying out some wool dryer balls, which I’ll review here soon. So far I like them. They don’t make as much noise as the Nellie’s ball, and they’re very soft. I haven’t noticed more lint in the trap. I do get a little nervous about the balls potentially causing more wear on clothes, but I haven’t noticed any evidence of this yet.

    I like your homemade dryer sheet idea. I guess I would have assumed that the liquid fabric softener would transfer onto clothes in the dryer, but I guess it works if you work it into the fabric sheet. I’ve actually never tried liquid fabric softener before. Do you have a favorite brand?

  3. Claudia on February 4, 2011 9:38 pm

    HEY! Yeah, I use ECOVER Sunny Day. It claims to make ironing easier, soften and freshen laundry, and be ideal for babies. I can’t prove any of these things. But the ingredients are plant based, it contains no phosphates or brighteners, is biodegradable & safe for septic tanks, minimal impact on aquatic life – – they’re Belgians. If they make such good chocolate, their fabric softener can’t be bad! One side note regarding fabric sheets: the airborne fiber eventually toasts and you get deposits of crispies on your clothes. I have had this happen, and I can’t imagine it’s good on any front. That’s why I like the sqares of cotton sheeting/rag.

  4. Cynthia Scarley on April 4, 2013 5:50 pm

    I was looking into buying these for use with my cloth diapers to reduce dry time. Then I came across this. I know this is an old posting so it is possible they’ve improved their design. I just wanted to point something out to the author of this post….if you are concerned about being “green” and eco-friendly, using wool is hardly a good suggestion. Farms that cull a mass supply of animal products, such as wool farms are terrible for the planet. You may shorten your dry time and save some energy, but the urine and feces at factory farms that are seeping into fresh water supplies, and the massive amounts of crops it takes to feed the animals there, outweigh your dryer’s energy consumption by quite a bit…

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