Plastic dryer balls are obviously meant for the dryer, but you can use them for other purposes too. Using them in the washing machine can be beneficial, although it’s worth checking whether the materials are suitable.
So, can you put plastic dryer balls in the washing machine? And, if so, why might you want to? Let’s find out.
Can You Put Plastic Dryer Balls in the Washing Machine?
Generally speaking, it’s perfectly fine to put plastic dryer balls in the washing machine. As long as you don’t put them in there alone, the risk of damage is fairly low.
While dryer balls made from softer materials like wool would remove the risk of damaging your washing machine altogether, there are some advantages to using plastic dryer balls.
Although materials can vary, most plastic dryer balls can withstand the conditions in a washing machine. They’ll be heat-resistant (they’re meant for tumble dryers, after all), and plastic won’t degrade in water. On the other hand, wool dryer balls can deteriorate in the washing machine.
Why Put Plastic Dryer Balls in the Washing Machine?
So, why might you want to put plastic dryer balls in the washing machine?
Obviously, you might want to put them in the washing machine to clean them, but this is much easier to do by hand due to their size and the amount of water required.
Dryer balls can achieve many of the same goals in the washing machine as in the tumble dryer. They can reduce static and fibre damage.
You can also use dryer balls to replace fabric softener. The balls agitate the clothes, which makes them softer, and also helps stop the clothes from bunching up. In turn, this can reduce creasing and provide better cleaning.
Some people claim they can help with stain removal for the same reasons, but this hasn’t been proven.
Risks of Using Dryer Balls in the Washing Machine
Using dryer balls in the washing machine is a fairly low-risk option. However, there are a few things to consider first:
1. Not all dryer balls are made from suitable materials
Plastic should be fine for use in the washing machine, as it’ll be designed to withstand heat. Prolonged exposure to water might make the plastic brittle, but it’s a better option than wool. However, the best option would probably be silicone.
2. Potential drum damage
Dryer balls shouldn’t damage your washing machine drum, but you should avoid using them in small loads to reduce this risk. Only add dryer balls when you’ve got a normal sized load of washing, as the washing will cushion the balls.
3. Could reduce their effectiveness in the dryer
Unsurprisingly, it’s worth having a dedicated set of dryer balls for your washing machine and tumble dryer. Using the same set will reduce their effectiveness in the dryer, as you’ll be putting them in wet.
Plastic dryer balls are fine for use in the washing machine, and you shouldn’t experience any knock-on effects from doing so. Of course, if you’re concerned about potential damage, silicone dryer balls are a safer option. Either way, avoid putting wool dryer balls in the washing machine, as it will ruin them.
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.