Laundry Hacks – dryers and towels and tennis balls, oh my!

September 28th, 2015

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Laundry Hacks

Using a dryer to look after your wet clothes can be a big convenience when surprise rain showers hit. While hanging up the laundry on folding racks indoors is always an option, it’s not the fastest method available.

So are there any little tips, tricks and life hacks to dry your laundry faster? And do they work?

Here’s a couple that we found:

Laundry Hack 1: Dry clothes faster by adding a towel

Here’s the situation – you have a load of wet laundry that you want dry as quickly as possible. You toss the lot in your dryer, and adjust the settings to provide a fast and thorough dry.


But if that’s not fast enough for you, you can try throwing a dry fluffy towel in with your clothes. The theory is that the towel will absorb water from your clothes, speeding up the overall drying process.

It’s another reason why the advice in chapter 3 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is important to remember.

Does it work?

According to the folks at Household Hacker… yes and no.

Basically, YES, the towel will absorb some moisture from your clothes when drying. But unless you remove the towel from the dryer about 15 minutes into the cycle, then NO, your laundry won’t dry more quickly.

But in theory, if you used a towel to draw some moisture out of your clothes, then removed the towel from the dryer to air-dry, the rest of your clothes should hopefully be completely dry much sooner than usual.

Of course, if you used this technique EVERY time you did laundry, you’d soon run out of dry towels…

Laundry Hack 2: Improved drying with tennis balls

Ever wondered how tennis players get their white shorts so very white? So have we, but that’s not what we’re looking at today.

Instead, we’re looking at the laundry hack of tossing a few tennis balls into the dryer along with your wet clothes.


The theory is that the balls will help create gaps in between your clothes as the dryer spins, preventing them from bunching up and allowing more hot air to circulate for faster drying.

Plus, their fluffy exteriors should help collect lint from your clothes, taking a bit of the pressure of your dryer’s lint filter, which can be handy when you’re tackling a particularly fibrous load.

And finally, with the soft tennis ball surfaces running over your clothes, they should help to fluff your clothes without the use of fabric softener.

Does it work?

This trick isn’t always recommended. According to the comments on this Lifehackery article, hot tennis balls can stink up the dryer – burning rubber is not a pleasant aroma – and make a pretty unpleasant noise as they bounce around. And it’s also possible that the neon dye on the tennis balls could potentially run, leaving you with a bright yellowy-greeny laundry load.

To counteract at least some of these concerns, Home Sweet Apartment reckons you can wrap a tennis ball in a sock and get pretty good results:

If this all sounds too risky to you, a more crafty (this is a pun, you’ll get it in a second) option is to make your own laundry balls out of wool.

(Get it now? Because it involves arts and craft… forget it.)

You should get the same intended effect (air gaps for more thoroughly dried clothes, as well as de-linting and fluffing), with fewer of the risks invovled with using tennis balls.

Why not do both?

At least one laundry hack site recommends using both the towel and tennis ball treatments at the same time, with the balls reducing static cling on your clothes and the towel absorbing moisture.

But as previously discussed, you’ll still need to physically remove the towel 15 minutes or so into the drying cycle to get the best drying results, and the tennis balls could still potentially hurt your clothes as much as helping them, unless you experiment with sock-wrapping or making your own.

As always, take great care if you choose to experiment with adding non-laundry items to your dryer, as there are some very real risks involved.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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