Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Green Wool Dryer Balls: Review and "Final Chance" Giveaway! (Closed)

When I began my research on cloth diapering, one of the first things I learned was that I'd need to follow a fairly demanding and finicky laundry routine to get the stinkies out, keep my dipes in tip-top shape and ensure that I wasn't introducing harsh chemicals to baby's sensitive li'l bum. One particular thing that would have to change? No more dryer sheets. As it turns out, these bad boys contain compounds that have been linked to cancer and other health issues.

Really? I thought. Yowza. But then how the heck would I keep the static at bay?

A bit more research unveiled the answer - dryer balls! What a cool concept; toss a couple of these puppies into the dryer and voila - bye-bye fabric cling! And better yet, bye-bye chemicals!

Unfortunately it turned out that I didn't research things enough. I went out and bought the first set of dryer balls that I found; a PVC-free plastic variety. At first I thought they were working pretty well; they kept the static away and did appear to reduce drying time by about 10-20%. But after several dryer cycles, they actually started warping and disintegrating! Yuck.

So...I went back to the drawing board. And learned that there was a different type of dryer ball out there - the wool dryer ball! From the sound of it, these balls boasted the same advantages as the plastic variety (shorter drying time, reduction in static and softer laundry) but they're all-natural and flame-resistant. So they won't melt away and leave a nasty, synthetic mess. Very reassuring!

I discovered that a number of different brands sell these balls, and many were sponsoring giveaways. I hopped to it and was lucky enough to win a pair from a sweet little Facebook boutique called Happy Green Wool Dryer Balls, owned and operated by a mama named Sacha. Let me tell you - if you're looking for the most stylish, funky balls around, you'd be in heaven with the selection at Happy Green! Not only does Sasha use wonderful colours and colour combinations, but she also infuses her balls with scents (if desired) using essential oils - vanilla, cinnamon or lavender.  Coloured and scented balls are both completely natural and safe for all types of laundry, including cloth diapers. Scents last for about a month of regular usage.

For my giveaway prize, I chose a set of unscented orange balls. I heart orange!!

I started using the balls right away on a load of cloth diapers. True to their description, the dipes did indeed come out feeling soft and luxurious! (I noticed this with the prefolds in particular.) I would guess that they shaved off about 10 minutes of drying time as well. Finally, the best part - zero static!

I used them on other loads of laundry as well - our clothes, towels, bibs and cloths, etc. I only noticed some static with a particularly heavy towel load. Fully expected, however, as this was quite the undertaking for my two li'l guys! According to my research, it appears that 2-3 balls is sufficient for smaller loads, but 4-6 is ideal for larger or heavier loads.

One minor "complaint" about wool dryer balls is that they do (unavoidably) pill after substantial use. This doesn't affect performance, however if you're turned off by the ragged appearance, a few minutes with a defuzzer will get 'em back in tip-top form! To illustrate, here is a comparison of my 2 balls after 2 1/2 months of regular usage (left untouched and shaggy; right defuzzed and good as new!)

I'm confident that these two little workhorses will last for at least a year or two! Especially since one of 'em was really put through the wringer and managed to survive! Funny story. A few weeks into using my new wool balls, I'd pulled out a load of linens and then noticed that only one ball remained in the dryer. I searched through the load and nope - the ball wasn't hiding out in any of the pillow cases or sheets. I didn't see it on the floor of the laundry area either. So where the heck did it go? After 5-10 minutes, I abandoned the search. A full two days later, however, I had an epiphany. Chris had removed the drain cover in the laundry area to test our dehumidifier's auto-drainage capabilities, and yup - my poor little dryer ball had rolled right on down into the drain! It was stuck about a foot down, so I was able to reach in and gingerly pluck it out.

Can you say GROSS?!!

The ball was totally immersed in dirty, stagnant water!

I assumed it was most likely ruined, however I still had hope! I emailed Sacha who suggested I squeeze it into the toe of an old stocking, knot 'er up and throw it in the washer. And guess what? This totally did the trick!

(As a side note, I was actually lucky in a sense! Notice that the ball is pretty much the same size as the hole, so it just BARELY fit! This is why it got stuck part way down. If it was a tad smaller or the hole a tad bigger, I would have lost it! But I digress. :)

As I'm sure it's pretty clear by now, I love my wool dryer balls! They really do work as claimed, and man they are ROBUST! I might just mosey on out and buy myself a couple more to help with those supersized loads.

On this note, however, a bit of a sad announcement. Sacha just recently closed down Happy Green Wool Dryer Balls for an indefinite period of time, due to personal reasons. I was sorry to hear this as I would have loved to buy some additional balls from her store, and would have wholeheartedly recommended her products to all of my wonderful readers as well. However, it sounds like this is a vital change for her at this point in her life so please join me in wishing her the best!

Now the cool part. Sacha is so awesome that she still wants to partner up on a giveaway! If all goes well she plans to reopen her store at some point in the future, so she continues to appreciate new fans & followers! Thanks Sacha - you rock! 

Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will receive two Happy Green Wool Dryer Balls of their own! And possibly the last two produced for some time, so this is certainly an invaluable prize!! Winner chooses colour (from her July 2011 album) or plain, and scent (vanilla, cinnamon or lavender), if desired. Open to Canada and the United States.

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!

Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Happy Green Wool Dryer Balls.  I received no financial or product compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.


  1. Forgot to add my twitter ID name
    can you add it?

    Theresa Shafer

  2. i would love this