DH has a lot of synthetic fabric clothing for biking, hiking, etc. and he HATES the static. (Although he says it's bad on his cotton tee shirts too.) We live in a very dry climate, which doesn't help matters, and I just don't know what to do. I've tried adding vinegar to the rinse cycle, since I have allergies and don't want to use fabric softener. That works a little, but not good enough. Do wool dryer balls really work? I'd rather use those over the plastic ones, but if plastic work better I guess I'll suck it up. Also, any recs on purchased v. homemade for effectiveness?
I don't know about the balls, but do you sort your laundry by fabric type? I had a HUGE drop off in static once I separted out the fleece and poly fabrics from cotton and denim, I wash by fabric type over any color sorting and it's been a huge help is knocking out the static.
That's a good idea -- I've never done it b/c there's just not enough to justify a separate load for his biking gear. Same with his socks (cotton/acrylic blend, I think) and his undershirts. I'm already doing several loads a week between all our clothes, diapers, dish towels, bath towels and sheets! I can't justify the extra cost in water, energy and time to add two more loads.
I've been curious about wool dryer balls myself. I've not used them yet, but I've been researching them. Wool balls can work in reducing static cling, but how well they work depends on how you dry your clothes. Static cling occurs mainly when clothes are over-dried and rub against each other a lot. Synthetics dry quickly and so that's one reason you'll find they are more staticy. Wool balls absorb and hold moisture, which will help keep moisture in the dryer, without making your clothes wet. Additionally, since they absorb moisture and fluff your laundry, they help your clothes dry faster. So, if you try wool dryer balls and find your clothes still have a lot of static, try drying your clothes for less amount of time.
One suggestion is to set a timer for 10-15 minutes when you start the dryer. When the timer goes off, pull out the synthetic materials, which should be dry or close to it. Additionally, you might try using a drying rack for synthetics. We have one and find it to be a great way to dry delicates and synthetics. It doesn't take up much room and can hold quite a few clothing items.
Wife to David and mommy to Ethan
My parents used tennis balls as dryer balls and they were effective but they made clothes smell like tennis balls. I prefer the plastic because there is no smell.
If you don't have enough stuff for a single load, just hang dry the biking outfits. I don't have static issues with blended socks, but have hung dry much of this "athletic performace" type clothing. I've sent stuff thru the wash in mixed loads, but never would dry them together.