Norwex Fluff And Tumble Dryer Balls Review And Experiment

Norwex consultant Natalie Epler provided this product for review. For information on how we attempt to ensure our product reviews are as honest and fair to product creators and manufacturers as possible, please click here.

In April 2012 Tara posted her article, “Do Wool Dryer Balls Cut Down On Drying Time?” and in it she says that she hopes more people will attempt experiments on the effects of using wool dryer balls. While I’m sure she was hoping for more controlled scientific studies, I was excited to have the opportunity to run my own experiment using the Norwex Fluff and Tumble Dryer Balls. In this review I will walk you through the features of the product, explain my methods for testing and subsequent results, and show you how I would fill out a Padded Tush Stats Cloth Diaper Accessories Survey.

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Product Description

For those who aren’t familiar with them, dryer balls are used in place of fabric softener or dryer sheets to soften clothes naturally and reduce static and drying time. The balls are placed in the dryer with the wet clothes and when the dryer is turned on, the balls bounce around the inside of the machine and help lift and separate the items so that they are more thoroughly exposed to the hot air.

Some dryer balls are made of plastic, but the Norwex Fluff and Tumble dryer balls are made entirely of 100% New Zealand wool and are chemical free. Wool dryer balls are softer (and therefore quieter) than their plastic counterparts, and can be used and left in the dryer without fear of melting. Norwex Fluff and Tumble dryer balls are sold in packs of 3 – 3 balls are recommended for small loads, and 6 balls are recommended for large loads.

The Fluff and Tumble dryer balls also allow you to naturally scent your laundry using essential oils – once the clothing is dry, you remove 2 of the 3 balls, apply the desired amount of essential oil, and then return the balls to the dryer for a 10 minute “Air Fluff” cycle (using heat will damage the oil).

Norwex Fluff and Tumble dryer balls are advertised to last for at least 1,000 laundry loads, and are said to reduce drying time by up to 25%.

Price

29.99 for 3 balls


Methods

  • For this experiment I used my HE Whirlpool Duet electric dryer (model WED9150WW1) which was purchased approximately 3 years ago. I used the automatic sensing feature to determine when the laundry was dry, and used the “Eco Normal” dryer setting (medium heat, normal dryness) for all test loads.
    (Note: I wanted to be able to include the interior cubic feet of the dryer, because I believe that to be an important factor. Unfortunately, this information was not noted on my dryer, in the dryer manual, or in any documentation I could find online. Current Whirlpool Duet electric dryers have an internal capacity of 7.4 cubic feet, though that may or may not be the same size as the one I purchased 3 years ago).
  • It was important to me that each load was composed of like items (since a load with flat and fitted diapers in it will usually be determined to be done before the fitted diapers are completely dry) so I chose to use only large (Diaper Rite and Cloth-eeze) birdseye cotton flat diapers. It was also important to me that I not have to run additional and unnecessary loads of laundry for this experiment (as that is both costly and wasteful!) Therefore I based the number of flat diapers in each load on how many were typically in my usual diaper laundry (so that I could simply remove those from the rest of the freshly washed diapers, dry them separately, and then dry the rest of the clean diapers). This ended up being 10-15 flats per load (with an average load size of 14.5 for the trials run with dryer balls, and 14.25 flats for the trials run without the dryer balls). This looked to be a “small load” (which is the load size recommended for the number of dryer balls I had).
  • Ideally each load would have been timed to determine exactly how long it took to dry. However, our dryer is located in the garage and the chime is not audible from the house (and sitting in the garage watching laundry dry wasn’t feasible!) My compromise was to remain inside the house but set a timer for 5 minute intervals. At the end of each interval I would go to the garage to see if the dryer was still on. I ended after the interval when the dryer had determined that the load was dry and turned off. I chose 5 minute intervals because this was a feasible length of time for me to be going in and out of the garage, and also an interval that I felt would be meaningful for people (would most people be interested in purchasing dryer balls if they reduced drying time by 2-3 minutes? Probably not. Would they be more impressed with a decrease in drying time of more than 5 minutes? Quite possibly!) I did 4 loads of laundry with the laundry balls, and 4 loads of laundry without the balls.
  • To test the ability of the balls to scent the laundry I used eucalyptus oil (approximately 2-3 drops on each ball, though it came out too quickly to be precise) and followed the instructions as noted above.

Results

  • The presence of the Norwex Fluff and Tumble wool dryer balls in a load of 10-15 large flat diapers did decrease average drying time, but not by an amount that I would have noticed – it took 28.75 minutes for loads without the balls and 26.25 minutes for loads with the balls, for a total decrease in drying time of 2.5 minutes, or 8.7%.

Norwex Fluff and Tumble Dryer Balls - Average Drying Time Graph

  • The dryer balls did scent the laundry (and the garage, which was a pleasant and unexpected bonus!) The scent lasted for about a day before it dissipated entirely, so would be best for short term scent effects (such as immediately before you plan to wear an outfit, or if you simply want to make your home smell nice for the day).

Note: I did not evaluate the ability of the balls to decrease static because I live in a coastal environment (where the air is relatively warm and moist) and we therefore do not usually have much (if any) static.


Survey Response

Here is how I would fill out a Padded Tush Stats Cloth Diaper Accessories survey.

 

Norwex Fluff And Tumble Dryer Balls Survey Stats

 

Notes on my responses:

  • My personal experiment did not yield impressive results. At approximately $30 for the number of balls needed for a small load of laundry and $60 for enough balls for a large load of laundry, I would be hesitant to recommend the product to someone based on the 2.5 minute decrease in drying time that I experienced. However, there are NUMEROUS variables that affected these results (e.g., the model and interior size of my clothes dryer, the size and composition of the loads I dried, the power source for my dryer, the sensitivity of the sensor that determined when the load was dry, the number of balls used, etc.) and as there are many people who use wool dryer balls are pleased with them, it’s possible that different testing conditions would yield dramatically different results. For those who already see benefits of using other brands of wool dryer balls, scores for “worth the price” and “would recommend to a friend” would likely be higher.
  • The product was easy to use (you put them in the dryer and that is it!) When removing the laundry from the dryer you do have to look for the balls as they sometimes end up mixed in with the clean laundry on accident. With diaper laundry this was fairly easy to do as long as you remained on the lookout for them. (If you intend to use the balls with normal laundry loads, it should be noted that the balls tend to end up inside items or stuck in sleeves, and therefore require a bit more effort to find and replace them in the dryer. However, if they accidentally end up inside the house in the clean laundry, it isn’t difficult to return them back to the dryer). With a large number of balls I could see this becoming tedious, but with only 3 it was a negligible amount of work.

Related Links

 

Have You Tried This Product?

If you have tried this cloth diaper accessory (or any other accessory!) please head on over to our Cloth Diaper Accessories Survey page and take a quick, 2-minute survey on how this product worked for you. Survey results can be viewed on the Cloth Diaper Accessories Statistics page and are also used to write detailed statistical reviews (a complete list of which can be found on our Cloth Diaper and Product Reviews page).

Comments

  1. MarieJoe says

    Keep in mind that you could do a multitude of experiments with the drying time, heat settings and type of fabrics you are drying, as well as perhaps the type of machine you are using as far as drying time & static is concerned. The humidity level in the air around us is also at play here. I find that nothing is 100% guaranteed to remove all static from EVERY load you dry, either. The prominent bonus with the Norwex fluff and tumble dryer balls is that they are 100% pure natural wool, hence biodegradable, safe for the environment (yours and outside) and will last about 3 years or 1,000 loads. They are also quieter, so less noise pollution as well. :-)

    • says

      Yep, I tried to make that clear that this was only one experiment and there were lots of limitations to it, and there are lots of people who get different results using dryer balls in general. And I still use mine 😉

  2. Bianca says

    This is really interesting, I’m going to run my own test now! I have about a dozen Woolzies dryer balls. Even if it doesn’t reduce drying time, I think the clothes are softer without having to use a softener. But I won’t test that because I don’t use softener, ever!

    • says

      Oh no, that’s awful! Did you use actual essential oils (and not a scented or fragrance oil?) I don’t actually have any suggestions, unfortunately (I’m not much of a laundry guru) but I’m so sorry to hear that happened :(

  3. BoiseFamily says

    I have 10 or more floating around in my dryer. I’m not sure if I notice any difference.with drying time. I think since I have an HE washer with a very good spin cycle that drying time isn’t a huge issue. I do like them for drying bedding. It does seem to help with sheets.

  4. Happily Southern says

    I’ve used wool dryer balls for our laundry (at least until lil’ guy took them to play with!) and thought they helped, but the number of dryer balls weren’t enough for the size of our regular laundry loads… for smaller loads, they were awesome!

  5. doan b says

    I love your dryer ball experiment. I have some wool dryer balls. I have not seen any savings on my drying time but my clothes do tend to not have wrinkles as bad if the dryer stops and I cant get to it in a short amount of time. I did try scenting them in the beginning but the scent did not tend to stay in the clothes, so I stopped scenting them. I do still use the dryer balls (because I already have them ) but I probably would not buy again..

    • says

      I have to admit that I don’t really notice wrinkles (I’m weird that way!) but I have heard other people say the same thing! So that’s obviously something I didn’t test, but that it’s good to hear for people who DO notice those kinds of things! :)

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