18 June 2012

Willow Store Wool Dryer Balls Review and Giveaway {Sponsor Spotlight} Summer Cloth Diaper

The Willow Store is a great website that focuses on reusable products. The company was created in 2005 by Catherine Bolden, with hopes to preserve our earth. This is so well put I didn't want to change a word...

"We will not compromise on our beliefs.  All of our products are ethically manufactured in the US, we strongly support small business, and living wages. We choose only the highest quality materials, and organic whenever possible, sourced in the US whenever possible." -The Willow Store

I am proud to represent a company like this. I was given the opportunity to try their wool dryer balls. I have been wanting to try wool dryer balls for quite some time now. We were given those spikey plastic dryer balls at one point, but when I found out that they could be releasing harmful chemicals every time they were heated in the dryer, I tossed them! Plus, I have been trying my best to find plastic alternatives whenever possible. Read more about the dangers of plastic.

Wool dryer balls are perfect for any type of laundry, even cloth diapers! They are handmade, by felting natural wool. The Willow Store's wool balls are made here in the US! Just like their plastic counterparts, they reduce drying time and static AND soften laundry. They are much quieter than the plastic though. They are approximately 9” circumference (about the size of a tennis ball). It is said that some pilling my occur over time. I have been using them a little over a month and only one of them is pilling a bit. These are colored with fiber reactive dye. They do not bleed and are safe for all clothing, even your whites. These dryer balls will last years to come. I have heard stories of people using theirs for over eight years!

Now do you see why I wanted them so bad?

How do they work?
They speed up drying time and reduce static by gently separating your clothes as they tumble. So, the more the better. The Willow Store suggests about 2-3 of their dryer balls. I have read that you get even better results when you use 6+.

My experience with them:
Children produce a lot of laundry. I do laundry almost every day. I wash cloth diapers every other day. Our dryer is a few years old but I feel like it takes forever to dry. I have been using three Willow Store wool dryer balls for about a month now. I noticed our clothes dried a bit faster. It worked much better on smaller loads, like cloth diapers. Honestly, I would love to have more.
One of them is pilling slightly more than the others as shown in the photo below. It feels a bit softer than the others. Although it should still work, I feel it may have a shorter life than the others. This is just a minor mistake. The Willow Store offered to send a replacement! They have great customer service! As you can see the other ones are holding up very well.
After a month of use.

After a month of use.
I put essential oils in them and was able to make my laundry smell like lavender! It was amazing because I have not been able to get any natural laundry detergent scent to stick through the whole washing drying cycle. I refuse to use any toxic synthetic fragrances in commercial dryer sheets. So, I was pretty excited. Some websites claim that you can use 2 drops per ball but I found I needed 5+ on each ball. It lasted at least seven loads. Totally worth it to me!
I found it can be a bit of a pain in the butt trying to locate all the balls when you remove the dry laundry. Sometimes they end up inside sleeves of sweatshirts or down pant legs.
Tips for reducing static (along with dryer balls): 
•Try to wash cotton and polyester separate. The rubbing of the two creates friction.
•Don't over dry your laundry
•Keep a spray bottle full of water by the dryer. You can use it to spray really staticy stuff like fleece blankets and jammies.
•Use vinegar in your final rinse cycle.
Just for fun..here is an action shot!
What do I ♥ about them?
The fact that they are all natural and they eliminate the need for dryer sheets. They reduce static and I can reuse, reuse, reuse! They are pretty quiet too...nothing like the plastic ones that clunk around against the metal interior. Plus, when they are spent, I can toss them out and know that they will degrade over time without releasing toxic chemicals. The color options are great too!

I love that I am able to scent them with any essential oil! I can't wait to try some new scents.

What would I change?
I would change the recommendation of 2-3 dryer balls to 5-6. I did notice a difference with three, but I would be willing to spend twice as much for better results, since I know I wont be buying fabric softener or dryer sheets for years!

What do I think overall?
I highly recommend wool dryer balls from The Willow Store. I am very happy with the wool balls and the companyI would love to buy more. Since they are lightweight and non-toxic, they can be used as safe toys for your little ones or even your pets. These are a must for cloth diapers. Now that I have them I don't know what I did without them!

Get your own wool dryer balls from The Willow Store for only $19.95. Make sure to check out the rest of their store because they carry a lot of other great items like; cloth diapers, trainers, cloth pads, organics wool filled pillows and other laundry items.
Check out this awesome reusable lunch kit!

Come back for the Summer Cloth Diaper Hop, June 21-30, and enter to win your own 3 pack of assorted wool dryer balls from The Willow Store. Open to the US & CAN. Just look for this image on my sidebar.