Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Climbing Laundry Mountain: Bellwethers Review

I don't know how three tiny little people can create more laundry than two large ones.  I don't know why Bugsy is ALWAYS missing random socks or Little Lou goes some weeks with no undies in the wash and the next week has 37 pair.  I don't know why laundry is so annoying to put away!  What I do know, though, is that I'm always looking for ways to streamline certain jobs, and laundry tops that list for sure.  You can see the evidence of this if you look into my laundry closet (please don't).  There are about 18 different detergents.  There's bleach.  (I know, I know...)  There's stain remover.  There are dryer sheets.  There's...  You get the picture.  Or maybe you don't.  Here, I'll show you:

 Just a tiny bit of the chaos!

The Scoop

Several months ago I stumbled across the Bellwethers facebook page.

I'm not sure how I got there, but I'm pretty sure I was one of the first ones there.  Shortly after joining the page, I won a free dryer ball in a random drawing!  I was so excited, but not sure what to do with ONE dryer ball!  Diana from Bellwethers assured me that even one dryer ball would make a difference, so I might as well toss it into the dryer.  She and I began communicating, and Diana agreed to send me 5 more dryer balls for review!  Since she's new to the stuff-selling world, she was excited to get a bit of publicity!

I've never used dryer balls before, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  My assumptions were that my dry time would be significantly shorter and the static would be gone, eliminating the need for softener sheets.  I didn't know a ton about dryer balls, other than that other cloth diapering moms said I NEEDED them.

 The Good

Dry time.  My dry time for cloth diaper is significantly shorter with Bellwethers wool dryer balls!  Before, if I dried them in the dryer (I'm about 50/50 with the dryer or clothesline), it took at least two full dry cycles each time.  Some of my inserts were still damp, at times, after two complete cycles!  Now, I can dry for one cycle and most everything is dry.  If I leave everything in the dryer, it's about another 20 minutes until everything is dry, but if I take out the things that are already dry, it's only about another 10 minutes!

The static.  I don't like static.  At. All.  I have always been an avid softener user.  In fact, if I run out, I don't wash laundry until I get more.  Since I started using the dryer balls, I have not reverted back to softener.  MOST of my clothes are static free!  The only problems I have are with fleece clothes.  There's just something about those super soft fleece jammy pants that attracts static like nothing else!

The cost.  I know there's a pretty good initial cost to dryer balls.  This is just as true for Bellwethers dryer balls as it is for any other brand.  The balls are comparable in cost to any other brand I've seen.  They currently run $6 for 1 (unbleached) ball and $30 for 6.  While that may seem like a lot, think of the overall savings: not just the cost of the dryer sheets themselves ($3-4 for a month's worth) but the electricity (or gas) to run the dryer a second full cycle!  Even if you just think of the cost of the dryer sheets, these will pay for themselves in less than a year.

The size.  I haven't seen other wool dryer balls.  I don't know how big they usually are.  The Bellwethers dryer balls are roughly the size of a baseball.

They don't take up too much room in your dryer, even with 6 and a full load of laundry, but they're not teeny tiny either.  They're also the perfect size for entertaining your 1 year old during diaper changes, unless yours (like mine) is a thrower.  In that case, I don't recommend changing diapers on the dryer and giving said 1 year old a dryer ball.  If you do, the dryer ball may end up in "the abyss."

Eww, yuck!  Looks like it's time to pull the washer out for some cleaning!

The Bad

The noise!  I'm going to guess this isn't specific to Bellwethers dryer balls, but they're loud!  Be prepared for that.  I wasn't.  I like to run my last load of laundry for the day overnight so that I can pull the clothes out and fold them first thing in the morning.  We have a small house, and the dryer is in the bathroom right across from the boys' room and next to my room.  I have to close the laundry closet and the bathroom door, and I can still hear the balls thumping around!

Dry Time.  Unfortunately, despite the obvious decreased dry time of diapers, some loads seem to take longer
to dry than without the balls.  This has only been true of blue jeans and towels, but it's still worth mentioning.  Our dryer is slow anyway, and sometimes takes two full cycles, so it's a little hard to tell if it's really because of the balls or not. As I said, though, the dry time overall seems the same or shorter, diapers are definitely shorter, and those "heavy" things like towels and jeans take longer.
The Outcome

I have really enjoyed using Bellwethers dryer balls!  As I mentioned before, I haven't looked back to dryer sheets.  In fact, there's about half a box of dryer sheets in my closet right now!  I've gone to putting a dryer sheet in each clothes drawer to keep clothes smelling fresh since I don't need them in the dryer anymore!  

Diana from Bellwethers warned me in advance that there would be pilling on the balls.  This does not effect the function of the balls.  She mentioned that some people choose to shave the pilling off the balls with a razor.  I have not noticed a single bit of pilling on my dryer balls!  In fact, the more I've used them, the tighter the felting has become.

I really like the dryer balls!  I love that I don't have the waste, either in my trash can or my bank account, from dryer sheets anymore!  Overall, I'd say dryer balls work just as well as dryer sheets.

Let me mention just a little more about Bellwethers.  Diana has been working overtime to make some really great products!  She's not limited to dryer balls.  She's been making all sorts of projects out of old t-shirts,


and buttons!  

I really love some of them, and I know you will too.  The prices are very reasonable, and for a unique handmade gift (for yourself, if you choose!) it just doesn't get any better!  You can see more of the Bellwethers products here!

Thank you, Bellwethers, for your amazing introduction to dryer balls!  I'm very impressed!

The Giveaway

There isn't one...YET!  That's where you come in.  Diana from Bellwethers would LOVE to give away a set of dryer balls.  The trouble is, she's new to the selling "scene" and has to work up a customer base first.  The more of you that check her out and make purchases, the sooner we will get to see a dryer ball giveaway here on the blog!  Check out the Bellwethers store on Art Fire.  There are SO many eco friendly, up-cycled items for sale along with the dryer balls!  This is my favorite:

What's yours?

I was given these products at no cost in order to facilitate a review.  All opinions are strictly my own.  I was not compensated in any other way.


Ronda said...

thanks for the review!!
rondasieg at yahoo dot com

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