Wool Dryer Balls Are Safe for People and Dryers, Plus a Privacy Trick

By Mary Hunt

February 28, 2017 4 min read

Dear Mary: The wool dryer balls sound interesting, but what if a person is allergic to wool? I am allergic to it and avoid it at all costs. Do the dryer balls transfer allergens to the clothes while drying? I would love to have my sheets and towels come out without being all balled up. Thanks for any help you can provide. — Joyce

Dear Joyce: You may be allergic to the natural lanolin found in sheeps' wool, but that would be very rare. Only about 6 percent of those who are tested for lanolin allergy turn up positive. It's more than likely you, like many people, are sensitive to the short, bristly fibers of wool, and that they irritate your sensitive skin and make it feel itchy.

Either way, lanolin is washed away during the manufacturing process of wool dryer balls. Even if trace amounts remain and you do have a lanolin allergy (you'd know you do because you'd also be allergic to all skin care and makeup products that contain lanolin), it will not transfer to your clothes. As for those short, bristly fibers in sheeps' wool, the only way the dryer balls could cause an irritation is if you were to rub them on your skin.

Neither lanolin nor short, bristly fibers are an issue when using wool dryer balls in the dryer. Use them well, and enjoy the results!

Dear Mary: I purchased the wool dryer balls you recommended, as I really like the general idea — that there are no chemicals. However, a friend recently stopped by when my dryer was running, and the balls were bumping around noisily. She told me that they can ruin the sensors in my dryer. A repairman told her this. Now I am unsure about using them! I know you have lots of good information at your fingertips. What do you think? — Nell

Dear Nell: I have researched this extensively and haven't found anything to support your friend's information. Personally, I don't believe it. However, if you continue to be concerned, ask this friend for credible documentation that offers reasonable evidence for this claim.

Dear Mary: In response to your recent column "To Shred, or Not to Shred?" I have a quick note on shredding. I have shredded diligently since a former next-door neighbor — a house painter who regularly drank on weekends — greeted me one morning with a question about one of my doctor's appointments and a few of my recent purchases. I had simply ripped up the information and receipts and put them in the trash. This happened around the year 1998. I was between paychecks and had to wait several days to get a shredder.

In the meantime, I poured food waste, used coffee grounds and gravy over the trash once it was in the bag and in the trash can outside. I've had no similar problems since. Two states and four moves later, I still do it. The way I see it, I can't be too careful! Thanks for the reminder. — C.E.

Dear C.E. You just made me laugh! There's just something satisfying about visualizing your personal privacy policy of gooey, gunky shredded trash. I agree. These days, we just can't be too careful.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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