How to Keep Sheets from Balling up in Dryer

  • A wrinkle-free, snow-white flat sheet lying neatly on our bed is a dream of many. But, unfortunately, we get balled-up sheets instead after we take them out from the washing machine. 
  • What happens to a sheet in the dryer, and is there any way to prevent balling up?
  • Thankfully, there is a way to prevent sheets, towels, and blankets from balling. Keep reading to discover several tips about preventing your laundry from tangling up. 

What happens to the sheet in the dryer?

Dryers tend to tangle laundry. Especially bed sheets and blankets naturally twist-up during the drying process. 

On the one hand, it’s okay since dryers are designed to speed up drying—and they do it using the fast rotating movement. This motion causes sheets to dry faster but also leads to tangling.

On the other hand, if your bedding comes out tangled and creased, you need to put additional time and effort into ironing your sheets afterward—and this isn’t so great anymore! 

Both the washing machine and dryer have the same problem—under some circumstances, they do the tangling. 

Trust us; we hate it as much as you do! 

Sheets roll into a ball in the dryer when they don’t have ample room to toss. 

So one problem is that drying sheets become all wrinkled during the drying cycle, but there is another issue. When other items, such as clothes, tangle in the sheets, they are trapped inside and can’t dry efficiently. This will cause them to remain damp.

But are there other reasons for sheets balling, other than their large size? 

Can balling sheets, towels, and blankets be a symptom of a deeper issue with your dryer?

If balling happens often, also to your clothing, it may mean an issue with a dryer—one to investigate and address.

Several exemplary causes of your clothes, sheets and blankets ‘ balling up are

  1. static electricity,
  2. the drum turning incorrectly,
  3. dryer belt malfunction,
  4. overfilling of the dryer;

Tip: Consider that the washer and dryer issues don’t get resolved by themselves. Instead, they worsen with time if you don’t act on them!

If you have a technical problem with a washer or dryer, contact a professional service to help you out. 

Otherwise, if you’re guilty of overfilling your dryer, reduce the load you toss inside your appliance. 

Since air can’t circulate the way it should, you may have tangled-up wet items and clothes. 

As a result, you need to run the dryer for more than one cycle, working harder and using more energy (which costs you extra money). 

The dryer cavity is much larger than the drum in a washer—so it’s rather hard to overfill it with too many clothes or fabrics. Still, you can cut down your typical dryer load a bit. Doing this ensures that overfilling is not the cause of the problem.

If you have a standard large capacity dryer and checked that an overloaded dryer is not the cause of the problem, control if your dryer isn’t clogged. 

How to prevent tangled sheets?

We bet you’re dying to learn some simple tricks to free you from this tangling nightmare!

Fortunately, we are here to tell you to handle the wet mess happening in your dryer. 

How to keep sheets from balling up in the dryer? 

Let’s see below. 

Shake it out

According to Good Housekeeping, we typically pull the laundry from the washing machine and toss it straight into the tumble dryer. Sadly, we’re contributing to the balling problem by doing this.

Your laundry is already crumpled, twisted, and entwined when it comes out of the washer. So, you have a wet mess in your hand even before the drying cycle starts. 

If you want fewer wrinkles and less damp fabrics, give your fabrics a shake after you unload the washer.

Tip: Uncouple any joined sheets, pillow cases, and covers before adding them to the dryer’s drum.

Tennis or dryer ball

Another way to stop sheets and blankets from balling up is by putting tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer. 

Remove clean bedsheets from the washer and shake them to remove any twists. Then, throw the bedding loosely in the dryer.

Remember not to overload the dryer—it needs room to fluff air throughout your clothes, sheets and blankets. 

A small-capacity dryer may work best sometimes, for example, if you dry one oversized sheet for a deep mattress at a time.

Now you can add clean tennis balls or dryer balls to the sheets in a dryer. 

As the drum rotates, it tosses tennis balls with the sheets, helping to separate twists and folds in the fabric.

If you don’t have a tennis ball, you can also try putting a clean, dry bath towel in the dryer with the sheets. 

Untwist the damp sheets and unfold the towel completely. Throw your wool balls and tumble them together until dry.

Tip: They say that sheets and blankets would sometimes just “eat” dryer balls, wool dryer balls, and tennis balls—you toss them in, and then you can’t find them again. If this weird situation happens to you, don’t freak out cause you’re not alone. 

Pause the drying process

Some people consider this solution to prevent sheets from balling.  

After washing sheets and blankets, take them out and untangle the laundry. 

Place your sheets inside the dryer and watch them turn into an egg roll shape within minutes. 

Then, when the sheet dries after about 30 minutes, come back and stop the drying process. In other words, interrupt it when the machine spins. 

Unroll the blankets or sheets and put them back inside for another 30-minute round. 

Use this method to gently treat your blankets, sheets, and towels, ensuring they don’t form balls in a dryer. 

And all you have to do is press the “stop” button in the course of the drying cycle!

Clip the corners

Haven’t you found your favorite solution yet?

Try clipping the corners of the wet sheets and blankets together. 

How to do it in practice?

Before putting dryer sheets, take one sheet and tie two corners into a loose knot in the middle. 

Put your loose knot into the dryer. 

This solution ensures that no dryer balls come out of the dryer at the end of the drying process. 

Put the elastic sides together for a fitted sheet and tie two ends in another loose knot. Shake out pillowcases and shirts.

Tip: Mind that tying all the corners together will cause some areas of the sheet to remain wet.

Use Wad-Free

Wad-Free for Bed Sheets was designed to prevent sheets from tangling, twisting, and balling up in both the washer and dryer. 

This handy tool holds all the corners of your bedsheets while they are in the washer. 

It keeps your sheets from wrapping themselves around the other laundry items, reducing drying time by up to 75% and reducing wrinkles.

Since launching the Wad-Free business in June 2020, the company has sold $513,000 worth of products through its website and online marketers, such as Amazon and Walmart.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Drying bedsheets in a dryer on medium heat will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Otherwise, you'll need two to four hours to air dry sheets on a clothes line. These times vary depending on the material, fiber thickness, humidity, ambient temperature, and airflow.
Typically, it's considered hygienic to wash sheets once per week. Yet, if you don't sleep in your bed every day, you can stretch this period to every two weeks.
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