The case of the missing dryer balls

I feel like I’ve been living in an episode of Scooby Doo.

Recently I started using wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. I’ve been trying to reduce the chemicals in my house and after researching laundry products, dryer balls were mentioned several times as a good alternative. They are also supposed to conserve energy by absorbing some of the moisture and reducing drying time.

I like using my supply of different essential oils to scent the balls before I throw them in with the load. They add a light fragrance and I can change them up depending on my mood.

The annoying part is that they fly around the room when I am pulling items out of the dryer and I have to chase them down to gather them up.

I’m still not sure if I like using them better than dryer sheets, but I’m trying to give them a fair trial.

When my son came home for Christmas break, I mentioned to him that I had made the switch. I asked him to please watch out for them and put them back in the glass storage jar after he had folded the load of towels that had been freshly washed for his bathroom.

That’s the last time I used all six dryer balls.

The next time I went into the laundry room, there were only three dryer balls to be found.

I knew they would disappear when the house filled up with holiday visitors! That’s why I mentioned them to my son before he went upstairs. I was also not surprised when he gave me his very best blank stare (that usually means he thinks my voice sounds like the teacher from Charley Brown) as he patiently waited for me to stop talking.

When I asked him about it, he said he didn’t touch them. He pulled out one towel and the blanket for his bed and left the rest in the dryer. What am I supposed to think? I used to have six balls and now I have three and I am really annoyed.

One ball was wedged between the washer and the wall, so now I have four. I searched around the room, looking through other piles of laundry. I even climbed on top of the washer and dryer to peek behind them and checked under the radiator.

They had vanished into thin air!

I glanced around the room across the hall, thinking maybe they had rolled away. Then I looked in my sons room, not trusting that they weren’t in there somewhere.

Several days later, when they still hadn’t shown up (and somehow I’m back down to three), I gave my best “Mom rant” about how things just seem to disappear when the kids come home and how I know they think I’m a crazy lady harping about dryer balls. I’m sure anyone reading this can just picture the blank expressions that I received along with very subtle mouth twitches as they made every attempt to not laugh in my face.

The only response I got was from my son who said, “Mom, I don’t have them. Ask Winn.”

Ask Winn? What the hell? Aside from the fact that Winn is like Mary Poppins in that she is practically perfect in every way, I couldn’t see how she could have anything to do with the missing balls. Did he think she ate them? (That’s actually not a crazy thought.)

Two weeks later, I was folding a load of laundry and now there are only two balls in the dryer. OMG WHAT IS GOING ON!!!

I can’t blame the children because they’ve both returned to their respective homes and I’m completely frustrated. Once again, I scrambled around the laundry room looking under, over and behind every nook and cranny. I searched every room in the house, under beds, couches, radiators. Then I went into my own room and looked under my bed.

Holy s**t!

There was a sea of balls of all sizes under there!

I grabbed the vacuum wand, sprawled out on the floor on my stomach and started sweeping my arm back and forth. Balls went shooting out from under the bed in all directions.

In addition to a vast assortment of balls of all sizes, there were three dryer balls!

Apparently, I’m the only one who puts the balls back in the glass jar after I’ve used them. Other people (ahem) in my house just leave them in the dryer, with the door open, until a new load is thrown in.

It appears that Winn has discovered this seemingly endless supply of soft, cushy balls. She has a had a grand time flinging them around, mostly in my room. (I guess she’s not as much like Mary Poppins as I would like to think.)

So……I owe my children an apology. (What better way than putting it into a blog post.) I also need to keep the dryer balls out of Winn’s reach.

I’m still looking for one more dryer ball but five balls work way better than just two so I’m happy for the time being.

19 thoughts on “The case of the missing dryer balls”

  1. I think it’s okay to still blame the children or any other family member that might access the contents of the dryer. Instead of asking them to put the balls back in the jar I guess the instruction should at least be to close the dryer door when done. Good luck finding that last missing ball. Have you checked under the couch or maybe all the beds in the house?


  2. this was such a fun read, thanks for the laughs! i’m sure winn thanked you profusely for “rescuing” her stash of balls from under the bed…there’s nothing worse than when your toys are inaccessible!


  3. Oh my gosh, this is hysterical (and delightfully written)!

    I used to believe there was a black hole or maybe a magic portal for single socks! I even had dreams about the dryer turning into giant, gobbling monster at night and EATING one of each pair.

    Eventually, I too found them all in a hidden pile, slightly chewed,

    But I didn’t have a dog at the time…only cats! 😜


  4. I am not sure which is more hilarious, that this happened or that I actually googled “lost dryer balls” in hopes of discovering where others have lost and perhaps found theirs and actually found someone with the same problem. So far, the bed has yielded no results but who knows. My balls are much smaller and they seem to get stuck in my grown son’s pockets a lot. I find them and pull them out. They also get stuck in fitted sheets. I thought I was losing my mind as well since when I fold all these things they lay flat, thus, no ball should be remaining in them. Who knows. It is comforting to know others face similar challenges. It is hysterical to think a ball collection was accruing below your nose. Oh, what will be the next amazing adventure as a mom???


    1. Mine crawled up into my sweatshirts and down the sleeves. Over and over as I am coping with the pandemic by doing night-sweats the day-sweats- then . . . and laundering more often. No kids here. Blamed the pup. Then the orphan socks. Then found in one sweathshirt, then another, then sweatpants pocket, then just under the cabinet. Gave me something to keep me busy, then laugh at myself, then share. Take care all of you.


    2. It certainly made me laugh, and since I also googled I lost my dryer balls, I can relate to being glad there is a humorous story. But I am the only one who does the laundry – have no dog and had only used my 3 for the first time in one load when there were just 2 left. I crawled behind the dryer, unhooked hoses, got out the vent brushes, and still nothing. I just can’t figure out how a a dryer ball managed to disappear like a sock! I haven’t lost a sock in 2 years with my new dryer, based on construction it is nearly impossible! Oh well…back to trying to find them.


  5. I see you wrote this almost a year ago, but still so apropos. I didn’t realize those balls would work better if I used more. I lose mine inside the corners of bottom sheets. Only once to a schnauzer.


  6. so I have no children in the house…no pets…lost one dryer ball weeks ago and now another. I have a small laundry room and there is not many hiding spots. Checked all possible areas and clothes….no sign. Down to two dryer balls.


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