Is it safe to put tennis balls in the washing machine?

Is it safe to put tennis balls in the washing machine? After all, they’re designed for a different purpose, aren’t they?

Well, there are several reasons why tennis balls are commonly used in washing machines.

Firstly, they help to redistribute heavy items evenly in the wash load, thereby ensuring everything comes out clean and free of wrinkles. Secondly, it helps to avoid tangling.

Furthermore, if tennis balls are added to the wash cycle with a decent amount of laundry loads it won’t harm your washer.

It is problematic only when you put the tennis balls on an empty washing machine. Tennis balls in an empty washing machine can bang around and damage the interior of your washer.

So is it safe to put tennis balls in the washing machine?

The answer is Yes, it is safe to put tennis balls in the washing machine as long as you load your washing machine is not empty. Using tennis balls with a decent laundry size should not cause any harm. In fact, many homeowners use them on a regular basis for cleaning clothes and other items.

Now, that you know that tennis balls are safe to be used, let’s understand How many tennis balls are to be used? and the prep work required to use tennis balls in the washing machine.

Let’s get started.

Types of Laundry balls available

There are mainly two types of Laundry Balls.

  • Laundry Balls for Washing Clothes
  • Laundry Balls for Dryer

Laundry Balls for Washing Clothes

When it comes to washing your clothes using a laundry ball, there are several available on the market.

Here are a few of them…

Tourmaline Balls

These balls are designed to help soften clothes during the washing cycle and also reduce the static build-up in clothes.

A tourmaline ball can last up to 3 years and it is well-known for elevating the water Ph Level, eliminating chloride compounds, and agitating the dirt from clothes.

Magnetic Balls

These types of balls contain magnets inside and help to soften the water.

The shelf life of a magnetic ball ranges anywhere between 10 to 20 years.

You can use up to 6 balls per washing cycle to get the best results.

Embossed rubber

These are light balls with buttons on them.

They’re designed to help loosen up the dirt in a gentle manner. Furthermore, it helps to avoid tangling during a wash cycle.

The average lifespan of an embossed rubber ball is anywhere between 6 months to 1 year depending on the usage.

Having said that it needs continuous drying after washing your laundry.

Tennis balls

The main purpose of using a Tennis ball in the washing machine is to distribute the heavy items evenly in the wash load, thereby ensuring everything comes out clean and free of wrinkles.

Furthermore, it helps to avoid tangling and the best part is that they are very affordable.

Also Read: Can baking soda damage the washing machine?

Laundry Balls for Dryers

You can choose from plastic balls, cedar balls, and woolen balls, depending on your preferences and needs.

Some of the best-selling items include…

Plastic Laundry Balls

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and economical option, plastic laundry balls are the way to go.

These reusable balls are made of durable materials that can last for years with proper care.

Additionally, plastic laundry balls help to reduce the amount of time and energy required to dry your clothes.

Simply toss them in the dryer along with your wet clothes and voila! Your clothes will come out feeling soft, fluffy, and wrinkle-free.

Cedar Laundry Balls

If you’re concerned about safety, cedar is another popular choice.

These balls are made from durable wood that helps to reduce static electricity and remove foul odors.

Foam Balls

These balls are designed to help keep fabrics from crowding together in the wash, thereby reducing tangles and wrinkles.

The USP of a foam ball is that it helps to remove the pet hair from the fabrics.

Before using your laundry balls, be sure to check the labels on your clothes to make sure they can safely be tumble-dried OR washed using laundry balls.

How many tennis balls to use in the washing machine?

The number of tennis balls to use will depend on the size of your washing machine and the laundry load.

For a standard-sized laundry machine, using two tennis balls should be enough to redistribute the clothes evenly and help prevent tangles and wrinkles.

However, if you have a larger machine or a particularly large load of laundry, you may need to use more tennis balls.

When it comes to using a laundry ball for the dryer, the number of balls you’ll need will also depend on the size of your machine and load of laundry.

For a standard-sized dryer, anywhere from 2 to 4 balls should be sufficient.

Regardless of whether you’re using tennis balls or a laundry ball in the washing machine or dryer, be sure to review the manufacturer’s instructions for care and use.

Additionally, check the labels on your clothes to ensure they can safely be tumble-dried or washed using a laundry ball.

Also Read: 8 Signs your dryer vents are damaged

Preparations to use the tennis ball

In order to use a tennis ball for cleaning clothes, you will need to do quick prep work before putting them in the washer.

What you will need

  • Vinegar OR Bleach (Anyone)
  • Water
  • Saucepan


  • Start by boiling the water in a saucepan.
  • Once the water boils, put the tennis ball in boiling water.
  • You will see the color fading off (This is exactly what we need).
  • Let it boil for 10 to 15 mins.
  • Take the ball out and leave it to cool down.
  • Then dip the ball in Vinegar OR Bleach water for an hour
  • Take the ball out and let it dry.
  • Your tennis ball is good to be used now.

How to use Tennis balls in the washing machine?

Using tennis balls in the washing machine is easy, simply follow the below steps to get the desired results.

  • Take 2 to 4 tennis balls and put it in the washer.
  • Add Laundry (Clothes & Garments)
  • Select the appropriate washing cycle depending on the fabric type.
  • Let the wash cycle complete.
  • Remove the laundry from your washer.
  • Put it in the dryer along with 2 dry tennis balls.

Voila! your clothes should be dry and fluffy in 2 hours’ time.

Ideal Tennis ball replacement

While most people find that a regular tennis ball works just fine, there are other options available as well.

You can either use a DIY technique to make your own laundry ball OR simply buy one.

Let’s take a quick look at the best replacement for a tennis ball and also the DIY technique to make a laundry ball at home.

Some of the popular tennis ball replacements are:

Tourmaline Balls

As already discussed above, tourmaline balls are the best alternative to a tennis ball.

The main USP of a tourmaline ball is that it neutralizes the chlorine in water, protects the skin, preserves the color of the fabric, and prolongs the lifespan of your fabric.

Furthermore, it does not leave any residue behind and it is considered to be gentler than the tennis balls.

Some of the major benefits of using tourmaline balls are as below:

  • Gets rid of bad smells and bacteria.
  • Revives clothes color
  • Requires fewer detergents, In fact, it works even without detergents.
  • No harmful effects on skin

Also Read: How to Winterize a Washing Machine?

Aluminum Balls

One of the pocket-friendly alternatives to a tennis ball is aluminum foil balls.

These balls are tightly wrapped and it’s purely made up of Aluminium foil sheets.

You can easily make these balls at home as well. All you need to do is take an Aluminium foil and fold it a few times and then, roll it in such a way that it forms a ball.

Folding it initially helps to keep the ball tight.

Furthermore, you need not make it similar to the size of a tennis ball. If you manage to match the size of an aluminum ball to that of a walnut shell, it should suffice.

A Word of Caution when using a tennis ball

While using tennis balls, you should not forget that the weight of the ball increases when it goes through the wash cycles. As a result, you need to ensure that your washer if sufficiently loaded with laundry so that the ball does not bang inside.

Frequently using tennis balls to wash clothes may damage the internal drum. It is very common to see dents inside the drum due to banging.

Lastly, using tennis balls to wash towels, down jackets and blankets may be a good idea but do not use them for delicate clothing items.

Final Thoughts

Using tennis balls in the washing machine is an easy way to get your clothes clean and fluffy. You can either use regular tennis balls or tourmaline balls to get the desired results.

Avoid overusing tennis balls as it can do more harm than benefit in long run. Use it wisely to wash heavy items such as towels, blankets, OR Down Jackets.

Lastly, do not forget to do the prep work before using the tennis ball as it can release color and lint if you don’t go through the prep work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions that are asked frequently.

Why do people put balls in the washing machine?

Putting tennis balls in the washing machine helps not only to loosen the dirt and debris but also prevents tangling, thereby reducing wrinkles. Furthermore, tennis balls can be an excellent tool to dry clothes, as it helps to keep them nice and fluffy.

Will tennis balls ruin my dryer?

No, tennis balls will not ruin your dryer. However, make sure to use only 2 to 4 balls for a large load as using more than that may damage the internal drum. You should also avoid using tennis balls to wash delicate clothing items such as sweaters or silk fabrics. Additionally, you should check the lint trap after each use to ensure that it is not blocked.

For more queries related to washing machines, you can always refer to our FAQ Section.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)