How To Keep Sheets From Balling Up in the Dryer With These 5 Tips From Laundry Experts

Stop this pesky problem for good.

Few things are more annoying than discovering your sheets are a big tangled ball in the dryer after you've made the effort to finally knock out that big load of laundry. Not only does this mean your sheets might still be damp and require more drying time, it’s also just a pain to untangle! So, what do you do to prevent this irksome issue? We asked cleaning experts for their best tried-and-true tricks to combat the problem.

Related: The Be-All-and-End-All, Definitive Guide to Doing Laundry

<p>Image Source/Getty Images</p>

Image Source/Getty Images

Shake it out

Kathy Cohoon from Two Maids, a residential cleaning service, says that keeping sheets untangled can be as easy as shaking your sheets before tossing them in the dryer so the top sheet and fitted sheet don’t get tangled up. she says.  Set some realistic expectations, though: Sammy Wang, a P&G fabric senior scientist, says, ”Because of their size and shape, it’s difficult to completely prevent sheets from balling up in the washer."

Take a pause

“If you have a bigger bed—meaning bigger sheets—pause the dry cycle halfway and shake out your sheets to keep them bunch-free and allow them to fully dry,” Cohoon suggests.  Also, don’t mix bed linens in with an already-big load of laundry. Those excess items in the machine may get caught in the corners of fitted sheets and bunch up. If space and weather allow, skip the dryer altogether and opt to line-dry sheets. It may feel like an unnecessary step, but this will help prevent the dreaded ball of sheets. Plus, this can extend the lifespan of your fabrics—exposure to high heat degrades textiles over time.

Add dryer or tennis balls

Wool dryer balls or clean tennis balls may help your sheets stay untangled. “Tennis balls with their weight and bounce can help keep fabrics separated in the dryer as they’re tumbling,” says Wang.

Related: The 9 Best Dryer Balls for All Types of Laundry

Add a clean towel

Adding a clean towel to your dryer can do a similar job to a tennis or dryer ball. It can help keep sheets untangled, reduce dry time, and help to absorb excess moisture. Just remember the towel should be fresh and clean—adding a soiled towel will just make your sheets smell yucky and you'll have to rewash them.

Create separation

“Don’t wash and dry too many sets of sheets in the same load! The more large pieces of fabric in a load (like sheets), the more they can get tangled up,” Wang explains. Try separating sheet sets across two different loads. For example, one load with the fitted sheet (and other items) and another load with the flat sheet (and other items).  And remember, you never want to overload your washing machine! Don't force more laundry in than the drum can hold. Top-loaders should never have clothes above the agitator, and front-loaders should be about 3/4-full for a larger load.

Related: Do You Have to Sort Your Laundry? A Textile Expert Settles the Debate on Our Podcast

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