Tumbling balls

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

What guy wouldn't want a set of dryer balls? Just imagine the convenience for any gal lucky enough to get a hold of a pair.

Say goodbye to moist underwear. Dryer balls rule. In fact, this invention may be the best gadget - or at least the best-named gadget - on Giant Eagle's shelves.

Now, don't mistake my enthusiasm for this product as indicating that I actually enjoy grocery shopping. You won't find me smiling as I go up and down the aisles of Giant Eagle, unless it's over the occasional sight of two carts crashing into each other rounding the aisles from opposite directions.

Or so it was until this weekend, the moment I discovered a product called Dryer Balls ($11) on the store's "As Seen On TV" shelf.

This gadget isn't exactly leading-edge technology. They tell me it's actually been around for years.

Dryer Balls are a pair of rubbery plastic balls like the ones you might have thrown against the front steps of your house as a kid. These balls, though, have soft, spiky nubs that are supposed to soften fabrics in a tumbling clothes dryer.

For the tree-hugger set, that means no dryer sheets, no fabric softeners and no chemicals. This product is hypoallergenic, reusable, works naturally, reduces drying time (and thus energy) and seems to work as advertised.

Placed in the dryer, Dryer Balls lift and separate clothes as they tumble, allowing hot air to flow around them. The nubs massage the fabrics to soften and fluff them. For a pair of socks or panties, I suppose that has to be as erotic as it gets.

I do have two complaints, though. First, as my balls did their work, from time to time it sounded like a handball game being played in my dryer.

Second, the buying experience did nothing to lessen my discomfort with grocery shopping.

For some reason, the checkout clerk couldn't get a price to come up for this product. The conversation with her manager went something like this: "What do I charge for his balls? I don't see a price on them. I have his balls in my hand and I'm not getting them to ring up."

That's when I stopped snickering at the thought of Dryer Balls. At that point, I just wanted to go home.

Got a gadget questions or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail gspot@columbusalive.com