This is going to sound weird but I actually like doing laundry. Well, what I really like is that moment when all my clothes are clean and ready to wear. It feels like anything is possible just because all clothing options are available.
I need more of those moments.
I’ve learned a few things that make laundry even easier and one of those things is homemade wool Dryer Balls. Why am I putting balls in my dryer? I’m glad you asked…
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Why You Should Use Dryer Balls
Your clothes dry faster. The dryer balls bounce around and continually separate your clothes, instead of them turning in a big, wet clump. More separating means they dry faster which saves on energy and saves you money.
Softens your clothes without toxic chemicals. I stopped using dryer sheets years ago when I discovered that they coat the clothes with a layer of slimy chemicals. Some of the chemicals, along with the synthetic fragrances are toxic. You can read more about it here at the EWG. The felted dryer balls rub against the fibers of your clothes and this softens and fluffs them naturally.
Reduces static cling. Just yesterday my husband was taking clothes out of the dryer and asked me if I’d noticed that the laundry didn’t really have any static cling anymore. “Uhhh, yeah, since like a year and a half ago when I made the dryer balls. Thanks for noticing.” Apparently someone needs to do more laundry.
Better for towels and cloth diapers. Remember the slimy layer of chemicals that commercial fabric softeners leave on clothes? While it may artificially soften them it also leaves them less absorbent. Big problem if you’re washing towels or cloth diapers. Dryer balls soften without chemicals so there’s no reduction in absorbency.
What Supplies Do I Need?
You only need 100% wool yarn and an old pair of pantyhose. You’ll need 200-225 yards of yarn for each ball and you’ll want at least 4 balls, although more is okay. I use four dryer balls and made them on the large side.
I Hate Crafts. Can’t I Just Buy Them?
Well, these aren’t really crafts I don’t think but, I get it. Even though they’re really easy to make and you could do it while binge-watching Netflix, sometimes it’s just not worth the trouble. Totally cool! These dryer balls will work just as well.
You have to use 100% wool yarn and it can’t be labelled “superwash” or it won’t felt. Wool yarn that is not washable works the best for felting but I’ve used washable wool and it works too.
If you have an old wool sweater laying around, or you can find one at a thrift store, you can totally re-purpose it for dryer balls. Just make sure the label say 100% wool. Not only will that save you money but you’ll feel like an environmental rock star.
How much wool you buy depends on which brand. The brand I used in the photos you can get a Michael’s and other craft or sewing stores. Each skein only yielded one dryer ball but they were nice and big at ten inches around. I had to use 4 skeins to get 4 dryer balls so it was a little spendy.
I’ve also used this wool yarn with great results. Each skein yields two balls. I only needed two skeins so it was half the price. (Please note that only the solid colors in this brand are 100% wool. The tweeds are a wool blend).
Turn the yarn coil 45 degrees and wrap the center tightly 10-15 times. This is the awkward part but just keep going…it gets easier.
I like the dryer balls to be big so I wrap until the circumference is at least ten inches. You can make them smaller if you like but I think the bigger ones work better.
Now you need to cut off the leg of a pair of old pantyhose. Put the first ball in the leg and push it down the the bottom of the toe. Tie a knot in the pantyhose. Put in next ball and push it down until it touches the first knot. Tie another knot. Repeat with remaining dryer balls and tie off the end when finished.
Toss the dryer ball snake in with the next load of laundry along with a couple scoops of my awesome homemade laundry detergent. Wash on the hot cycle 2-3 times. This is best to do on laundry day when you’re washing a bunch of clothes anyway. Just keep throwing the snake in with the next load of wash.
After the 3rd washing, throw the snake in the dryer with your clothes and dry normally. Untie or cut the balls out of the pantyhose being careful not to cut the yarn.
Note: You can felt the dryer balls in either a top-loading or a front-loading washing machine.
Just throw them in the dryer with every load of wet clothes. Easy peasy! When not in use we just leave them in the dryer so no one forgets or starts using them for batting practice. True story.
But What About That Fresh, Clean Scent?
Oh, yeah, that’s easy too. Just put the balls in the dryer with your wet clothes and run as usual. When clothes are done, take out 2 of the dryer balls and put 3-5 drops of essential oil on each ball. You can use any single essential oil or combo of your choice.
Put the balls back in the dryer and run it for 15 minutes on “no-heat”.
Remove clothes and call your kids in to fold. You made the dryer balls so you my friend, do not have to fold.