Are you looking for a non-toxic alternative to store-bought dryer sheets? Wool dryer balls are your answer! Not only are wool dryer balls all-natural, and non-toxic, they’re so easy to make! In this post, I am going to show you how to make your own wool dryer balls using yarn and upcycled wool sweaters.
What are dryer balls?
Dryer balls have been around for quite some time and people have been using them for years as an eco-friendly and natural alternative to both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Dryer balls come in a variety of materials and sizes. There are plastic variants and rubber variants, and my favorite, wool dryer balls.
A few years ago I stopped into a cute, quaint little shop of handmade organic items, and they were selling sets of dryer balls. I was intrigued for a few reasons.
- First, they were made of 100% wool yarn (you know how I love wool stuff).
- Second, because they had scented the balls with lavender oil (another one of my loves).
- Third, I love the idea of saving time, money, and avoiding chemicals whenever possible.
I bought a set of four very small balls, which cost me around $24.00. I was excited to go home and do some laundry and give them a spin. After using the four balls in a load of laundry, I could tell a big difference in drying time, but not much with the static thing. I did a little research and found out that the more balls you have, the faster and more effective they are. When I used more balls it did help with static cling. I now use 6-10 balls in a large batch of laundry and four in a small batch with good results.
I wanted more dryer balls so I researched how to make them yourself. The directions suggested using wool yarn. So I went out and bought a few skeins of 100% wool yarn and made a few more. I soon found out that it took a lot of expensive yarn to make these babies. (Now I know why they are not cheap to buy).
However, I got thinking and came up with this great solution, wool sweater scraps! Using the scraps makes it so you don’t have to use as much wool yarn. I was able to make double or even triple the number of balls by applying a wad of sweater scraps as the center portion.
For years I have been suggesting that you save your upcycled wool sweater scraps. These little scraps of felted wool are crafting GOLD. There are so many fun projects you can make with this stuff. I hope you’ve been saving them! Here is a perfect project for even the smallest pieces of wool sweaters.
What are the benefits and purpose of wool dryer balls?
- No chemicals, perfumes, unnatural additives that are in dryer sheets. (This is just one of the many articles found telling how dangerous these sheets are).
- Pull the moisture out of your clothes so you don’t have to run your dryer as long, saving you time and money!
- Reduce static, not totally but do a pretty good job.
- Soften your clothes by the gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers.
- I have heard they are FABULOUS for cloth diapers!
- Clean without the harmful chemicals in conventional dryer sheets.
- Save MONEY with lower energy bills!
Here is the scoop on how to make these fuzzy little laundry buddies. It is EASY PEASY!
MATERIALS & ITEMS NEEDED
- A skein of 100% wool yarn (NOT wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable”)
- Blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook
- String or cotton/acrylic yarn (to secure the wool ball in the pantyhose)
Use 100% wool yarn. Do not buy yarn that says “machine washable” or “superwash” they will not felt. (Shrink)
- Gather up a hand full of 100% wool sweater scraps
- Scrunch them up into a little tight wad. Take the yarn and start wrapping it tightly around the scraps.
- wrapping, moving the ball around to get an even wrap.
- Once the ball is to the size you would like, (I like to make them the size of a tennis ball) cut the yarn.
- Stick a crochet hook into the ball, attach the yarn, and pull it through. This will keep the ball from unraveling in the felting process.
- After you have made a few balls, stick them into the toe of a nylon stocking
- Tie tightly in between each ball with string, or cotton/acrylic yarn. (Don’t use wool yarns or it will felt around the pantyhose.) Tie off the end.
- Throw the yarn ball caterpillar into the wash with a load of towels. Use the hottest setting possible in the washer and dryer.
- Remove balls from pantyhose. Some types of wool yarn will not felt well on the first try. You may need to repeat the washing and drying cycles up to 3 or 4 times. You’ll know felting has occurred when you can gently scrape your fingernail over the ball and strands do not separate.
- I keep my dryer balls in the dryer, or you can store them in a basket or big glass jar on top of your dryer.
How to add aroma to the dryer balls
If you want to lightly scent your laundry and make your clothes smell yummy, you can add 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before throwing in the dryer. You will not have a problem with the oil staining your clothes if you are using high-quality essential oils.
*TIP: If you find you are missing a few balls here and there. Check your fitted BED sheets or sometimes they fall out of the dryer when you are pulling the clothes out. My dog loves standing by when I am unloading the laundry; he thinks its game time!
A set of these wool dryer balls makes a great gift!
Here are some other laundry posts you may be interested in: