DIY Wool Dryer Balls | Yarn and Upcycled Wool Sweaters

wool dryer balls

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

  • skein of 100% wool yarn (NOT wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable”)
  • Pantyhose
  • Blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • String or cotton/acrylic yarn (to secure the wool ball in the pantyhose)

Use 100% wool yarnDo not buy yarn that says “machine washable” or “superwash” they will not felt. (Shrink) 

Wool Dryer Ball Instructions

1. Gather up a hand full of 100% wool sweater scraps

2. Scrunch them up into a little tight wad. Take the yarn and start wrapping it tightly around the scraps.

3. wrapping, moving the ball around to get an even wrap.

4. Once the ball is to the size you would like, (I like to make them the size of a tennis ball) cut the yarn.

5. 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.

6. After you have made a few balls, stick them into the toe of a nylon stocking

7. 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.

8. Throw the yarn ball caterpillar into the wash with a load of towels. Use the hottest setting possible in the washer and dryer.

9. 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.

10. 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 wool 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:

CREATING AN EFFICIENT, NON-TOXI LAUNDRY ROOM

HANGING UP YOUR LAUNDRY- STREAMLINED

DIY FABRIC WINDOW TREATMENT

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Creating an Efficient, Non-Toxic Laundry Room – Healthy Home Tour

Doing the laundry is inevitable, and something you get to do several times a week or even daily if you are lucky. Why not make the laundry room a space that is non-toxic and enjoyable to be in. Your non-toxic laundry room does not have to be a dungeon!

A few years ago, we added onto the back of our house. My husband and I did everything ourselves except the foundation, framing and sheet rock. It took us A LONG TIME! There are still a few things to do in Phase One, but needless to say, I am so excited to have a new laundry room!

One of the biggest reasons we added onto our home, was to bring the laundry room upstairs. Although it was great exercise going up and down the stairs, it became less efficient and time consuming, and a downright bother.  When I was designing the laundry room, I took some serious thought into what I wanted.

As you can see, I had all the details drawn out. I spent hours on Pinterest, going through my magazine clippings and researching to find out the most efficient way to use the small space that we had to work with.

I love home tours. Not only do I enjoy seeing the structural details, I like seeing how the people LIVE in the space. So I thought it would be fun to bring you into my home, room by room and let you see how we live, what products we use, and perhaps share a few helpful tips.

Let the non- toxic LAUNDRY ROOM tour begin

Raised washer & dryer stand

I am going to start with one of my favorite features in my laundry room. I love having the washer and dryer up high enough that it doesn’t’ break my back pulling the laundry in and out of the dryer. We looked at all the options for washer and dryer stands and they just didn’t appeal to me, and were a lot of money. My husband and I did a lot of sketching and designing and this is what we came up with. This stand is really sturdy and gives me room to store two laundry baskets underneath.

Laundry basket sorting

I recommend having a laundry basket for each category of laundry: WHITES, COLORS, TOWELS & SHEETS, and JEANS. This helps to keep thing organized. It is a good way to stay caught up with your laundry. If the basket gets full, it’s time to do a load of laundry.

One thing that has helped me stay on top of my laundry, is to do a little bit everyday (or almost every day). This way I it doesn’t pile up and get overwhelming. I know this may not work for everyone. Some like to just take a day and do it all. Whatever works for you.

Non-toxic laundry soap

I like to keep the laundry soap accessible and close to the washing machine. I found this unique glass container at a thrift store years ago. It is perfect for holding my non-toxic powdered detergent.

Have you ever checked into what is in your laundry soap? Your laundry soap may smell yummy and fresh and it may be getting your clothes clean, but it may be VERY TOXIC. Most commercial laundry detergents have ingredients in them that are very harmful to your health.

Because of “trade secrets,” manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s in their detergent, so the ingredient list is usually vague and not very helpful. Conventional laundry soap generally contains the following:

  • synthetic detergents, which are often made of petrochemicals
  • phenols (established endocrine disruptors, of which BPA is the most notorious)
  • fragrance (which usually contains phthalates)
  • optical brighteners, which are often made from benzene, a definite carcinogen
  • bleach, which contains chlorine (an environmental toxin–and possibly a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor)
  • phosphates, which break down minerals and render detergent more effective, but with harmful environmental ramifications

You can read more about these ingredients here.

I hope this was enough information for you to ponder, and hopefully nudge you to find a more safe way to clean your clothes. There are a lot of options out there that do a great job. I have been using non-toxic laundry soap for many years and have tried several brands. I wasn’t real impressed with any of them until I came across County Save. This is good stuff.

I recently tried a few other things that I have been really pleased with. Have you ever heard of SOAP NUTS? I hadn’t until a little while ago. I will post more details about these little gems soon, but I really like them!

Back to the tour

I also keep a container close by with baking soda in it. This and white vinegar are great to put in with a load of towels. It keeps them fresh and clean.

I also keep a few essential oils on hand as well. If you put a few drops of oil on a washcloth and then place it in with your clothes your laundry will come out smelling fabulous!

If you have room for a sink, do it.

Having a sink in your non-toxic laundry room does come in handy.  Those times when you need to soak something, or wash something really dirty, it’s nice to have it out of the way and not have to use your kitchen sink.

You can see the soap nuts in the cute little glass container on my dryer. (Can’t wait to post about them).

The container to the right of my sink, is homemade non-toxic foaming hand soap. It is VERY simple to make using castile soap and essential oils. I show you how to make it here.

Clothes Racks

Putting your clothes on hangers as soon as they come out of the dryer will save you a lot of time and grief. Having a place to hang the clothes once they are on hangers is really convenient.

My husband made and installed a handy clothes rack that attaches to the ceiling right by the dryer. This way I can take the shirts out of the dryer, put them on hangers and hang them up until I finish that load. The ceiling rack is made of galvanized steel. It is nice and sturdy and modern looking.

I recommend putting the hung up clothes away in your closets right after you have hung them up. Don’t let them accumulate until you have a huge load of clothes to put away. This will only cause overwhelm, and add clutter to the room.

Dryer Balls

Dryer balls made from wool yarn or felted wool sweaters work really well to save on drying time. They do help reduce static cling somewhat. I show how to make them here.

Basket for mismatched socks and delicate clothes

The basket on top of the washer is for socks without a match and for delicate clothing. When the “other” sock makes its way through the laundry, I know exactly where its match is. When there are enough clothes accumulated for the delicate cycle, I do a batch.

Window Treatments

If you have windows in your laundry room, freshen things up with a cheery window treatment. The fabric window valance I have shown in the picture was really easy to make and it didn’t take a lot of fabric or time. I show how to make it here.

Ironing Board and folding table

Long before we finished the laundry room I found a used ironing board cabinet for sale. I bought it and it sat in the garage for about a year before we were ready to install it. I love it. The ironing board is hidden, it’s easy to pull out and put away. It doesn’t take up a lot of room because if fits right between the studs in the wall.

Who doesn’t love IKEA? I could spend hours in there, well, I do actually. On one of my visits I was browsing and came across this awesome fold down table. I think it is made to use in small kitchens where you don’t have a lot of room.

When I saw this, a light came on in my head. I knew what I needed it for, my laundry room. I wanted to be able to fold the laundry in the same room, but there is no room for a table. This was the perfect solution. It works like a charm. When it’s not in use, I simply fold it down.

While we are talking laundry, here are a few other posts you may be interested in.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed the little tour of my laundry room.

Even if your washer and dryer is tucked in a closest, or it is in the basement; there are simple, inexpensive things you can do to optimize the space and improve the aesthetics.  It really does make a big difference in your desire to do laundry. I can honestly say that I don’t mind doing laundry and actually find it quite therapeutic.

Transform your laundry room into a place where you like to be. Doing laundry can be enjoyable, if you choose.

Start with little things and do things that are doable. (Remember, my laundry room took 2 years to complete). Make it a journey and do it with a smile!

jan3

How To Fold and Organize Socks Efficiently

If you find it challenging to find a pair of matching socks from your drawer, I am going to show you how simple it is to fold and organize your socks quickly and efficiently.

In what state is your sock drawer?

They say, “the way you do something, is the way you do everything”. So, what is that saying about you if your sock drawer is a heap of unmatched socks? Most likely you will find this same thing showing up in other areas of your life. Something to think about! If you want to change your life, start with your sock drawer. I know this sounds crazy, but seriously, if you do something as simple as organize your sock drawer, it will change the way you do everything!

Besides feeling a sense of ahhhhh every time you open your organized sock drawer, by organizing your socks you will:

  • save time by not having to search for a matching pair of socks
  • save money (because you will know how many socks you have instead of having a stray sock floating around somewhere in the house and have to buy new ones)
  • you will have a sense of clarity and order

This technique I am going to show you below is simple, quick and does NOT take a lot of time.

Play Video

here is how it is done

  1. Find the match to your sock and place them on top of each other, matching heels and toes.
  2. Fold toes up 1/3 of the way, then fold the cuff over that.
  3. For longer socks, fold in half, then in half again.
  4. Stack and put them in your drawer right away.

The key is to find some kind of little box to keep the socks contained. There are a lot of options. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot of money! The option above is very affordable and is available here.

There is a plastic type that folds up like the one above. You can get them here.

Or Ikea sells a set of drawer boxes like this one. (I love Ikea)!

Or you can just use a simple shoe box without the lid. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to keep the socks contained and in a smaller area.

Fold, stack and store!

Simple as that.

Give it a whirl and see how your life changes.

By the way, how is your utensil drawer?  That is next ha, ha.

Enjoy!

jan3

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Hanging Up Your Laundry – Streamlined

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the laundry? I am going to show you a slick trick my daughter taught me to streamline hanging up laundry. Allie is a master in efficiency and organization (She gets it from her father who does this very thing for work). Whatever she is doing, she finds a quicker, more efficient way to do it. She even made hanging up a load of laundered shirts a snap!

Here is what you do:

Gather a bunch of hangers and set them on a table or wherever you fold your laundry. (I love this foldout table that I got at Ikea).

Take the shirts out of the dryer and stack them on top of each other, front facing out.

Place a hanger in each shirt. (Make sure all the hangers are facing the same direction).

After the hanger is inserted, fold it forward and go to the next shirt until all the shirts have a hanger in them.

Ta-dah!

Below is a video demo of how slick this really is.

Play Video

Here are a few other laundry tips:

Remove empty hangers from your closet regularly

Isn’t it frustrating when you go to hang things up and there are NO HANGERS? When my kids were younger, “gather hangers” was one of the tasks on their chore list. It worked out nicely. So if you have little ones around, this is a great little job for them. It is also nice not to have all the empty hangers taking up space in your closet.

Avoid placing laundry on the bed to fold later

I know it is tempting to throw a load of laundry on your bed with the intention of folding it right away, but do you? It is very easy to put it off and forget about it until you go to crawl in bed. Then what happens? Yep, it gets thrown back into the laundry basket or maybe even on the floor. Now, you have to throw it back into the dryer to get the wrinkles out, and you are starting all over again. What a waist of time. So, just avoid it in he first place, unless you are certain that you are going to do it right then.

Use closet organizing tags to keep clothing in order

I show how to make these simple closet organizing tags here in this post.

Get rid of clothes you don’t wear!

I am always about getting rid of clutter. Not that I am queen of doing this, but I try. Keeping clothes in your closet that you don’t wear, just takes up space, drains your energy and could be used by someone else. Something to consider.

There you have it, a few tips on how to hang up and store your laundry.

Stay tuned for some other fun tips on getting organized and clutter free. It’s that time of year when I want to just gut the house and get rid of things.

Please share if you have any questions or great ideas!

Remember, doing laundry is a joy!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

Read More