Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls
I had never heard of wool dryer balls until about 5 years ago when my friend, Anna, gave me one and said to try it the next time I did laundry. I wasn’t terribly impressed, until she mentioned how much money she was saving instead of buying bounce. She told me to MAKE more balls… that I needed 5 or 6 in the dryer with a full load of clothes.
Making them was no trouble at all and they were chemical free as opposed to the dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener I had been using… which were both loaded with chemicals.
But wool dryer balls can do a lot more than just eliminate chemicals from your laundry.
Here’s a few reasons why I use them:
SAVES TIME AND MONEY
My washer got finished before my dryer clicked off, so I was constantly waiting for a load of clothes to dry before I could put the next washer load in. But not anymore, because the dryer balls cut drying time drastically… which saves money on my electric bill. Plus the wool balls are good for hundred of loads of laundry, instead of a new bounce for every dryer load.
NO TOXIC CHEMICALS
Some of the most harmful ingredients in both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen)… and that’s just a few of them. AA
If you notice that they’re not doing this as well, put them in a sock and run them through a wash cycle.
DOESN’T DIMINISH TOWEL ABSORBENCY
Commercial fabric softeners coat fabric fibers with a thin layer of chemicals, which reduces the absorbency. Have you noticed that your towels aren’t as absorbent as they should be, that’s why.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
It’s simple. They bounce around in the dryer separating clothes, allowing more hot air to circulate through all the garments… which lets the clothes dry faster. As they tumble, the wool balls fluff your laundry which makes it softer, and reduce wrinkles.
HOW MANY DO I NEED?
The more you use the more benefits you get… faster drying time, softer clothes, less static cling, and lower energy usage. I use 6 if I have a big load. If it’s a smaller load, I use 2 or 3.
CAN YOU BUY THEM?
Sure, if you don’t want to make them… this 6-pack of wool balls are well-made, affordable, and eco-friendly.
WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE MY OWN?
They’re easy to make and you only need 3 things. But, depending on where you live, finding 100% wool yarn may be the hardest part of making them. I have to order my yarn online… it seldom gets cold enough in NW Arkansas for 100% wool anything to be available.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 2 or 3 skeins of 100% wool yarn… depends on how many and how big you want to make them. You can normally get 2 balls out of a 1 skein. Be sure it’s 100% wool. Don’t buy the “superwash” or washable yarn because it won’t felt.
- large-eyed needle or crochet hook.
- pantyhose… I had some knee highs in my drawer and they worked great.
Budget Tip: If you have a 100% wool sweater that you don’t wear or wool fabric, just cut and wad it up, then wrap wool yarn around it until you have a ball. Using wool fabric as the base, can save having to use as much yarn as it would take to make the entire ball out of yarn.
- Step 1: Using your index and middle fingers, wrap yarn around them 10- 15 times. Take the yarn off your fingers.
- Step 2: Pinch the middle of the wrapped yarn, turn it sideways and wrap the center 10-15 times.
- Step 3: Wrap it really tight and start wrapping… it may look lop-sided, but just keep wrapping. Wrap until your dryer ball gets to be the size you prefer. Mine are a little bigger than a baseball.
- Step 4: When the ball is the size you want, grab the loose end of yarn and using your crochet hook, pull it inside the ball. To do this, slide the hook under several strands, then take the tail and wrap it around the tip of the hooks a few times and pull it through. Do that several times so that the tail is woven in well, then trim off any unused yarn.
- Step 5: Place the ball in the pantyhose, try a knot in the hose, add another ball, then another knot.
Ball – knot – ball – knot.
Once you have all your balls in the hose, toss them in the washing machine with a load of towels and run through a HOT wash cycle 2 or 3 times.
- Step 6: Place them in dryer along with the towels and run thru a dry cycle. Once the load is finished drying, take the balls out of the pantyhose.
Voila, your dryer balls are ready! Just toss them in the dryer along with your next load of wet clothes – that’s it!
The ball below on the left has not been washed and dried… it’s NOT felted.
The ball below on the right has been washed and dried… it’s NOW felted and ready to use.
Are you using wool dryer balls? Did you make your own or did you buy them?