March 2, 2015

How To: Make Wool Dryer Balls

Last week I posted about making my own laundry detergent.  I hinted about how I add a natural scent to my laundry.  I also mentioned how I have been trying to reduce the toxins in my home, and this is just another way of doing that.  I made my first set of wool dryer balls about 6 months ago and have absolutely loved them.  Now, I can not imagine every going to back to use traditional dryer sheets and fabric softener.

So why did I switch?  I have a genuine interest in reducing the toxins in my home.  As I read more and more about laundry products and how toxic they are, (you can read more here about the toxins in fabric softeners)  I knew that I could easily make some changes.  As consumers we have been conditioned to believe that our laundry should be scented and the only way to do that is highly scented chemicals in "Tropical Breeze" and "Lavender."  But even that Lavender scent has no actual lavender in it.  I was already using Essential Oils in my home, so I could easily change my fabric softener scent to natural scents.  And the best way to do that is through homemade dryer balls.  Dryer balls are all natural, toxic-free alternative and so affordable.  They will last for many years and can be scented with your favorite Essential Oils.

What You Need:

  • 100% Wool Yarn or other 100% Animal Yarn - can be found at most hobby/craft stores
  • Pantyhose 


Once your ball is the about the size of a tennis ball, cut the yarn and tuck the end under several other strands (you can use a crochet hook if that is easier).  Repeat the process until you have used up all of your yarn.  You should get 4-6 balls with a large skein.

Cut the leg off of the pantyhose (or I purchased a cheap package of knee-highs).  Place one ball in the bottom of the leg and tie a knot right about the ball to secure it in place.  Repeat until all the balls have been added and secured.

Once the balls are tightly secured, put them in the washer (can be with a load of dirty laundry) and wash it on the hottest setting.  This will allow the yarn to felt.  

Felting will make the yarn fuse together, resulting in a solid ball.  Once it has been washed, dry it thoroughly in the dryer on the highest heat setting.

After the balls are completely dry, remove them from the pantyhose and they are ready for use!  You can add 4-6 balls per load.

If you would like to scent your laundry, you can add 2-3 drops of your favorite Essential Oil to each ball.  The scent should last a few loads, but you can add more drops for a stronger scent. 

 What are the benefits of using dryer balls besides reducing chemicals?

1. They decrease drying time, saving you money on utility bills.
2. They are inexpensive to make and last year, saving you money from buying dryer sheets and fabric softener.
3. Commercial fabric softeners shouldn't be used on cloth diapers.  Wool dryer balls are perfect for keeping your cloth diapers soft and chemical-free.
4. Wool dryer balls won't affect the absorbency of your towels, kitchen cloths, or cloth diapers - commercial softeners coat fabric and thus reduce the ability to absorb.
5. They increase fluffiness and reduce static as dryer loads tumble.
6. Dryer balls help soften clothes naturally.

How do they work?

Dryer balls bounce around in the dryer separating clothes, allowing more hot air to circulate through. As they tumble, the fluff your laundry, reduce wrinkles, and make your clothes softer.  They also pull moisture out of your clothes.  The more balls you have in the load, the shorter the dry time will be.  They are also better than plastic balls because plastic releases chemicals when it's heated.  The same with tennis balls.

Have you made your own dryer balls before? Do you add a scent? What is your favorite?


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    1. An Organized FamilyMarch 2, 2015 at 7:10 AM

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