In a recent post, I shared ways I save money doing a necessary chore – laundry. One of my suggestions was making wool dryer balls. I wanted to show you just how easy there were to make!
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To preface the whole post – if you don’t want to make them, you can buy them here. However, I would encourage you to try and make yours first! I was originally inspired by the post here at Mommypotamus. That post made crafting your own wool dryer balls so simple to do, I decided to try my own.
Last year at a thrift store, I found 100% wool yarn for 99 cents a skein. I knew what a steal that was, so I bought them all – I think there were 12! I used several of those skeins to make wool dryer balls for gifts. I gave folks 2 or 3 dryer balls along with a few essential oils for a dryer kit. It was one of the least expensive and best received gifts I’ve ever given, and I am considering doing it again this year.
If you want to find wool yarn to purchase, you can find it here. This is the brand I found at the thrift store – Paton’s – and it has worked remarkably well!
You might ask why you would WANT to make wool dryer balls. A few reasons might be:
- Wool dryer balls replace dryer sheets. This can save you money. When I posted about faker towels, I mentioned that even saving a little bit here and there helps. Just as a comparison – Bounce sheets, for the 40 sheet box, cost around $6. If you buy one box a week, that’s $312 over a year. That could help pay down some debt!
- Not only do they save money, but in replacing the dryer sheets, it will also replace chemicals with …. well, nothing! It can help you feel better about what might be touching your family’s bodies.
- Residue from dryer sheets can sometimes cause lint traps to become clogged. I never realized this until I read an article a couple months ago suggesting to wash your lint trap weekly, along with cleaning it out each time the dryer ran. I rinsed my lint trap and was shocked to see the water didn’t even drip through! I knew right then there had to be a better way. That was when I started making my own dryer sheets, which you can see here.
- If you use dryer sheets in loads of bath towels, hand towels, kitchen towels or washcloths, it affects the absorbency of those items (have you ever noticed how towels won’t pick up water as well after being in a dryer with those sheets?). That won’t happen with dryer balls, as the 100% wool balls do not have chemicals.
- You can use wool dryer balls with homemade dryer sheets that you make yourself for double scent, static control and money savings.
- Using homemade laundry crystals, along with the homemade dryer sheets and wool dryer balls in the dryer, can add a pleasant scent, making softer clothes, and eliminate static – ALL with no chemicals.
- Wool dryer balls help to reduce static in clothes better than commercial dryer sheets due to their constant movement in the dryer.
- Dryer balls can be reused hundreds of times, rather than once, like dryer sheets, which also saves money.
- Wool dryer balls can also reduce drying time for clothing in the dryer. I’ve noticed this using dryer balls versus dryer sheets that the clothes are dry much faster.
Did that convince you? All right – let’s show you how easy it is to make your own Wool Dryer Balls.
MAKING YOUR OWN WOOL DRYER BALLS
You will need:
- A skein of wool yarn.
- Yarn needle or crochet hook.
I am going to use a skein of yarn for these pictures. You can also make these from thrifted wool sweaters, and those instructions can be found here. I don’t currently have a wool sweater, but when I have one I will put my own post up – until then, check out this really great one at Plenty Magazine.
You are going to be making a yarn ball. Find the end of the yarn and begin by wrapping it around your fingers about 10 times. If you have a better way to start the ball, you can do that as well. I have, in the past, started by wrapping the yarn around itself to make a small “knot.”
You can either wrap around these loops or just bunch it together and keep wrapping.
Continue wrapping yarn and form into a ball shape.
Wrap the yarn until the dryer ball reaches your desired size. I made mine around tennis / baseball size. You can do whatever size you want.
Once you have reached the size you want, cut the end of the yarn off around 8 to 12 inches for a tail. Thread your yarn needle, and then begin to work this yarn tail in, around and through the yarn ball. Continue until the yarn tail is woven completely through the ball. You can snip the end if you have a little left you weren’t able to work through.
Complete the above steps with the yarn until all yarn is used.
Once you have finished with working the yarn tail into your wool dryer balls, you want to put them in a leg of a panty hose, or a knee-hi stocking. Push the dryer ball down and tie a knot above the ball as close and as tight as possible. Do this for as many dryer balls as you have.
Once tied, put the dryer balls through a wash with hot water. Then toss it into a hot dryer – this is usually my towels and such. This process is called “felting.” I’ve also explained it as melting the wool yarn together so that it stays together in a tight ball.
I usually do this process twice, just to be safe and make sure the ball is well felted. You can check and see if it is ready. Scrape across the wool ball carefully and if strands stay together and you cannot separate them, they’re done. Cut them out of the pantyhose and away you go! This is what they look like when felted.
Once these have been felted, they are ready to use! You can sent them with the essential oil of your choice. I have used lavender, lemon, orange, lime, and peppermint. You can use anything you want. I usually put about 3-4 drops per ball (I love the essential oils with droppers like this one).
I have four dryer balls currently – I had more but a rambunctious puppy decided two of them were toys and pulled them apart LOL. I usually use all four dryer balls in each load – the more you use, the quicker your clothes dry! Once I’ve added my preferred scent, I toss them all in the dryer and start it.
As I stated above, you can read here about making wool dryer balls from old sweaters. I have one wool dryer ball made from an old sweater someone gave me in a bag of “new to me” clothes. I used this sweater to try the wool dryer ball. You can see it has been felted together as well.
That’s it – how nice was that? You can make your own wool dryer balls – or even make them as gifts. If you don’t have wool yarn, but you have a wool sweater you no longer wear, you can check out this link for making them this way. If you would like to try dryer balls but don’t have the time or the desire to make them, here is a link where you can find some to purchase ready-made.
I hope you enjoy making these dryer balls. If you do, be sure to share about it below in the comments or on the My Greener Way Facebook page. I would love to see what you made!
Until next time,