You can buy wool dryer balls on Amazon or Etsy, but they’re also incredibly easy to make yourself. All you need to make your own is 20 minutes and four basic supplies: wool yarn, a crochet hook, scissors, and pantyhoseInquiry Online
I’ll admit that I know nothing about using yarn to knit and crochet, but I know a heck of a lot about doing laundry. Between me, my husband, and our three young daughters (ages 4 and under), laundry is just a part of our everyday life
Doing laundry isn’t exactly what I’d call “fun,” but an easy, practical craft sure is. These homemade wool dryer balls rank up there with my homemade coconut oil lotions and sugar scrubs. They’re a simple DIY that I absolutely love and want to share with all of my friends
Actually, I think making these wool dryer balls would be a really fun craft to make with friends. I made my first two wool dryer balls with the help of my super-crafty mom and then asked for a crochet hook and wool yarn for my birthday so I could make more
The more dryer balls you have, the more they will bounce around with your laundry and help it to dry quickly. Six to eight wool dryer balls that are between the size of a tennis ball and soft ball seem to be just right. The tutorial below shows you how to make two dryer balls from one skein of yarn
The best yarn is 100% wool. After wrapping your yarn into balls, you wash them in pantyhose so the yarn “felts” together and becomes a solid ball that won’t unravel. Thick, wool roving yarn felts perfectly
Actually, I think making these wool dryer balls would be a really fun craft to make with friends. I made my first two wool dryer balls with the help of my super-crafty mom and then asked for a crochet hook and wool yarn for my birthday so I could make more
Hi Kelly, Are you good at DIY patterns on the dryer balls? I usually buy some SUPA MODERN pure dryer balls from Amazon. https://amzn.to/2BoKUgx. After few years of using dryer balls, i only prefer this store. If i want to send them to my friends as gift. I would prefer to DIY some patterns on them. Can you give me some advice or can you share some DIY patterns with us? Thank you
Have you attempted to make these scented by adding essential oils to the yarn? I love really scented laundry and I use Bronner’s lavender soap for my homemade laundry detergent, but would like to add a little more during dry time…
I believe my yarn is from Joann Fabrics. (We have a really big Joann store in Pittsburgh.) If not, it could be from Michael’s. I got so much yarn for my last birthday that I still haven’t used it up!
If you are buying yarn online, try Knit Picks “wool of the andes”. Only $2.79 a ball. You may need more than 1 for a ball. Or look to see what all wool (NOT superwash) yarns they have on sale. They sometimes have great deals on discontinued colors. Or search for a local yarn shop. Some are pricey but others have some lower priced yarns. Check with a friend who knits for their leftovers
I Kristin I will be making a lot of your things for Christmas presents the foundation, blush, dryer balls, and some of the other items , I don’t believe I read if the dryer balls are to be washed in cold or hot water, or dose it make a difference, I love your website thx, Debbie
In an attempt to make more balls with less yarn, has anyone tried using a tennis ball and then wrapping the yarn a couple layers over it? Can you think of any cons to doing that? Any other suggestions to use less yarn?
Tennis balls are made of rubber/plastic so if you are wanting to avoid the chemicals and have a more natural drying process you will want to avoid the tennis balls. That said, I do not know how it would work to make a dryer ball onto a tennis ball
I have used tennis ball many times when drying blankets and pillows to help fluff. They do not smell like rubber when used. However, I am excited to make some wool balls to use instead of dryer sheets!
Thank you for the awesome tutorial. I have been wanting a natural fabric softener/static remover to use! I set my colours into my fabrics by soaking in the wash machine with Epsom salts & water (a trick a science teacher taught me) Start with warm water & 1 cup of Epsom salts, using hand to agitate until dissolved. Set the cycle to small, switch temp to cold, place garment (dryer balls) in. Turn the machine on for a minute. Then walk away. I usually let them sit for 45 min-1hr. Put through a regular wash cycle, & voila your garment will retain it’s colour!
This may be a very silly question lol. But what if you just wrapped a tennis ball a few times till it was fully covered? I’m actually making these right now and my husband was like..why don’t you just wrap up a tennis ball and save yarn?..got me thinking
I had one ball fall apart in the nylon hose. Is there any way to use that yarn? It has become all unraveled….any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have made several so far, this is the first “problem” I have had. I don’t want all of that yarn to go to waste…. Thank you in advance. tam
Thank you for this article. We are a very ‘green/natural/organic’ conscious family and the one thing that we were still using that wasn’t green and that was really bothering me not being able to find a less wasteful and more natural replacement was dryer sheets. I had almost purchased organic wool dryer balls off of Amazon when I came across this article. I’m not at all crafty and wasn’t sure I could pull this off but withmy husbands help, we now have 6 balls (albeit of varying sizes) going through their 3rd wash-dry cycle to felt. I am so excited to try them out with essential oils because I love it when clothes come out smelling fragrant. I am also super excited about not having to buy (and throw away) so many dryer sheets. I hope the balls work as good as I am hoping for at reducing drying time and static and all those tiny wool fibers floating around my living room because of rolling the yarn into balls is all worth it in the end. Thank you once again
I do have one question though. Our balls caterpillar had gone through about 5 wash/dry cycles with hot water and hot dryer settings but I still don’t see the felting, the strands of yarn still look like they are separate. Could I take them out of the pantyhose and throw them in the washer/dryer directly to speed up the felting process?
Hey Kristin, I would add the essential oils once they are done. Although, the yarn may retain some of the oils if you add a few drops in the process of making the balls. I’ve never tried using anything but pantyhose, but I’m thinking a really light pair of socks may work. Maybe a pair of dress socks?
If you have a problem felting the 100% wool yarn make sure you don’t have superwash wool. This type of wool is made NOT to felt by removing some of the “scales” that make up the fibers,the smoother the fiber the less to catch together and felt
I dont have a crochet hook, totally forgot to get one when I bought the wool yard!!! Is there any other way i can pull the end through the ball? Or something else i can do with the end?? I just spent $20 on yarn, and now I am thinking I should have just bought the wool dryer balls because i am pretty sure it would be cheaper. So basically, i dont want to buy any more materials for this. Hahaha thanks!
Hey Zoe, If you have a paint can opener, that will work instead of a crocket hook. You could also try using your finger. The idea is to secure the yarn so well inside the ball that it won’t unravel. Once you’ve gone through the felting stage, I think unraveling shouldn’t be an issue (even without the hook)
Some may be flammable if touched to a direct flame, but this is a recommended practice and I’ve been doing it for years with no problems at all. The wool doesn’t get hot and there are only a few drops of oil on the ball
Hey Tonya, I’m not really sure. I know some people have issues, and some don’t. If you want to take the chance, I would give them homemade method a try. If not, I would purchase the pre-made ones–they work very well, too!
I have an HE washer, and I have found that the wool balls felt better if I do not wash them with other clothes. Also, when the balls stop working, I just send them through a hot wash cycle again. This seems to recharge them
I used a different brand wool yarn and they haven’t felted after a year and three unraveled. I put the remaining three back in the panty hose and after several months of laundry they still haven’t felted. This goes against everything I know about wool. I wish I had just bought the other yarn now instead of getting the one on sale.???? It was 100% wool, I’m baffled
Hey Bethany, That’s interesting. Someone mentioned above that a front loader may be an issue for the balls not felting. Do you use a front loader washer? My other thought is maybe the balls weren’t tight enough, or the yarn wasn’t secure enough, since they unraveled
I just finished making mine but haven’t started the felting process yet so I appreciate the comments. I got my yarn at our local yarn store, Yarnology! The owner hadn’t made them herself but had a lot of customers who had. She suggested I make the base of each ball with my scrap yarn (non-wool) and then continue with the 100% wool as it would save me some $. I’ve been using a set of purchased wool dryer balls for 3 years and am excited to have more for myself and to gift to others!
Did you know that if you have yarn leftover from another project and it is no longer labelled, you can identify it with a burn test. Take a small piece and go outside or work over a sink inside. Using a match or lighter, take a few strands and hold them with tweezers. Light them. If the smell is like burning hair, it’s wool. Any manmade fibers will melt into a small globule. (Textiles and Clothing 101, Iowa State University)
I have 4 that I’ve been using for 4 years…they’ve lasted so well! I’m glad I found this tutorial, because we moved away from the area we bought them in, and I didn’t know what I could do to replace them. Thank you!
Dryer sheets were the very first “chemical” product that I noticed a have a bad reaction to, and so eliminating them a few years ago is what started my journey towards healthier products. I love this idea, but I am allergic to wool. I have simply been adding vinegar in the softener tray of my washer and that seems to soften my clothes, but I like the idea of the dryer balls speeding up the drying time. Does anyone have any other suggestions for materials to use?
I know this is an older post, but I wanted to give a different perspective. I have been a fiber artisan for 25+ years and a shepherdess for 20+ years. I’m going to bust a few myths here through experiment and demonstration, but at the end, I’ll give you a few tips that actually do work
Something to keep in mind is that one of wool’s best and most famous characteristics is that it naturally repels moisture/water. Wool dryer balls will not do anything to absorb moisture from your laundry load making it dry faster. It simply won’t – because it can’t. Also, given the surface area of a dryer ball, it would have a hard time sucking up much moisture anyway, even if it had a natural propensity for doing that. Which it doesn’t. If you’re in a pinch and need to dry a load of clothes faster, I do have a good tip for you: Throw a clean/dry towel in your dryer with your wet clothing. THAT will help your laundry dry a bit faster as the towel is actually is made from the right material to absorb moisture (usually cotton, etc) and has a large enough surface area to do so. Which brings up an interesting point. You’ll never see a bath towel made out of wool because it wouldn’t dry you off. Right? If you grabbed a pure wool sweater and tried to dry yourself off with it, you’d be disappointed. Wool just isn’t designed to be good at absorbing moisture
Also, wool does not have any magic ingredients to make your laundry ‘softer’. Any softness comes from abrasion/friction in your dryer that rubs the fibers off the clothing/towels/etc as they all tumble together. That’s what makes the lint in your lint filter. Lint is the fibers of your clothing, etc abraiding away (wearing off) of the items in your laundry and that’s what’s getting trapped by your lint filter. That’s one reason that clothes dried on a clothesline will feel stiffer, they haven’t had an abrasion session in the dryer after being washed. Will dryer balls increase the wearing away of your clothing to make them ‘softer’. Maybe microscopically, But your clothes, etc are already abraiding each other during the course of the dryer load with much more surface area to have contact with other garments for abraiding/buffing/wearing off of fibers.
Regarding wool dryer balls reducing or eliminating static, there are no magic properties in wool that will reduce static. Static is a result of over drying, not a result of not having enough dryer balls in your laundry. It’s like having low humidity and shocking your finger when you touch a lamp or something in the winter. The atmosphere is dry, so there’s static. If you had a dryer ball in your hand you would not reduce that static and you’d still get shocked by the lamp.
I’ll touch on the dryer ball claim of eliminating wrinkles very briefly. Say what??!! If you leave your clothes in the dryer for too long, they will wrinkle. 1-12 dryer balls laying in a heap of clothing will not make them unwrinkled. I don’t even know what to say about this claim. It defies logic, so I’ll leave it there
One last thought, I’ve sold a wide variety of natural fiber items at the wholesale level for the last 7 years of my fiber career. I’m often asked to make dryer balls for retailers to sell to their customers but always avoided the idea because my gut told me it was gimmicky. But I was asked so many times that I felt like I had no other option but to design an honest and repeatable experiment. If I was going to sell them, there needed to be a real and measurable benefit to customers or else I would be adding to the notion that there was something helpful, beneficial, innovative, time and money saving about dryer balls. So I made a dozen for myself. Not out of yarn, but out of clean wool fiber. I used the same weight of fiber as all of the other dryer balls out there so that my experiments would be apples to apples. Then I started doing loads of identical laundry. LOTS of loads of identical laundry. I timed them in the dryer with 1 – 12 dryer balls. Result: dryer balls sound natural and clean and ‘simple’ and homey and virtuous and a lot of other things, but they don’t live up to the claim. At all. They just don’t. There was no difference in dry time and I found that the more dryer balls in the load, the longer my load took to dry, according to the moisture sensors in my dryer. I’m sorry
I have a bit of good news to offer though. After using dryer sheets for years (yuck) I just stopped using them a few years ago. Cold turkey, I just quit. You know what? My clothes were just as soft (because they abraided against each other in the dryer) and they had no static (unless I overdried them) and they were not wrinkled (unless I left them in the dryer for too long – you know how that goes). Last free tip: if you really want to use essential oils to scent your laundry, you can do that and you don’t even need a wool dryer ball! Take a clean rag or clean old washcloth, add a few drops of your favorite EO and toss that in the dryer with your clothes. Done. Simple, cheap, non-gimmicky. (One caution – some EOs could be potentially flammable – be careful.)
I am a wool advocate/fanatic. It’s just about the best natural fiber out there with a huge number of sheep breeds that bring various strengths and uses to the table. There’s almost no end to wool’s versatility and desirability. I want people to love wool as much as I do…and I love wool a LOT. But I also don’t want people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn a lot about wool to think it’s less incredible than it is, because they believed the stories about putting wool in the dryer to make laundry day all natural and hassle-free. That’s doing both the wool and the end user a disservice.
I’m sorry for any bubble bursting that may have taken place here. It’s with the best of intentions. Now go knit or crochet or felt or spin or weave something amazing out of some quality wool…you won’t be disappointed! xoxo
My daughter and I used this tutorial to make dryer balls for our Life Skills class as we’re trying to eliminate plastics and chemicals in our home and environment. We used Patons Classic Wool, Roving and followed directions. After 10 washings in hot water and 10 tumbles in the dryer (we used white towels in loads) our balls still have distinct lines of yarn, they haven’t felted. We didn’t use laundry soap or fabric softener in loads. Any suggestions of how to make them felt? Thank you!
Thanks for sharing. I have used wool dryer balls for 3 years. They really cut down my drying time and make my clothings free of wrinkles, which are far better than chemial drying sheets or noisy plastic dryer balls. I love DIY dryer balls. But i usually bought some premium dryer balls from Amazon. And then i will DIY some patterns on them with yarn. In this way, my gift dryer balls will be made more faster. Please note that you should choose premium quality dryer balls. Premium quality is non business with price on Amazon. Don’t make wrong choice. You can choose such as SUPA MODERN brand dryer balls on Amazon. I have used the dryer balls of this store for 2 years. They are great. Sometimes, if i don’t have enough time. I will use them directly. For me, they are even better than some expensive dryer balls cost 16.99 or more. https://amzn.to/2BoKUgx. If i have enough time, i will DIY few ones
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So about three years ago Matt purchased a set of felted wool dryer balls on Etsy. When he opened the package I laughed and asked why he was purchasing balls of yarn for such a ridiculous price! Then he explained the purpose of the dryer balls and asked if I would experiment with them in our laundry
While wool dryer balls are not a new concept, I had never heard of them. Nevertheless, people have been making them for years as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. (Read about our homemade dryer sheets and fabric softener.) But wool dryer balls can do so much more than just eliminate chemicals from your laundry
Wool or rubber dryer balls will help separate your clothes and get more air to them, cutting drying time. They can also reduce static so you don’t need dryer sheets (see #7 below). The wool balls are said to absorb some moisture, further cutting drying time. We use these at my house and have seen a noticeable difference in the time it takes our clothes to dry.
It’s simple. They bounce around in the dryer separating clothes, allowing more hot air to circulate through all the garments. As they tumble, the wool balls fluff your laundry, reduce wrinkles, and basically pummel the laundry to make it softer. They do so much more than a dryer sheet by pulling moisture out of your clothes so you don’t have to run the dryer as long. The more dryer balls you have in a load, the shorter the drying time will be
Maybe you’re using those plastic PVC dryer balls because you don’t want the chemical scents from commercial products coating your laundry. We don’t recommend these, because plastic releases all kinds of nasty chemicals when it’s heated. Ditto for tennis balls. Wool dryer balls are a much more natural, chemical-free alternative to all the other options out there
Don’t bother paying someone else to wind yarn into a ball for you; learning how to make wool dryer balls is simple. You can do while watching a movie, helping kids with homework, or waiting for dinner to cook
I have successfully used many types of wool yarn to make felted wool dryer balls, but I prefer the thick, lightly spun roving yarn (pictured in beige below). It felts much better than the Fishermen’s Wool or the other tightly spun wool yarns
Be really thrifty and “green” by unraveling an old 100% wool sweater you’re not wearing, or purchase wool sweaters at a second-hand store and use the yarn for this project (or other projects). If you use a yarn with even the slightest bit of acrylic or other blends, your balls won’t felt correct, if at all. If they are not felted, they will unravel in the dryer and you’ll have a stringy mess
I like to use brightly colored yarn so I can easily separate the dryer balls from my clothes when coming out of the dryer. I haven’t had trouble with colors from the yarn balls bleeding onto fabrics, but you can choose lighter colors of yarn if you’re worried about this
4. Continue wrapping tightly until your ball is the desired size. (I make mine softball-sized to help cut drying time more, but a tennis ball or baseball-sized will help save money on yarn. You can also fill your ball with an old, wadded up sock or piece of fabric if you don’t want to use so much yarn.)
6. Cut the leg off an old pair of nylons, or use knee-high stockings. Put balls into the toe of the nylons, tying tightly in between each one with string, or cotton/acrylic yarn. (Just don’t use wool yarn or it will felt around the nylons.) Tie off the end. Take a few minutes to play with your yarn ball caterpillar if you like
Remove balls from nylons and check for felting. When learning how to make wool dryer balls you’ll see that 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
Just throw these babies in the dryer with your freshly washed clothes, and let them do their work! For regular loads, use at least 4-6 balls to notice a decrease in drying time. For large loads, use 6 or more wool balls. The more you use, the more quickly your clothes will dry
If you want to lightly scent your laundry you can add 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before throwing in the dryer. If you’re using a good quality, pure essential oil, you will not have trouble with the oils spotting your clothes. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.) Just be sure to use a clear essential oil
Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebook, Twitter, and her +Betsy Jabs Google profile
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If the machine you use doesn’t allow you to wash in hot water, I’m sure you could probably just soak the caterpillar/nylon train of wool balls in a tub of extremely hot water, then throw them into the washer just before spin cycle, so they will spin the water out of them. Then put them in the dryer at the warmest cycle it allows. If you put them through this scenario several times , it would probably felt them as needed
Highly allergic to wool here and tried these, for us it was a horrible idea. I had to rewash everything not to mention the rash we had. I guess it really depends on how allergic to wool you are. I have a cleaning service and the biggest problem people make is over stuffing their dryers. Clothes will take twice as long and wrinkle if you over stuff. I also never use anything but the lowest temp even for towels and everything dries fine. It cuts down on shrinking and fading. The biggest mistake people make is using too much fabric softener, your clothes will take almost twice as long to dry. Using vinegar in the rinse cycle and low heat is really all we need. It’s product build-up that ruins fabrics
Hi Sue, Some of our other readers who are also allergic to wool have used mohair, angora, alpaca, or llama with great success. Of course, if it’s animal fibers in general that you’re allergic to, then I guess these won’t work for you
I have raised alpacas which do not have lanolin and are said to be hypoallergenic. The micron count (measure of density) on alpaca fleece can be five times less than a human hair, making it finer to the touch. I have used 100% alpaca socks (that have had holes worn in them) that have been tied into a knot and thrown into the dryer. I have enjoyed many years of using them this way. These socks are not dyed, therefore their colors don’t bleed. Every state in the U.S. has alpacas, and every farm has unwanted fleece by the garbage bag full that is gladly given away. You can order it online, too. Felting is easy and it is not necessary to use yarn. You can use an underlayment of old nylons, lightweight scarves, tulle, etc., with warm water and sudsy soap
Hello, Laurie. I have read the last two sentences of your comment five times now and I still don’t understand what you mean re: ” . . .it’s not necessary to use yarn.” And what do you mean, please, by “underlayment of old nylons, scarves, tulle, etc?” Also—what does one do with the alpaca fleece? Thanks so much
When felting multiples, I tie bone rings into the knots of nylons (plastic, available in sewing notions dept). This makes it a bit easier to untie the knots when you are finished with the felting process. If you don’t want to reuse the nylons, you can just cut them open
For decorative or gifting dryer balls, I have purchased hand dyed wool yarn/roving on e-bay. Many lovely color variations not available on commercial yarn, they felt beautifully, and it doesn’t take much to add a design or a few wraps over a basic commercial yarn
Regarding static in your dryer, I’ve not found a reliable method to eliminate it completely on synthetics. Nylon especially. Even line drying nylon and some other synthetics is not enough to completely eliminate static IME. Especially on cold winter days…my hair (regardless of conditioner) and synthetic fabric require extra management
When feeling more craftsy, use a felting needle to add designs to your dryer balls. I’ve seen articles on using wool felt yardage to your dryer balls (say a jack-o-lantern face), but I haven’t had enough success with wool felt yet to make any recommendations. I have had lovely success felting swirls and such on dryer balls with a felting needle and pretty hand dyed yarns
I am wondering if the dryer balls can be felted too much? I made some and put them through a couple of hot water laundry loads and then made some by agitating in a bucket of hot water. The ones that went through the washing machine are slightly larger and float in water. The ones made in the bucket are smaller, more dense, and sink. Will they absorb water as well as the ones that were run through the washing machine or have they shrunk too much? Thanks in advance for any input
I crocheted my dryer balls after I realized they were shrinking in size after a year or two. Just covered them with single crochet and they have stayed the same size after that-6 years so far. Used what ever colorful 100 % cotton yarn I had on hand, probably Sugar and Cream brand. The colors of the yarn did not come off on the clothes, but one can just use white to be safe
Amber, rub a metal coat hanger over your clothes and this should help with the static charge. Try not drying natural fibers with synthetic, check the labels on your clothes if you’re not sure. Try adding a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle along with reducing the amount of detergent you use. Sounds like you have a build-up of residue on your clothing. I wish I could use the felt balls but my family is allergic to wool
Amber, your balls are probably felted properly, so don’t worry about that. I always spray vinegar directly (and liberally) on the wet clothes after I have thrown them in the dryer to assist with the static issue. Winter is just so dry that the wool balls normally won’t eliminate the static completely. And air-drying your synthetic fabrics seperately (as Patti mentioned) will make a big difference
I’ve been using wool dryer balls for about six years. Since being diagnosed with Severe Environmental and Chemical Sensitivity, I’ve had to find, or make, products to use that font affect my condition. Use of commercial fabric softeners, detergents, cleaning supplies, perfumes, soap, Body wash, shampoo & hair conditioners can cause me to develop a severe case of bronchitis that lasts a minimum of 4-5 weeks and ingesting multiple rounds of antibiotics and steroids. Using a “Clear & Free“ detergent and a vinegar/water/essential oil” combination for my fabric softener along with wool dryer balls, has made it possible for me to go my own laundry. Another good reason to go this route is that commercial fabric softeners can gum up your washing machine. I was amazed at the “crap” that was released from my machine from using vinegar in it. Vinegar also deodorizes your clothing . I have at times forgotten I had a load of clothes in the washer for more than a day …. and couldn’t believe that the clothes were still fresh smelling. Thanks to vinegar, it not only is good fir clothing, it keeps your washing machine clean!
My first efforts are in the washer right now. Some of the balls had yarn come loose as I stuffed them into the pantyhose. I got more yarn on a needle and poked it in and out to try to hold the balls together better. I wondered if crocheting a chain and then rolling THAT would work better
I inherited some skeins of Irish wool from my mother, but I have been unsuccessful learning to knit or crochet anything worth looking at. Ah, but I didn’t have the heart to give away the wool. My newly felted wool dryer balls have given me another connection to my mom that I can use every day, and I will never buy another bottle of fabric softener. I used a syringe to inject a couple drops of my husband’s favorite essential oil into the middle of a couple of the balls, and it gives a very light scent to his clothes
I do felted knit projects. You can use pillowcases and those nylon lingerie bags for felting. If you don’t use hot water in your wash, you can felt in a tub of water or your sink but you have to manually agitate the project which may be too labor intensive. A little detergent/dish soap helps to speed things up too
These balls are great. My twist is to roll them up around a core made of aluminum foil balls. I’ve been using the aluminum balls for the same purpose but with the added benefit that they reduce static
Hi! I just love to use wool dryer balls. They are so beautiful! So beautiful that I made my short video tutorial on how to make wool dryer balls. You can check it out on youtube, here’s the link – http://youtu.be/ItkQVV4Y-34 Thank you!
I always enjoy reading your posts. I went to make hot cocoa tonight…but alas, we had no cocoa powder and I didn’t want to go out in the “cold” (I live in Central Florida, so my cold now is different than what I grew up with as being cold, even from a more mild climate) to get some. I was so excited to have an excellent reason to try a new cocoa recipe! Sad day
Not silly at all Sarah! Roving yarn was new to me…I accidentally found it while searching for the perfect felting yarn. It’s just a thicker, more loosely spun yarn. It takes less work to wind, and it felts with less washings compared to regular wool yarns.
You can find a variety of dryer balls on the market. There are balls made from PVC that look like little hedgehogs, or there are wool felted balls. Some people swear by adding used tennis balls to each dryer load to speed drying and reduce wrinkling.
If you choose a 100% natural wool ball as the method of softening clothes, you can avoid introducing chemical residue and fragrances to fabrics that can be harmful to sensitive skin. Wool dryer balls help to keep clothes separated in the dryer allowing the heated air to circulate better and dry items more quickly. The wool balls also capture static and make clothes more static-free. After a few uses, you will see pilling on the surface of the balls. This is not attractive but it will not reduce the effectiveness of them.
Making your own felted wool dryer balls is simple and a great way to use up leftover 100 percent wool yarn. You can even recycle wool sweaters that are no longer wearable. Homemade felted wool dryer balls are also much less expensive to make than to purchase.
The fabric or yarn to make dryer balls must be 100% wool or other animal hair (like alpaca, but not cashmere) that will shrink or felt when exposed to hot water. The natural hair has barbs that latch onto each other to create a more solid finish. This will provide the density you need for the ball to hold its shape. The natural fibers also help to control static much better than synthetic fibers
Wind the wool yarn or fabric strips into a ball. Start by wrapping around your fingers and be sure to switch directions often to get a ball that is equally round, the same way you'd wind a ball of yarn. Wrap tightly and in an orderly fashion until you have a ball about the size of a tennis ball, around two and one-half inches in diameter. It is best to make several balls before proceeding to the next step. Be sure to secure the end of your yarn by running it under several strands of yarn. This can be done with a large needle or a crochet hook.
Some sites suggest using a tennis ball as the core and adding wool yarn or fabric around it as a quick way to make a ball. These balls will not last as long as a solid wool ball and you still have the potential problem of a release of chemicals.
Add the filled sock or pantyhose to a pot of hot water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat source but allow the balls to soak until the water is cool. The hot water will cause the wool to shrink and felt. If you are using anything other than white or natural colored wool, you may see some dye transfer. Some dyed wool yarn or fabric is not colorfast. This will not be a problem when the balls are finished for use in the dryer.
Next, squeeze any excess water from the balls and put the sock of balls in the dryer to dry on high heat. When dry, cut the strings between the balls and remove them from the sock or pantyhose. The balls will be smaller (due to felting) and should look fuzzy. You should be not be able to unwind them. These balls become the core of your final dryer balls.
Using the ball cores, begin the wrapping process again with the wool yarn or fabric strips. Keep wrapping until the ball is around three and one-half inches in diameter. This is slightly bigger than the final product.
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