Up until very recently, I couldn’t imagine running a load of clothes in the dryer without a dryer sheet. They were just a matter of course-always present, getting rid of my static and making my clothes smell great. My mom used to throw 2 or 3 in with each load, and then leave them in the dryer until they were tissue thin and thoroughly used up.
Now, though, as I continue in my pseudo-hippie save-the-world phase, it seems REALLY wasteful to use them. And the materials they’re made of and the chemicals in them are not terribly eco-friendly either. So I decided to seek an alternative. I had seen the knobbly blue plastic dryer balls you can buy at the store, but had heard from various users that they’re very loud.
Then I found this tutorial from One Good Thing on Pinterest for making your own felted dryer balls. Using 100% wool yarn, you create all-natural, eco-friendly dryer balls that help reduce drying time and static cling! Apparently the wool helps to absorb some of the moisture from the laundry and then disperses it evenly into the air, so your clothes come out wrinkle free in less time. And you can add a drop of your favorite essential oil to add that extra freshness too!
DIY: Felted Wool Dryer Balls
- 100% wool yarn (I used Paton’s–$8 for one skein, and I got three healthy sized balls out of it)
- Old pantyhose or knee highs
- Embroidery floss, acrylic yarn or string
1. Wrap the yarn around your fingers about a dozen or so times
2. Slip the yarn off your fingers and wrap around the bundle you just made another dozen or so times
3. Fold the bundle over and begin wrapping yarn all around to create a ball. Keep it nice and tight so the fibers will felt nicely!
4. Keep wrapping until balls reach desired size. Mine were slightly smaller than a tennis ball. When finished, cut yarn and tuck the loose end in
5. Once you have all of your balls done, stuff each one into the leg of your pantyhose, and tie a knot between each. Make sure you use acrylic fibers that won’t felt in the dryer.
6. Now, toss your pantyhose chain into your next wash load (Source tutorial said to wash on hot, but I NEVER run hot loads. I just put it in with a regular warm load and it worked fine). When the wash cycle is done, throw it in the dryer too (Again, I rarely run the dryer on hot cause I’m a cheapskate, but regular temperature worked out fine).
7. Run your dryer balls through a few loads of wash and dry so that the fibers have plenty of time to felt. As they felt, they will decrease slightly in size. I ran mine through 3 loads total
8. After a few loads, untie your pantyhose and check on your balls. If they look sufficiently felted (fused), you’re ready to start using them. Yay!
I just think that they are so pretty, first of all, but secondly a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time. I will be honest and say that they don’t do much on the static cling front, especially during our dry New Englad winters, but with the cost savings and environmental impact, I’m willing to get over it.
How did yours turn out?