How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
Today’s post is going to take you through my first experience with dryer balls, including how I made them, how I use them, and my overall thoughts. These little balls are eco-friendly, non-toxic, and don’t leave a nasty residue on your clothes!
If you are tired of wasting dryer sheets, or realized how much toxic stuff is in those things, you should think about switching to wool dryer balls. But, do dryer balls really work?
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The Benefits of Wool Dryer Balls
Dryer sheets are usually one of those products that people don’t think are dangerous to use. It’s true that there are some products out there, like disposable razors, that you just don’t think would be harmful. What most people don’t know is that there are such better alternatives to disposable razors!
With dryer sheets, it’s pretty hard to tell what is actually being rubbed all over your clothes to give them their clean scent. You can find out for yourself with the Think Dirty App. It’s not pretty. Wool dryer balls take all the guesswork out for you, because the one ingredient is pure wool. Why does wool work just as well?
The key is dryer balls are made with felted wool. The texture of the felt rubs against the clothes as they bump around the dryer. This fluffs up the clothes, and circulates the hot air more efficiently. Which also helps to dry your clothes faster.
Dryer balls also save you money, because you don’t have to keep buying dryer sheets every few months. They also reduce static significantly. Plus, you can put a few drops of your favorite essential oils on them for an added scent.
How to Make Dryer Balls
I’m going to keep this section short-ish, because there are hundreds of other posts out there on this super easy DIY project. This one is my favorite, because they guide you quite nicely through the process.
Basically, you want to find about 3 skeins of 100% wool yarn. I read that worsted and roving yarn felts the best. DO NOT buy wool yarn that says “washable” or “superwash.” This kind of wool won’t felt because it’s not completely pure wool yarn.
I bought 3 skeins of worsted yarn that totaled to $13.00. I thought red, purple and blue would be good colors so they would be easy to spot amongst my clothes. But you can pick any color that tickles your fancy, of course.
To make your dryer balls, just form your skeins into two or three traditional balls of yarn. I did this over the course of an hour while watching New Girl on Netflix, so it was pretty easy. If you need a little extra help on how to make a ball of yarn, check out the tutorial below.
Next, you need to take an old pair of panty hose and stuff your wool balls down the legs. You want to separate the balls by tying little pieces of thread between each one to make their own little compartment. I used an old beat up pair of dance tights, and they worked great. Don’t worry about making the thread too tight or the compartments fit perfectly. You’re not going for perfection here!
To actually felt your yarn, run your strange yarn-ball-and-tights thing through a few hot cycles, then dry them completely on high in your dryer. Cut the yarn balls out of the tights, and voila! You’ve made yourself some dryer balls. You can also cut the thread off your tights to preserve them instead of cutting them up. That way, I have a pair of tights specifically for making dryer balls!
If you’d rather not deal with making your dryer balls, there are lots of places to buy some. Amazon has some great options that you can check out below.
Some Tips and Lessons I Learned
However many balls you want to make is up to you. Ideally, I read that about 6-8 balls for a large load is a good number. The more balls you have, the drier the clothes. As for size, you want to aim for about the size of a softball or tennis ball. I made the rookie mistake of trying to make three balls per skein of yarn, but I really should have made two.
One thing I didn’t take into account was that the yarn would compact while it felted. In other words, your yarn balls will shrink while they felt. You can see the difference between the red and blue ball down below.
I can tell already that the blue ball is going to be a major pain to sort from my loads because of how small it is. Update: It’s currently stuck in my pillowcase, and I’m too lazy to get it out until I wash it again. So make sure that your balls of yarn are bigger than you think they need to be!
Another tip I saw was that you can make your clothes smell great just by putting a few drops of essential oils on your dryer balls. This gives you the freedom to really mix and match certain smells and make one just right for you. And you bet that I tried it out!
My First Experience With Dryer Balls
Out of my three skeins of yarn, I made 9 balls total that averaged a little smaller than a tennis ball. I decided to really put them to the test with three separate loads of laundry. All three loads would be put on the same temperature and amount of time, so I could get a good feel for how far these things could really go.
The first was a relatively small load of clothes. The second was a large load of clothes and bedsheets, and the third was the biggest test of drying our massive king-sized down comforter. I also put about 10 drops of essential oils on each ball to see if I could actually add some scent to my clothes.
I used lavender on the purple balls, peppermint on the blue ones, and frankincense on the red ones. All of my essential oils are from Rocky Mountain Oils! They are truly an amazing company that actually cares for their customers and their education on essential oil use. You can read my in-depth Rocky Mountain Oils review if you want to learn more about this amazing company.
Small Load of Clothes
Overall, I was very impressed with this first round! The clothes came out at just the right amount of warm and dry. Everything felt softer, and the static was nonexistent! The scent from the essential oils definitely made my dryer smell heavenly. But did it stick to the clothes? Not really.
I noticed that some clothes had a slight scent, while others had none at all. But I’m not mad about the spontaneous aromatherapy session I had while I switched loads. These homemade dryer balls were actually living up to expectation! But could they handle a larger load?
Large Load of Clothes and Bedsheets
This load was very similar to the smaller one, with the only difference being that I had all of my bedsheets in there too. One of my biggest pet peeves in laundry is when the bedsheets get tangled up in a massive know and take forever to dry.
The dryer balls prevented that from happening perfectly! I couldn’t find any trace of a knot forming from the bedsheets, and they dried very evenly. There was no static, and no scent on the clothes this time. I still got some aromatherapy when I took out the load, but it wasn’t as strong as the first time.
King-Sized Down Comforter
Honestly, I would have been very impressed if these things were able to dry our comforter in one cycle. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It’s so incredibly thick that I usually have to take it out and rotate how I put it in so that it dries evenly.
Like I said earlier, our comforter is huge and very thick. I literally have to stuff it in our washer and dryer. So when I pulled it out, I noticed that the center of the wad was still pretty damp. It was definitely much dryer than it usually comes out, but not quite up to par.
I think that because this comforter is so big and takes up so much space, there’s only so far the dryer balls can go. The scent from the essential oils was almost gone as well. Overall, it definitely helped dry the comforter, but it wasn’t quite enough. I’ll take any help I can get with drying this monster, though!
So, Do Dryer Balls Really Work?
Yes! Yes they do! These little balls of wool should be a staple in every laundry room. Just make sure that there is plenty of room for the balls to bounce around, so they can properly do their job. They have to be able to fluff up and circulate the hot air in the dryer in order to work.
You can even go the extra mile of adding about 10 drops of your favorite essential oils to the balls every few loads. Click here to check out essential oils from Rocky Mountain Oils! It didn’t work as well as I thought, but I won’t say no to a spontaneous aromatherapy session.
Now that I’ve been using wool dryer balls regularly, my clothes have little to no static, they feel softer, and I rest easier that my clothes aren’t riddled with remnants of toxic chemicals! If you’re looking to be more sustainable, or help with sensitive, you absolutely need dryer balls in your laundry routine!
I’d love to hear from others who use dryer balls! Or any other laundry hacks for that matter. Leave a comment down below!
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DIY Wool Dryer Balls