You might think this is just the craziest thing ever – but hear me out before you judge!
Several months ago after posting my recipe for DIY 5 ingredient laundry detergent, a friend commented about how she wanted to stop using dryer sheets because of all the chemicals that leaked onto clothing.
Hmmmm, I hadn’t thought about that before. We have ALWAYS used dryer sheets. Mainly because my family used them when I was growing up and they tend to make our clothes softer and less staticy. I can’t STAND stiff clothes or static electricity!!!
But, yes – I’m sure there are lots of chemicals in those little papers that leak out onto our clothes and I wonder what we could use instead of the dryer sheets? Not to mention, those things are super expensive!!
A week or so later, this email landed in my inbox:
WOW! I was super intrigued to read more about these DIY natural felted wool dryer balls. Maybe this was my answer to no more dryer sheets!
I love the how-to details given in the article – and if you’re serious about less chemicals and cheaper alternatives to dryer sheets, you should definitely go read the entire article when you have a moment.
The reasons I’m switching to dryer balls and never buying dryer sheets again:
- all natural, no chemicals
- reduces dryer time (you need to have at least 5-6 felt wool balls and they need to be softball size or larger)
- softer laundry – most people add drops of essential oil to their dryer balls before throwing them in with the clothes
- adding a safety pin or two to your dryer balls will naturally reduce static; also using a spray bottle with vinegar and spraying down your clothes as you load the dryer helps with freshness and static
Back to our story – we had at least 2 boxes full of dryer sheets in our cabinet that needed to be used and I decided against being wasteful. We’re finally down to the last 5 or so sheets and yesterday I headed to the craft store to get my supplies.
First stop: Hobby Lobby (because hello, this is my all time favorite craft store).
I am still in shock that the lady at the counter looked at me like I had 3 heads when I asked where they kept the 100% wool yarn. “Oh, we don’t have that.”
Oh, Hobby Lobby, thou hast let me down.
Next, I headed across the street to Michael’s. They had 100% wool – but only the worsted kind. The article specifically says that the roving wool is easier to work with. I grabbed one of the worsted yarns anyways, just in case I couldn’t get my hands on the right one. I was determined to make this work because I refuse to buy any more dryer sheets.
Lastly, I pulled into JoAnn’s on my way home and HALLELUJAH – they had it!!
I decided to try each yarn for myself and see what I liked more.
This was my view as the National College Football Championship began:
Aren’t they just the cutest??? My boys. Brian looks thrilled, doesn’t he?
We put Brock to bed and then I grabbed my yarn.
It’s simple – you start rolling to make a ball and just keep rolling. Kind of like Dory, “Just keep swimming…just keep rolling…”
I figured out real quick that rolling a tiny ball HURTS YOUR HANDS. I grabbed a knitting needle and poked it through so I could manage better without the awful pain.
The key is to wrap the yarn as tightly as you possibly can. Take your time because the faster you go, the sloppier you’ll get.
Before I knew it, I had finished an entire ball!
To finish it off, I used that smaller crochet hook to pull the end of the yarn through the ball several times.
And if you’re wondering – WHY on earth does Starr have a crochet needle??? HA! I used it to get my Invisalign braces out for like 3 years straight!! Like I know how to crochet!!!
On to the roving wool next.
Ummm, people – HEAR ME OUT! Get the ROVING wool.
It took half the time to wrap the roving than it did the worsted. It is a larger thread and wraps so much quicker. I actually had time to do 2 of them!
Each of these wool dryer balls are about softball size and took 1 entire spool of yarn to make. Be sure to use a coupon when buying the yarn – all of the major craft stores have them every week. If you wanted to be super resourceful and save money, you could start the middle of your ball with scraps of 100% wool from an old sweater. I tried to find one at Goodwill, but had no luck. But I did find silver trays, hahah!
You may think you’re all finished, but unfortunately no.
Step 2 in making your dryer balls is the process of felting the wool.
For us non-sewers (is that even a word – haha), felting is basically the process of making the wool stick together so it won’t unravel.
Once they are properly felted, they shouldn’t unravel and you’ll have dryer balls that last for YEARS!!
All you need is an old pair of panty hose (or a long sock will do if you don’t have any hosiery laying around like me).
Cut the leg off and drop one of the balls inside. Tie off the hose with NON-WOOL yarn (wool yarn will stick to the hose and you don’t want that). Then, add another ball and tie it off. Then, another.
Throw the dryer ball contraption thing into the wash with a load of towels or whatever – super important detail: HOT wash, cold rinse.
Lastly, throw the entire hosiery contraption into your dryer with the same clothes on the highest possible heat setting.
Heat is important. Without it, they won’t felt.
You may need to repeat this process 3-4 times. The goal is to have dryer balls that don’t peel apart when you scrape your fingernail across the balls. Here is the visual example from the blog I followed:
If you’re serious about trying this idea out, read the article linked above in detail. That blogger went into more detail than me and the comments are super helpful if you have questions. Someone mentioned in the blog comments they give these as wedding and shower gifts, along with new towels and instructions on how to use them.
I WOULD LOVE FOR SOMEONE TO MAKE DRYER BALLS FOR ME AS A GIFT >> right???
This might just be my new thing!
Learn how to make them, step-by-step, here on the DIY Natural blog.
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