If you are looking for an alternative to standard dryer sheet and fabric softeners, let me introduce you to these hard workers, the dryer balls.
Not only are they economical, you can use the same set for years to come, they can be even nicer to your wallet if you give making your own a try.
Dryer balls perform much of the same duties your dryer sheets do, but without coating your clothes in those pesky toxins. They improving drying times (less power used!) and soften clothes by gently bouncing off fabrics. And if you like your laundry to have a scent, you can add your favorite Young Living essential oil to them too.
To create your own takes two supplies and a car ride worth of time to make them. Yep, that’s right, a car ride. I like to multi-task to get things done, and I think car rides around town with the hubs and kiddos is the perfect time for these types of projects. I throw my yarn, scissors and needle in a little tote and off we go.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
1 large skein of 100% wool yarn
1 pair of pantyhose
1 yarn needle (optional)
It is important that you use 100% wool yarn that is not washable. You will need your balls to felt and it won’t felt properly if you use a different material or even washable wool. I waited until a week Joann’s had a 50% off coupon, but you can get your yarn anywhere. Also, choose whatever color you like. I went with neutral, but if colors are what will help you get pumped about doing laundry then give those a go. Just make sure your selection doesn’t bleed before trying it with your laundry.
The pantyhose will be used during the felting process. Again you can get these anywhere, but the dollar store in my area sells them and I’ve actually had great luck finding brand new pairs still in their package from Target in the overstock area of my Goodwill for .19 – .30 cents.
Now that you’ve gotten your supplies together, let’s get started making them!
Find the end of your skein and pull your yarn out. Take your yarn and wrap it around two of your fingers about 10 times.
Now slip that off your fingers and wrap the yarn around the center of your ring a few times, so it now looks like a bow.
Then fold your two pieces over to start the beginning form of your ball.
And start wrapping your yarn around until you get the size ball you want.
My balls are slightly larger than tennis balls and I have six in my dryer. I think most packs you buy come with three. I’m working under the assumption that the more you have in the dryer (within reason) the faster your clothes will dry. With a larger skein, 210 yards or so, you should be able to get 3-4 balls out of it. The size and number you decide to make is all up to you.
Once you have the size you want you will need to secure your yarn. I tie a knot and then use my yarn needle to tuck my stray end into the ball. If you don’t have a needle, you can tuck your end under a few strains of yarn and it will be fine.
Now is when you need to pull out the panty hose. Go ahead and cut the top waistband off, leaving you with two separate legs. And then begin to fill your leg(s) with your dryer balls. After each ball you will want to tie a piece of string or a knot so that your dryer balls don’t touch. This is the process of felting and you don’t want them to felt together.
Once your legs are filled, throw those babies in the washing machine with your towels. Set your washer to the hottest and longest cycle. After they have washed put them in your dryer and set it to your hottest drying setting.
When they have finished drying, check them to see if they have felted. This make take a few cycles depending on your wool. What you are looking for is the yarn to have “melted” into each other. You will know they have felted when you can no longer run your finger over the yarn and separate the individual strains.
That’s it! Now they are ready to be used! I prefer unscented laundry, but I know I’m outside the norm there, so if you like a fresh scent to your clothes, place a few drops of Young Living essential oils on your dryer balls. Citrus Fresh, Gentle Baby, Lavender, and Thieves are just a few that would leave your laundry smelling heavenly.
I leave my dryer balls in my dryer when they aren’t in use (or sometimes I find one in the sheets the next time I put them on the bed ;P). I’ve seen some people store them in pretty jars. My laundry room isn’t that fancy. Haha.
I hope you enjoy using your lovely new dryer balls!
Have you used dryer balls in the past? What’s your favorite scent to add to them?