Dryer balls are a great replacement for dryer sheets and fabric softener. They soften clothes, speed up drying time, remove wrinkles and reduce static all without the use of chemicals. Just toss them in the dryer with your wet clothes, and they’ll work their magic.
I used this set for the last decade:
And they work great, but I’ve never really liked the fact that they were made out of PVC. When wool dryer balls hit the market a few years ago, I was thrilled to have a plastic-free option, but at almost $40 a set, I just couldn’t bring myself to order them.
So, I did what I normally do in situations like this … I figured out how to make my own. Here are the instructions.
How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
What You Need:
- A skein of yarn with at least 78% wool content. Avoid super wash wool and anything that’s labeled as machine washable
- Pantyhose or tights
- Look for suitable yarn at yard sales and thrift stores. I recently picked up three skeins of 85% wool yarn for a grand total of $.50
- Use your leftover yarn to make dryer balls for yourself or to give as gifts
- Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your dryer balls to fragrance your clothes
I used Fisherman’s Wool to make my dryer balls.
It’s labeled as being “perfect for felting.”
What You Do:
Create a cat’s ball, just like you would for knitting. To do this, start by wrapping yarn around your index and middle finger 20 times.
Then, slip the bundle off of your fingers, and wrap yarn around the center 10 times.
Continue to wrap yarn around the bundle, varying the direction, until a small ball emerges.
Keep wrapping until your ball reaches the size of a tennis ball. Then, cut your yarn, and work the end through a couple of the wraps to keep your ball from unraveling.
Repeat the process until you’ve made as many balls as you want. I got four out of a 6-oz. skein.
Place your finished yarn balls inside a pair of panty hose or tights, and use a piece of string to tie off each ball. (Bonus points, if you use purple tights.)
Wash and dry your balls on the hottest setting, and repeat the process until they’re felted. I ran mine through the washer and dryer three times, and this is how they looked afterwards. You can still make out the individual yarn wraps, but if you tug on any of them, you can see that they’ve fused together. They’ll continue to felt over time, so I’m declaring these ready for use!
Want to Try Dryer Balls, But Prefer Not to Make Them?
I bought a set of these Little Lamb Dryer Balls last year, and I’ve been really pleased with them. They’re about half the price of any of the other brands I’ve seen, and the quality is great. They even come in a nice cloth, drawstring bag.