How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

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Wool dryer balls are a super easy project. They really are amazing to use. If you are not familiar with them they are used in the dryer for drying clothes. They can be a frugal alternative to dryer sheets. I don't use dryer sheets for several reasons, but one being the cost. For me, they seem like an unnecessary expense. I'm not a big fan of things used once and thrown away (I don't buy paper towels and only buy 1 - 4 pack of napkins from Costco about every year to year and a half), I use towels and wash cloths instead of paper towels and I have my own homemade napkins instead of paper napkins for our daily use.

Back to these dryer balls. Aside from the benefit of helping reduce static they also can reduce drying time. I wasn't too sure if I believed this but now after using them I can say that they do reduce the time by anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. This has been my observation so far.

The amount of static help and time reduction will greatly depend on how many of them you use with the load of laundry. Right now I use 3 to 4 consistently.

You can buy them already made or you can make them yourself. I think they make an easy and very useful homemade gift.

Start by purchasing some wool yarn. If you knit or crochet you may have wool yarn scraps that you can use. Make sure that your yarn is 100% wool. The yarn needs to 'felt' which means the fibers in the yarn condense and press together, becoming a matted ball. If this doesn't happen then you would end up with string all over the dryer.

Another option to obtaining the yarn is old wool sweaters you no longer wear or that are found in thrift stores or garage sales. This would be more work as you need to unwind or take apart the sweaters to get the yarn. But it would be more frugal.

This is the yarn I purchased: 

It is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight Yarn (10 Balls - Soft) and I got them from Amazon. Each skein was enough to make 1 dryer ball. 

To make a dryer ball, simply wind the skein into a ball. I use a crochet hook to pull the loose end into the ball to keep it wound together. 

After you have done this to all your skeins it's time to felt them. To do this you will need an old pair of nylons. Put the balls into the nylons, one at a time. Tie the end closed. Use a piece of (non wool) yarn to tie between each dryer ball. This will prevent them from felting together. 

Now toss them into your washing machine. Wash in hot water with a load a clothes (my cat was helping me do the laundry :). They don't have to be washed separately. Then put them in the dryer and let them dry with the load of wash.

I found it took 2 or 3 washings to get them completely felted. In the picture below you can see the difference between a ball that has been washed and dried (felted) and one that has not.. 

Then remove them from the nylon. I had a few that felted into the nylon, but it was not difficult to remove them. 

At this point, you are done.. your dryer balls are ready to be used.. and be used over and over and over again! 

For storage and for gift giving I purchased these Pangda 15 Pack Cotton Muslin Bags with Drawstring, Natural Color, 10 x 8 Inches  to hold them.  For the ones I use for my laundry I keep them in the dryer so they are always there ready for each load.  


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