How To Make Wool Dryer Balls

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls

Felted wool dryer balls are an easy to make, non-toxic alternative to fabric softener and dryer sheets. Throw 4-6 of these in the dryer with your laundry and you will never go back to dryer sheets again. In today’s blog post I am going to show you how to make wool dryer balls.

Why Make Wool Dryer Balls?

Increasing levels of toxins are being found in humans. Even babies in utero aren’t protected, in fact “hundreds of toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fire retardants and PCBs, can be found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns, according to studies by the Environmental Working Group.” source So, what’s the big deal about these chemicals that are everywhere? Not only are they linked to, the rise (and early onset) in neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also, the rise in childhood disease like certain cancers, allergies and asthma.

We are exposed to a plethora of toxins every day, and while we can’t remove every toxin from our life, we can take measures to lessen our exposure as well as enhance our bodies ability to detoxify. In the book, The Brain Wash, the author, Michelle Cook, offers up a list of 31 ways to lessen exposure to toxins. One of the recommendations is to avoid commercial cleaning products, especially fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Read my article 7 Toxic Reasons to Ditch Dryer Sheets to learn more.

If you are ready to ditch toxic fabric softeners and dryer sheets then follow this easy tutorial for how to make wool dryer balls below.

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How To Make Wool Dryer Balls | healthylivinghowto.com

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step One

To make a set of 6 dryer balls, you will need 3 skeins of  100% pure wool yarn. Each skein should be 210 yards. It is very important the wool is NOT WASHABLE. We are going to wash the dryer balls to “felt” the wool, this will not happen if the wool is “washable”. You will also want a large-eyed steel yarn needle. Color of wool is not important as wool does not bleed.

Dryer Balls Step One

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Two

To start the dryer ball, you are going to wrap the wool around two fingers ten times.

Dryer Balls Step Two

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Three

Remove the yarn from your two fingers and then wrap the center ten times.

Dryer Balls Step Three

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Four

Next you are just going to wrap the wool around and around until you form a small ball. Don’t worry if your ball is mishapen or sloppy, it will come together. I promise.

Dryer Balls Step Four

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Five

As you can see we are now at the size of about a ping-pong ball. Keep going, winding around, being sure to wind tightly.

Dryer Balls Step Five

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Six

You can stop winding when your ball is about the size of a tennis ball.

Dryer Balls Step Six

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Seven

Cut the wool from the skein and thread your needle with the tail. Weave it under and over a few threads on your ball and then stick it in at an angle and pull it through the ball. There should be a short tail that can be clipped off.

Dryer Balls Step Seven

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls – Step Eight

To “felt” the dryer balls, they need to be washed and dried, 3-4 times, inside a pair of tights, nylons or even socks. I found socks worked best as you can tie them off without any extra yarn needed. Once they are “felted” they are ready to be used (and no longer need to be washed). For a medium load of laundry you will use 6 dryer balls. Just simply toss them in the dryer with your clothes and that’s it.

Dryer Balls Step Eight

Blooper

The first set of dryer balls I made ended up coming out of my washer resembling a small llama. I washed them in nylons that I had tied off at the end. Apparently, I didn’t tie them off tight enough, as the balls came loose in the washer and unwound and rewound all around the agitator. Yikes! Made for a good laugh.

Dryer Balls Blooper

Be sure to read my article: 7 Toxic Reasons to Ditch Dryer Sheets

Click +1 below if you liked this tutorial on how to make wool dryer balls.

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Comments

  1. Terry Duncan says

    Great idea! How long do they last? We have large loads – how many more than 6 would one use? Can you use them with every load or do you need to have a different set and let the first set “rest” — don’t laugh too loud…….I need a lot of direction. Also — what if I’m still using detergent? (trying to rid us of many things but too expensive to toss…………

  2. Julie Johnson says

    I think this is a great step to rid our home of such an unnecessary source of so many toxins. Can you please tell me how these wool balls reduce/eliminate static? Do they “soften” towels as well?
    I will definitely return to your blog for help detoxing my home! Thank you :) Julie

    • Sherry says

      The wool dryer balls are good for reducing drying time. For static cling use a loose ball of aluminum foil in the dryer a lot better then the chemical laden dryer sheets. If you would like soft towels instead of fabric softener use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. No, you do not need a second set the balls they will last for a long time. I have been using mine for six months and are still intact.

      • Diana says

        I don’t suggest using aluminum foil. If you do, just go back and use the chemical-laden dryer sheets since it is just as toxic. The whole idea behind using the wool is that it is a natural de-staticizer and won’t leave a trace of any chemical or toxic metal in your clothing that will be absorbed though your skin.

      • JulieW says

        What about static cling in the rest of the house? I live in an area where the static cling is everywhere in the winter. The house, the car, everywhere. I don’t use the sheets in the dryer but I put them in each room of my house and under the seats of my car to stop the electric shock. Will these work the same way? Or the bounce bar?

  3. Betsey Nord says

    I am also curious to know if this method will get rid of static cling, which is the only reason I use dryer sheets. Here in the dry west, I can’t imagine not using dryer sheets.

  4. julie says

    I also would like to know how many loads the ball’s are good for and will they leave the towels soft? Great idea will be giving it a try, I also was told to put a dry towel in dryer and it would cut !/2 the drying time

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      I have never used fabric softener on my towels as that makes them less absorbent. So don’t have anything to compare it to. The dryer balls will last for a couple years at least.

      • sue says

        I would imagine it would be easier to use any shrunken piece of wool clothing(like socks)…wouldn’t that be easier than making(felting) new product?

  5. Cynthia Myers says

    I have not heard of using dryer balls before. Will you please explain the benefits of what they do and how long they last? I will miss the fluffiness and the fresh scent of my Downey fabric softener – is there a healthy replacement for that?

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      We have been trained to believe scent = clean, when in reality, the chemicals in the scents are unhealthy. Some use essential oils for scent. The dryer balls help distribute the heat evenly in the dryer, requiring less drying time and lower drying temp. These two things also reduce static. The balls will last several years.

      • Kat says

        Folks, you can use a couple drops of lavender or lemon essential oils to the balls and they will impart a lovely, healthy scent to your clothing. Make sure it is a pure essential oil and not just scented oils. Essential oils will not leave an oily stain. Happy laundering!

        • Sandy says

          Wow! Wow! Wow! Fabric sheets are toxic? Who knew! I will be making these. Thanks, Vanessa, for posting this info!

          Kat: Adding Essential Oils sounds grand. I am going to have to get me some. Do you add a few drops to the balls and not your clothes?

  6. Gladys says

    Oh, how I agree with you…we have been bombarded with too many chemicals in our food, our creams, our detergents and soaps…and sadly our environment.

    This is wonderful.

    I too want to ask for more details…as aforementioned above.

    Plus your creations are so colourful…does colour matter?
    Must we make a white ball for whites laundry loads?

    How long do these last?

    On a scientific standpoint…do you know how they actually work?
    (Just wondering!)

    Do the wool balls control static on all fabrics?

    Regards,
    Glad

  7. AnnCl says

    I’m going to give this a try! I gave up dryer sheets long ago but am all for using the dryer less. Now for a DIY detergent…any recommendations? Tks!

    • says

      I make powdered laundry soap, use about 2 cups each of Borax, Super Washing Soda from Arm and Hammer, and 1 cup each of baking soda and grated soap. A friend gives me leftover soaps from hotels, and when I run out of that, I use Fels Naptha or Castile soap. You can find these products under the spray and wash, etc. in the grocery store. You use 2 tablespoons in a super size load. It’s amazing, I no longer break out and it clean wonderfully! This supply of ingredients lasts me for about 9-12 months.

        • Jennifer Ankeny says

          So, what type of laundry detergent do you use? I was looking at the EWG website and I didn’t see any laundry detergent that looked very safe…

          • Angela says

            You don’t need Borax to make laundry soap, I don’t use it in mine. Just use your same measurements of other ingredients without it. I’m not opposed to using Borax, but my husband won’t let me use it in our washer machine. He super simplified it for me, because I’m not technical like him. Basically the reason borax cleans so well is that it is insoluble, so it can rub up against stains and get them off well. Because it’s insoluble it also does that to the inside of your washer and the inside of the water pump, which is a lot more delicate, wearing it down faster, causing you to replace it. So I just use fels napa or my own coconut oil soap with washing soda. I also learned from mommypotamus to put a half a cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener part because it helps rinse all of the soap fully out of the clothes.

        • Sue says

          OMG I just bought a bunch of Borax because every time I find an article on “how to make your own….” to be less toxic, it is listed as a main ingredient. It seems like every time I turn around, the things that I change in my products and food in order to become healthier for me and the environment, I find out what I am using or doing now is now toxic. I’m about ready to pull my hair out. I feel like I’m running in circles. How overwhelming and frustrating!!

          • says

            I understand totally, Sue! But even tho it is a shocker to me too about Borax being harmful, just remember, the amount used in DIY laundry soap is much less compared to regular toxic laundry detergent. Plus–now we know about this great website to check out products on our own. :) My story is… I have spent much time and research into plastics and it’s destruction on this planet’s health. It is so disturbing what is happening with our children!!!:( I tried getting completely away from plastic for quite awhile but found and it is not possible…plastic is EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING!! It was very scary and depressing but then I realized, what can I do? So now I stay away from plastic as much as is in my control, i.e., I will not buy liquids of any kind, including water, or foods packaged in plastic containers. Glass or stainless steel is used for cooking and storage and I filter water at home (I am blessed to live in a sparsely populated area and our water is top rated, quality artesian but still is chlorinated.) I figure if I can get my body as healthy and organic as possible and provide the right nutrients perhaps it will do a good job of filtering the toxic things that are unavoidable to be around and ingest. I also quite stressing over it because I was becoming paranoid about eating…now, I do the best I can:)

      • jennifer fitch says

        You can also replace the soap with zote in this recipe. I have used all of these and castille and zote work the best. by the way, save on washing soda by making your own…simply bake normal baking soda in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes stirring every five. This makes washing soda, and you don’t pay the extra! :)

      • Laurie says

        Yes! I use soap nuts and it naturally cleans and softens the laundry. No need for liquid fabric softener, dryer sheets or dryer balls (although you may use the dryer balls still if you want). I just toss a couple small bags (that come with the soap nuts) of about 6 soap nuts in each bag into the washer with the clothes and they remain in the wash cycle and rinse cycle. Then I dry the clothes without anything in the dryer. Since using these my clothes come out clean bright soft and amazingly no static. I got static before still when using liquid fabric softener and/or dryer sheets. I don’t mind not having a scent. The laundry just smells fresh and clean! I love them and I also make homemade dish soap with a mixture of soap nuts, a very small amount of Dr. Bonners Castile Soap and a few drops tea tree oil (preservative) …works great and is gentle on the hands!

        Thanks for the wonderful post for the dryer balls! I may use them to cut down on the drying time and heat.

  8. Nan says

    My dryer balls are ready to be felted, Vanessa. I have a question though. You said you put yours in socks and tied them off. Did you use one sock per dryer ball or put multiple dryer balls in a sock and knot between each one?

    Thanks for all you do!
    Nan

      • cherylene says

        Once you put them in the socks and they are ready to be used. Do you leave them in the socks or take them out to use?

          • Monica says

            Hello! Thank you for sharing the information about dryer sheets. I followed your directions, but I am wondering if I wound my yarn too tight. I am in the process of “felting” the wool dryer balls now, and they make a lot of noise in the dryer. They really sound like tennis balls beating the dryer. Is this always the case?

          • JZ says

            Monica, Yes, they do sound like tennis balls in the dryer, but I’ve gotten used to them and don’t even notice it now. Scanning down this discussion I don’t see anyone really addressing the problem of static. My husband’s work uniform shirts are polyester. The dryer balls just don’t take care of the static. I’ve tried SevenGeneration dryer sheets as they have a pretty good rating on EWG, but they just don’t do the trick. I’ve continued using dryer sheets for his work shirts only. I wish I could find a solution for the static!

  9. Judy says

    I’m allergic to wool. Can I make it with a different material? Will color of balls cause any problems of rubbing off on clothes?
    Thanks!

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      I am not sure if it can be made with different material. Wool does not bleed therefore the color of the balls are for aesthetics only. ;)

      • Alice says

        A lot of protein fibers (animal hair) will felt. It relates to the scales that are on the fiber, and how the bind together. If you’re worried about wool, I’d recommend alpaca. It might be a little pricey, but it felts quite well.

      • Anita Wallace says

        It is not true that wool doesn’t bleed! I am a knitter and use mostly wool. Some wools have excess dye and can bleed quite dramatically, especially red dyes.

    • Kathleen says

      What you may actually be allergic to is the chemicals used in the commercial processing of wool that is sold in stores. Only approx 2% of the population is actually truly allergic to wool. Try using natural, undyed handspun wool yarn. You can sometimes find it in specialty yarn shops, but there is a LOT of it available on the web. Your local 4-H extension office might have a list of spinners and/or breeders in your area. If you don’t have an office in your town, try going to spinoffmagazine.com. Just make sure you obtain a fiber that will felt – some don’t felt as well as others.

  10. says

    I like your alternative to dryer sheets. I had stopped using dryer sheets about 7 years ago thanks to my then-boyfriend (now husband). He is sensitive to strong scents and used dye-free/chemical-free things for years. I’ve been living chemical- and scent- free for a while now and notice how sensitive I get around those that still rely on chemicals for “cleanliness”. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Judi says

    I have been knitting for a few years and have felted some projects. If you have a lingerie bag they also work well to felt.

  12. Sarah says

    I love a project! What do they look like once felted? I assume step 8 was prior to washing? Also, any suggestions on where to buy the yarn…clearly I’m nota knitter!

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      Yes, however, in my experience, it will make your dryer smell nice, not really your clothes.

  13. Jenifer says

    Could I put drops of essential oils on these before I toss them in the dryer with a load of laundry to have a little scent on my clothes?

    • Ann says

      I saw a recommendation to add the essential oils to the balls after clothes are dry and just use the air dry cycle a few minutes. That way the heat will not break down the oils and will make your clothes smell great. I tried it once and it was a light scent, but pleasant.

  14. Krystal says

    Where can I find 100% wool? Everything I have found can be washed, so I think that won’t work..

  15. Randi says

    The only reason I use dryer sheets is to place in shoes, closets, dresser drawers, etc. to help with the freshness. Any ideas for that kind of stuff?

    • Katherine says

      Home Depot has sacks of Zeolite under brand name “Gonzo” or buy it & charcoal from an aquarium supply store (it’s what they use in the filters for aquariums). Odors and chemicals are absorbed by both activatedcharcoal and zeolite & I hear moisture is absorbed by zeolite. A small bag in each sneaker or in dresser drawers… a large bag in the closet & storage room & so on.

      A product my butcher uses is fascinating. You have heard of probiotics for your belly? Well this is probiotics for your home! It’s called Chrisal. Not only is is fabulously effective in her butcher shop, many hospitals and hotels are adopting it. It does not contribute to breeding superbugs the way antimicrobial chemicals do! Plus it’s nontoxic (well.. their soap is made of sodium laureth sulphate… so I use just the pure stuff not the soap mix). Chrisal kills bad bacteria by overwhelming them with good bacteria (safe kinds that naturally live in soil… nothing we aren’t already exposed to). I use it on hotel bedding & carpet (It takes a couple hours to be effective) and spritzing it in my hiking boots knocked out the stink which had gotten really bad. You have to reapply every 3-5d for things like keeping your bedding, kitchen & bathroom sanitized, because the Chrisal bacteria die and the bad bacteria are reintroduced on any air or objects that enter the home of course. It takes just a tiny amount though… you don’t waste your whole life spraying. I am constantly finding new uses like sanitizing around the kitchen taps & inside my purse or gym bag & I even heard it will reduce dust and cat allergies by the bacteria eating the offensive particles (have not been able to verify that myself since I don’t have those allergies).

      • Katherine says

        I found links for these freshnes items I discussed…

        http://m.homedepot.com/p/Gonzo-32-oz-Odor-Elimination-for-Homes-OEH26/100352016

        http://www.ebay.com/bhp/aquarium-charcoal

        http://www.chrisal.com/

        As someone who gets quite sick (sinus headaches, muddled thinking, nausea)from other people’s fumes (laundry gunk on their clothes, air scents coming from my neighbors’ homes or from passing cars) I REEEEEALLY want to spread the word on safe alternatives.
        I have had to leave the gym midworkout MANY times because of people who apparently keep a dryer sheet in with their gym stuff out of a desire for “freshness”. My friend with migraines & my relatives with asthma have problems with second-hand fragrance fumes too.
        PLEASE realise that when you choose to use these chemicals you are not just affecting your own odds of cancer and all that stuff. You are making life very hard for innocent strangers who have health issues. You will rarely get a complaint in person because those affected are rushing to get away from your fumes and can’t stick around to whine, so I’m putting the idea out here online.
        Second hand fragrance is the new second hand smoke! One day society will see that nobody has the “right” to harm others with pollutants.

  16. Tiffany B says

    I am having trouble finding wool yarn that is not washable. I was just in JoAnn’s and I didn’t find any wool that wasn’t washable, it all said either hand wash or wash at a specific temperature. Is there a specific brand I can look for, or other ways to find this?

    • Sue T. says

      Any 100% wool yarn is washable to some extent. What you want to stay away from is so-called “superwash” wool yarn. This is the kind that has been chemically treated and normally can be put through your washing machine cycles and won’t felt. Since you DO want your yarn to felt, you want a 100% wool yarn that is labeled “hand wash only”. Color is, overall, not important since the color of the yarn will not bleed onto your clothes during drying. However, some white yarns will not felt well since they have been bleached or treated to get so white. Acrylic will not felt, nor will cotton, linen, nor other synthetic yarns. You need 100% wool for this to work.

  17. Yuki says

    I have my wool balls ready to be felt. Shame on me but I have never felt anything in my life and I am wondering if a front loading washing machine will work for felting or if I have to put the balls in a hot water tub and whisk by hand. TIA

    • JZ says

      The felting process makes the yarn hold the ball shape. Without felting it would just unravel. I felted mine by putting my balls in an old pair of nylons, tying a knot in between each one, and making sure they were really snug. I put they whole thing in with a load of towels, washed and dried them. Then repeated the process 3 more times with “heavy loads” (sheets, jeans). Cut them out of the nylons and they should be solid enough that they won’t unravel. The more you use them the more secure they get. My only problem is my dog now hangs out in the laundry room when I take clothes out of the dryer and tries to run off with any balls that pop out!

  18. DaynawithaY says

    1) wool does bleed if it has not been rinsed properly during the dyeing process. Acrylic, however, does not bleed, as the color is part of the chemical makeup of the plastic.
    2) look for 100% wool that is not labeled “super wash.” If the yarn is machine-washable, it has been chemically treated to prevent felting. Directions like “hand wash gently” or “do not agitate” are good indications you have feltable wool.
    3) “goofs” like the mess pictured can be used as the base of more dryer balls. Just wrap yarn around a clump of felted fibers. It won’t affect the balls’ performance at all.

  19. says

    Wow, it’s great to come across this! We’ve been wanting dryer balls for so long and this is a great eco-friendly dyi method, so thank you, we’ll definitely be making these and have forwarded it onto friends and family as well :)

  20. Angie says

    Knitpicks & Webs are the be all, end all places to buy yarn. Your best bet is to search for Worsted weight yarn that is 100% wool.

  21. MyDarlin says

    I only use three balls and dot them with essential oil (lavender) every time every 2 to 3 times that I use them in the dryer. I love them!!

  22. Dana says

    Aluminum Foil has been linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. If we shouldn’t cook with it or wrap food in it, I would think we shouldn’t put it in our dryer. I’ll research it.

    • Diana says

      My doctor says absolutely stay away from putting aluminum foil into a dryer, heating it up, and mixing it around with the clothing you put on your body. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any scientific study in 10 years to tell me it isn’t safe. Afterall, that is what we are here on this blog for, to learn how to get away from chemicals. I never have used dryer sheets and I am 54 years old, so that is a long time. I didn’t need any studies to tell me something is laden with chemicals. We know it isn’t natural, so it has to be a man-made chemical product, more than likely a petro-chemical of some sort, is my guess. Love the site and I’ll be making some of these dryer balls for my friends and me.

  23. Lene says

    If you are a spinner or know one, you can also take leftover dribs and drabs of wool as long as it is clean and needle felt your balls then do the wash dry thing. I’ve taken bits of wool and needle felted pin cushions too.

  24. Jennifer says

    Hi, was wondering if I could make these dryer balls from freshly spun wool I know someone who does spinning I could buy before it is dyed. what do you think? I live in England and love you site its brilliant. thanks

    • Alice says

      If they’re hand-spinning it, it would probably be more cost-effective to get the unspun wool, and just felt it like that.

  25. cheryl says

    I wear a lot of black and was wondering about the fuzz that may come from rhe balls. Is this an issue or does the felting eliminate that?

  26. Kati Falk says

    I always use tennis balls in the dryer to “fluff up” my down coat when I wash it, would tennis balls work for this or do they have chemicals too?

  27. Alice says

    A friend pointed me to this, and it’s a great idea. I just have a couple concerns with the process that you outlined.

    First, the washing/drying process you described will waste a lot of water and energy. The keys for felting are water, heat, and agitation. Soap speeds up the process. If you’ve got a top-loading washing machine, the only part of the wash cycle that you need to run for felting is the first part. Before you get to “rinse,” just reset to the beginning of the wash cycle, and repeat. Don’t bother drying the balls. All that does is shrink them.

    Second, “wool does not bleed” is not necessarily correct. It’s not a matter of the wool, it’s a matter of the dye. If the dye is not set correctly, wool yarn will bleed all over EVERYTHING. Most feltable yarn has well-set dye, so you’re much less likely to have problems, but a manufacturing error can give you excess/unset dye.

  28. says

    Wouldn’t wool yarn have moth proofing? I searched a while and couldn’t find a definitive answer; evidently Mitin FF is commonly used (a chlorinated hydrocarbon from Ciba-Geigy), it bonds with the wool like dye, but halogens do outgas (slowly) so I wouldn’t want to be around it.

    It’s logical that shopkeepers don’t want to have moths and stock yarn with moth proofing. And since the FDA isn’t on consumers’ side, it seems there is no labeling requirement.

    Once I bought some ‘guaranteed’ moth proofing that could be washed into sweaters. I was pleased but the fine print said not to use it on things for babies. A phone call explained all: it’s simply a fluoride and babies suck on their clothes so they would ingest it. I don’t suck on my clothes, but heavens to Betsy, I wouldn’t want fluorine in clothes touching my body or in a ball that gets heated up in the dryer!

    Wool roving (which is used for felting and for spinning into yarn) might be less likely to have moth proofing. One could follow the same plan of wrapping it into a ball and stuffing the ball into a sock for felting in a load of laundry.

  29. says

    Thank you for your post on dryer sheets and this one on wool dryer balls. I’m really hoping to make the switch soon!!
    Thank you for all that you do and the great pics.
    Pinned,
    K-

  30. Donna Thomas says

    White will oftrn will not felt as it’s been bleached or processed to decrease the ability to be felted. Also the colored wool often will bleed! . Depending on how the dye has been treated. Also chemicals are used to make the dye. Why not use natural colored wool like lions brands fisherman’s wool.

  31. LuAnn says

    I love the idea of the wool drier balls-any chance there is a printable version of the instructions? I quit using fabric softener & sheets a few years ago & switched to just vinegar. No, my clothes don’t smell like pickles and it seems to do the trick even controlling static, however, I am planning on the wool drier balls.

  32. Aleta says

    Thanks for all the wonderful information. I’d like to make the wool drier balls but how do you get from step 3 to 4? How or which way do you twist to create a ball? Thanks.

  33. Barbara Silverman says

    When you describe the type of yarn to use, you say it should not be washable. As a long-time knitter, I think you might mean that the yarn should not be machine-washable. Just about all wool yarn is washable.

  34. AO says

    I made 4 dryer balls and washed twice and dried twice. When they came out, the larger ones smelled gross! There was one that just happened to be half the size of the others because I ran out of wool, and that one doesn’t seem to smell as much. Help! I don’t know what’s wrong! This is my second set because the first time I used the fisherman’s wool and it never felted after several wash and dry cycles, so I’m getting frustrated! A project to save us money is costing us more instead if I have to abandon this last set!

    • JZ says

      The only thing I can think of is that your big balls are too big, retaining moisture and molding. They don’t need to be huge, about the size of tennis balls. I actually made mine in two stages, making the balls about the 3/4 the size of a tennis ball, felting them, then adding more yarn so they were just larger than a tennis ball, felting them again, ending up with tennis ball sized dryer balls.

      To felt them I put them in nylons. I put one ball in the toe, then knotted it off nice and snug, added the next one, knot it off nice and snug…etc. Put them in with a load of heavy laundry (towels, jeans, sheets) and wash and dry them. I actually put them through 3-4 times with heavy loads to make sure they were well felted, then cut them out of the nylons.

      Be sure that the label on the yarn says that it is meant to be felted. Fisherman’s Wool by Lion Brand says it felts, and I think I used it for some of my balls. You are looking for the balls not to unravel, but you will still see individual strands of yarn.

      I hope that helps!

  35. Amy says

    I made these about a year ago and I do love them but they now need to be replaced as they no longer cut drying time and see much more static. Just a warning to some they may not last several years as you are replying…..

  36. JC says

    You can also make these cheaper by finding 100% wool sweaters at goodwill or other thrift stores. You just cut them into strips and roll them into a ball and cover with wool roving. Then you felt them just like the others. I will say that using wool yarn may be easier and less messy but I have not been able to find it cheap. Using sweaters they cost about $1/ball. They take longer though because you have to cut the sweaters up which leaves a fuzzy mess to clean up. But, if you are concerned with cost its a much cheaper way to make them.

  37. Susan says

    OK I am just going to say that I made 2 of these last month and had such severe cramping in my hand and fingers as I made them. Carpal tunnel from making 2 dryer balls, lol. They look so easy to make, and, yes they are, but it also HURTS. I haven’t read any comments anywhere online about this. Am I really the only person to experience this? I’m pretty athletic, but I don’t work with yarn at all. So… My hat’s off to people who work with yarn and can whip these out like it’s nothing! But just want to warn other newbies like me who dive into these projects like it’s gonna be a breeze. :-) Maybe take a few days to make each one. My 2 dryer balls work GREAT, BTW. I add a drop or two of lavender every now and then to them, otherwise my clothes smell “woolly” to me.

    • Kate says

      Haa! My hands hurt too! I made 4 of them. Disappointed with how little static they eliminated. But from reading these posts I am now seeing it isn’t necessarily to eliminate the dryer sheets, it is more to speed up drying time! That’s different! I wanted them in order to eliminate static naturally but I just took out my first load and everything was stuck together! Hmmm. Off to hunt for something else to try!

  38. says

    I used one wool laundry ball for 5 years before it unwound itself. One thing I did to save a little money was us polyester, cheap yarn for the center of my ball before doing the wool yarn. That middle doesn’t ever touch your laundry and would enable you to get 6 balls out of one skein of wool yarn.

  39. Tammy says

    When these are done, do you put all six balls in the dryer at once? Or three and rotate them in and out. Also, if I use oils on them, do I keep reapplying the oil before the next dryer load? How often do you reapply the oils?

      • Tammy says

        Thank you Vanessa! I don’t know who was more excited about these…me ( for obvious reasons), the kids ( who had fun making them) or my goldendoodle, (who stood watch the whole time thinking we were making him some special kind of ball!)

  40. Sandy says

    Someone asked what felting meant….. Only shrinking of the wool in hot temperatures. Remember when I was young and didn’t catch something wool in the laundry load and shrinking a nice sweater!! . Back when we DID NOT WANT to FELT. That is why it should be 100% wool. And why not add vinegar instead of a scent or oil? Vinegar is so fresh and not at all like a pickles, helps with setting color if you happen to get a wool that bleeds and I’m not sure about static cling but I would imagine it would help cut down on that too. Static cling depends on the humidity in your home also. It’s such a dry winter where we are we’ve not even had frost on the windshield in this single digit cold. so we notice very little static. I would imagine dark bright colors like red, deep blue or black might bleed so go for a lighter colors and the fisherman wool should perfect I would think but I wouldn’t recommend bulky wool because perhaps that is why someone said theirs had an odor and I’m not so sure it felts as well as regular worsted wool.. Make sure it’s dry and take them out as soon as your load is done. Any wool will smell musty if not totally dry and deep inside those balls and with wool it will take a good while to dry.. Lay them in the sun in a window upon a rack of some kind so air can flow under and around them for a couple days after being in a few dryer cycles if you can’t tell. Most people who knit or crochet make their skeins into balls before they begin anyway. I would see no reason to make them so tight that they would actually hurt your hands. I can’t wait to make some of these. I think they would make a great bazaar item. A big bowl of wool balls!! And I think they’d be cute just sitting around in a basket. I have crocheted for years and have so many leftovers. Not a lot of wool left overs because I try to use what I buy in more expensive yarn and yarn prices have gone up a lot in the last few years…what hasn’t?? . Thank you and I’m so glad I ran across this site. I hope to check out other hints and helps!

  41. Jen says

    I make and sell wool dryer balls and may be able to answer the biggest questions here:
    a) static – wool dryer balls will CAUSE static if you are OVERDRYING your clothes. Because they cut down on drying time, if you are using wool balls and still leaving the clothes in for the same amount of time, you are creating static.

    b) wool dryer balls, from everything I’ve read and heard, will not cause issues for people who have wool allergies – well, maybe from handling them but not from wearing the clothes.

    c) wool dryer balls do NOT work well on polyester or acrylics

    d) tennis balls and the plastic dryer balls (apart from releasing toxins) are too hard and have been found to actually damage the delicate sensors in most newer dryers.

    e) do NOT store them in plastic. They work, in part, by absorbing water, so if they are not fully dry you will get mold and cause them to being to degrade (wool is biodegradable and can be composted when you are ready to replace them). I recommend just leaving them in the dryer, or keeping them at the bottom of the laundry basket.

    I hope this has been helpful. Thanks, Rebecca, for helping to spread the word about dryer balls, I think they are pretty awesome. :)

  42. Traci says

    Jamie, the question as to which soap balls are best, I would take a look at the reviews of the products. Might help you to decide. I took a look, and noticed there were a few that were add on products at discounted prices. If you’re in the market for something else at Amazon, you could always “add on” the soap balls and give them a try that way.

  43. Christi Bailey says

    Please tell me where you bought your wool yarn? I tried WalMart, the only craft store in our town, with no luck :( I am 30 minuets to an hour away from an actual craft store.

  44. Kim F. says

    You say it can’t be washable. I just bought wool and it says you can hand wash. Is that ok to use this kind or not? (wasn’t sure if it made a difference on hand wash or machine wash). Thanks

  45. says

    Your bloopers remind me of the time I once pre washed two giant balls of yarn in a mesh bag and the zipper came open in the dryer. I opened the door to find 5000 yards of yarn tumbling around socks and underwear, and had to cut the yarn to get them free. After the intial rage subsided, I just couldn’t stop laughing!

  46. Kirsten says

    i thought it might be worth mentioning that I use white vinegar in the washing machine instead of liquid fabric softener. Everything comes out soft and smells fine! Great for towels.

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