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 along with a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I am partial to Purification, an essential Oil blend from Young Living) 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



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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

  6. 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. :)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. Sheila Rylance-Perks says

    I don’t use dryer sheets anyway but I have stopped using detergent and fabric softeners. I now use ‘soap nuts’ . They are great and my detergent drawer is now free of that awful build up of slime . I will make some of these felted balls and also use some essential oils to put back a nice fragrance to my washing . Thank you for this tip .

  13. Ivon says

    I just discovered these. I did buy them before landing in your page though. (GRRRR). Could someone tell me when do I know that it’s time to replace the wool dryer balls?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Use Wool Dryer Balls – I hate to tell you this, but dryer sheets are not your friend. They are concentrated with chemicals and heavy fragrances. Simply throw a wool dryer ball with some Lavender EO in your dryer and voila you have very own homemade non-toxic dryer “sheet”. Want to make your own wool dryer balls? Here is a simple DIY tutorial. […]

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