DIY Wool Dryer Balls

In my freshman year of college, I took a Geography 101 class, which was taught by a very committed (and pushy) environmentalist. One thing I remember learning in that class is that dryer sheets have a lot of chemicals, which harm the environment and your skin, in them. I haven’t used a dryer sheet since. But I do miss the benefits of dryer sheets, like soft, static-free clothes. So, I decided to make some wool dryer balls. Wool dryer balls are a good replacement for dryer sheets because:

  • They decrease drying time
  • They’re reusable and chemical free
  • You can use them with towels, since they don’t affect the absorbency of fabrics.
  • 100% wool dryer balls increase fluffiness and reduce static as dryer loads tumble.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 100% wool (double-check the label of the skein or your old sweater; your ball won’t felt if it’s not 100% wool)
  2. An old pair of pantyhose
  3. Scissors
  4. String (I used some old embroidery floss)
  5. Crochet hook (or bent paperclip, like I used)

Roll the wool it into balls, like you do for knitting. Each ball should be between the size of a baseball and a softball. (The bigger the ball, the faster the drying time.) You should get about four balls out of a larger skein of Lion Brand Fisherman Wool. (If you choose this brand, be careful. Not all colors are 100% wool.)

Once your ball is the right size, securely tuck in the end of the string into the ball using the crochet hook (or paperclip).

Then, put the balls in the pantyhose. (Check out the old, weird pantyhose I had in my closet – I think my grandma bought the wrong size when I was 15 and she gave them to me. 33 cents looks like a good deal.) Then, tightly tie off the hose between each ball. I wish I had tied mine tighter.

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Next, wash something in hot (not warm) water with the balls. It’s OK to use detergent. I did a load of towels and sheets. And dry the balls with the laundry,too. I would recommend washing and drying twice to really felt the balls before you remove the pantyhose.

Finally, use the balls when you use your dryer. I store my wool balls right in the dryer. They really do cut down on drying time.

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Here are some more detailed instructions that helped me make my own dryer balls: one, two and three.

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