Saturday, February 8, 2014

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

The Man is the primary laundry-doer here at the Homestead, which is something that I'm ever-so-grateful for. He was asking me the other day if there are any all-natural alternatives to chemical  dryer sheets, to deal with the pesky problem of all the static we get in the laundry this time of year, when all those fleece pajamas are in the wash. I had heard of wool dryer balls, though I had never tried them myself before. I went searching for some online, and found some, but I just couldn't see spending $34 for 6 balls of wool. So, I decided to make my own! I googled around a bit, and found that there different ways to go about making dryer balls. Some people use wool roving, some wool yarn, and some use both together. Since I knit, I happen to have tons of leftover scraps of wool already here at home, so I just used that. The only important thing is to make sure it's regular ol' wool, not superwash or a blend.

Making dryer balls is super easy... just wind yarn into a ball, just like you do when you, you know... wind yarn into a ball. Keep winding until it's around the size of a tennis ball, then tuck the end in.

Next, tie the balls into some old tights or hose, and put them in the washer on a hot wash cycle with a cold rinse cycle. I tossed mine in with a load of towels. This will felt the wool. Depending on the type of yarn you used, you might need a few of cycles through the wash to get them felted up nicely. Mine took three times through. Once they are sufficiently felted, cut them out of the stocking and toss them into the dryer. That's it! Just leave them in the dryer as you do laundry. They will reduce drying time and static. Though we have noticed that when we have a lot of polar fleece in the wash, they don't totally eliminate ALL static, but it is definitely much less than without the dryer balls. And best of all... totally FREE to make, if you already have yarn in the house, as I did. Even if you have to buy wool, they would still be pretty cheap to make, as you could just get whatever wool is on clearance.
Our finished dryer balls... not the prettiest, as they're
made of scrap yarn, but they do the job.
A side effect of this project? It reminded me just how much I love making felted wool things. Perhaps another wool DIY post will be coming soon... ;)

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