To cut down on your electricity and dryer use, toss in a few wool dryer balls. They help reduce static and make clothes softer. How? As the felted wool gently rubs against garment fibers, they soften clothes naturally and fluff them by separating clothes that would otherwise clump together. Of course, wool dryer balls are available to purchase online or in some stores, but they are so easy to make. Here’s how…
- 100% wool yarn (no blends or anything labeled “superwash”)
- Essential oils (optional)
- Pantyhose or old pillow case
A Note on Wool
Only 100% wool will felt. Have you ever had a wool sweater that accidental got put in the wash and shrank so small that it probably would only fit a toddler? That’s because it was felting in the wash. When wool fibers are shocked by temperature (hot water) and agitation (from washing), the fibers rub against each other and lock down on nearby fibers to form a tighter mass. This is what we know as felting. Only natural animal fibers (hair) will felt. You can get roving wool in skeins, which felt better, at craft stores or yarn suppliers but they do cost more. As long as the yarn is 100% wool (any brand) it will work.
Make a Ball
Start by winding the yarn for a few turns around your index and middle finger. Then, slip the yarn loops off and start to wind the yarn around the loops.
Start rotating the ball after you wind a few turns in one direction. You will see it start forming in to a ball.
Make the yarn balls the size of tennis balls. Tuck the ends of the yard into the balls to prevent them from coming loose during the felting process. I weave it under several strands to make sure they are secure before tucking it into the middle of the ball.
How to Felt
Put the balls of yarn into an old pillow case or pantyhose. If using hose, make sure to tie a knot between each one so they have their own separate compartments. I have good luck with just tossing them in a pillow case. There’s some unraveling, but I just cut the loose end off. Plus, I don’t wear pantyhose and never have any on hand!
Toss the wool dryer balls in the washing machine and run through a hot cycle two or three times, preferably with a load of towels or other laundry. Place them in dryer with the other laundry and let dry. Remove from the bag, and ta-da! Your wool balls should be felted.
The wool balls should be fuzzy and a solid piece (no unraveling).
How to Use Wool Dyer Balls
To use your wool dryer balls, simply toss them into the dryer when you put in your wet clothes. To add a scent, put a few drops of your favorite essential oils onto the balls before you put them into the dryer. Store the balls in a bowl when not in use. Enjoy your static free, soft laundry.