Laundry. With three boys the amount of laundry we go through around here can be a little ridiculous most weeks. Just ask Mr. Claire. He’s our laundry Commander-In-Chief. 😉
We certainly try to cut back where we can – like making sure to use bath towels more than once (you’re clean when you dry off, right??) and if something is worn briefly and not dirty, it doesn’t always need to be washed right away.
However, unlike us ladies that can maybe wear a certain top or sweater or even jeans for a night out, etc. and not need to wash them after Every. Single. Wear. the reality is that our little guys play hard so their clothes regularly get sweaty and dirty annnnd they pretty much have to be washed. A lot.
Washing and drying is really hard on clothes, too. We hang-dry a lot of things but as for the rest? We tumble-dry them and that is a LOT of electricity usage over the course of a year.
I made these DIY Wool Dryer Balls in an effort to cut back on drying time AND we don’t want to use dryer sheets anymore. Not only are they a complete waste of money and bad for the environment, they also contain a bunch of toxic chemicals I’d rather not have in our laundry.
And that’s just one article about it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was raised running around outside in the back yard drinking water out of the garden hose and nobody was talking about all of these sorts of things anyway.
It was all peace, love and happiness. Oh, and the kids were mostly not wearing seat belts either.
Fast forward 40 something years and, while I am sure our kids probably still have cleaner tap water than most of the world, I’d still at least like to eliminate added costs, waste and toxic chemicals whenever I can.
Benefits Of Using Wool Dryer Balls
- Wool dryer balls can last for many years – an easy, low cost investment.
- Wool dryer balls can cut your drying time in half. Less electricity = less $$ out of pocket.
- Wool dryer balls help fluff your clothing naturally and soak up added moisture.
- As opposed to store bought fabric sheets, wool dryer balls don’t have ANY added chemicals. Period.
- Adding a couple of drops of high quality essential oil to wool dryer balls will freshen your clothing naturally.
I found a TON of options for wool dryer balls online from making your own to just buying them ready made.
Supplies you will need:
- 100% Wool Yarn (NOT machine washable)
- Panty hose (I used dollar store knee highs and only used 1 of the 4 in the pack)
- Kitchen twine, string or regular yarn
- A Crochet Hook is helpful to pull through the end but I didn’t have one. I am getting one for next time, though.
I made six that are tennis ball sized and in the end it only took about ten minutes per ball to make – that was easy to do while Mr. Claire and I watched a show.
- Wrap the wool about 10 times around your first two fingers
- Pinch it in the middle as you slide it off your fingers, turn and then wrap it around another 10 times like a bow, tucking in the “tail” of the wool.
- Turn again and keep repeating until a small ball starts to form.
- You start to get the feel of it as you go. I just kept turning the ball slightly after every few wraps keeping my thumb tightly pressed on the part I just wrapped.
- Once the ball is at the desired size, cut the ball loose from the skein of wool leaving a 4 – 6 inch “tail”.
- Using your fingers (or a crochet hook) pull the tail end through a tightly wound piece a little deeper in on the ball and continue to do this through various pieces until the last “tail” of the yarn can be tucked in.
For me, each skein of wool made two tennis sized balls and one golf sized ball (Littlest happily made those once I started him off).
- Once all of your balls are made you want to tuck them inside the pantyhose. Like I mentioned, one knee high fit 6 balls perfectly.
- Using the string or twine (NOT more wool because it will felt in the washer and dryer) tightly tie off a double knot between each ball so they aren’t touching.
- Throw the “chain of balls” into the washer on HOT with a load of towels, etc. My wool did not bleed but to be safe you could just do a load of dark clothes you don’t mind drying.
- Once washed, throw it all in the dryer on HIGH heat.
After 2-3 wash and dry cycles your dryer balls will be perfectly felted and will not come unraveled so they are ready to go. Carefully use scissors to cut the pantyhose between each ball and release. The wool will stick to the panty hose a little bit – no worries.
Using Your Dryer Balls: No more need for washing them, simply throw 4-6 dryer balls in with each drying cycle depending on the size of your load. You can store your pretty dryer balls in a bowl or even just in the dryer.
Hope you have a chance to try these out! If you have any questions, be sure to let me know in the comments below. Also you can find out more about our favorite essential oils and how we use them here.
Claire is a wife and busy working Mom to three boys and A Little CLAIREification is a lifestyle blog committed to bringing readers “Bright Ideas On A Budget” – from recipes, crafts and DIY projects to time management tips, meal planning and inspiration.
A self proclaimed CHEESE addict and lover of Sharpie markers in every color known to man, Claire also likes to throw a little fun and laughter in the mix as well.