Say Goodbye to Dryer Sheets: DIY Wool Dryer Balls

As the world embraces living a greener life, new techniques and products come out to replace the standard, potentially harmful ones. There are some great DIY’s we’ve adopted into our daily life, and others that have been left in the compost bin.


But we’ve found one recently that we love, and we had to share it with our ZENB community. Who doesn’t love the feeling of fresh sheets on a bed or the warmth of a soft towel straight from the dryer? It makes having to make the bed or the quick flash of cold air when first stepping out of the shower totally worth it.


Our DIY Wool Dryer Ball tutorial will keep those warm and static-free experiences while saving you drying time and energy costs. Plus, it’s super easy to do. 


DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Materials (makes one dryer ball)

          1  pair of scissors

20 yds  100% wool yarn — we prefer worsted wool

          1  crochet hook or something small enough to push in yarn ends

          1  pair of stockings/pantyhose

          1  6" piece of the yarn you’re using to tie off stockings


Instructions

1.  Wind the yarn around two or three fingers a few times.

2.  Wrap the yarn around itself a few times. It will look similar to a bow.

3.  Wrap the yarn around the bow-like bundle you made, rotating it to create a ball until the yarn runs out. The final product should be about the size of a grapefruit.


4.  Press the end of the yarn into the center of the ball with a crochet hook (or something similar like a chopstick). You can also weave the end of the yarn into several random layers of yarn. The goal is to make it secure, so it doesn’t unravel when in use.

5.  Cut the feet off the stockings, enough to put the wool ball into and still have a little tail to tie off. You can use any part of the stocking as long as the wool is completely covered, and you are able to tie it off.

6.  Place the wool ball into the stocking and tie off the end with the scrap yarn. You can also use string if you don’t have extra scrap yarn lying around.

7.  Repeat this process for each wool dryer ball you decide to make.


8.  Throw the wool balls into the washer on hot — feel free to throw them in with a load that you typically wash on hot, just make sure to check care instructions to avoid damaging fabrics. We threw ours in with our towels and sheets, but be careful if you use brightly colored yarn, as it might bleed into other fabrics in the wash.

9.  Optional: Wash them again to ensure they have felted properly.


10.  Throw them in the dryer on the hottest setting to help the felting process. Feel free to include them in a load you’re already drying — again, check tags on your laundry for care instructions. NOTE: you will only need to use the hottest setting for the initial felting process. Once the dryer ball is finished (see next step), you can use any dryer temperature/setting.


11.  Take the dryer ball out of the stocking. They should look a lot smoother with the individual yarns less noticeable. If yours looks like ours, it’s ready to use! You won’t need the nylons anymore, and the wool ball can go straight into the dryer — no need to run it through the wash.

Tips

  • You can use your favorite essential oils to leave your laundry smelling fresh. Add a few drops to each dryer ball and let them sit at least an hour before each load.
  • Repurpose old sweaters or pick some up at your local donation center to make the dryer balls. Cut the seam of the sweater and use a seam ripper to cut the yarn closest to the seam. We’ve found that the stitching usually begins at the bottoms of the sweater — the sleeves or waistband.
  • The more dryer balls you use, the faster the drying time. Some people use two or three, and some use as many as 12!
  • If you notice your dryer balls are not performing as well as before, you can recharge them by washing them again in the hot cycle and back into the dryer on the hottest setting.



Enjoy a new, greener way to dry your laundry and share your successful DIY with us and the ZENB community on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And be sure to check back for new recipes and ideas to help inspire a life well balanced.