I got tired of spending $10+ for boxes of dryer sheets that then ended up being something else I had to pick up and throw away. So, being a good prepper, I went online to find something that lasts longer, costs less, and is better for the environment (since it doesn’t end up in landfill).
The solution I found are wool dryer balls. I bought a six pack, but instructions to make your own are included in this post.
Fabric Softener and Static Control
The fabric softener claim was easy to believe. After all, I now have six tennis-ball size balls bouncing around in my dryer beating things softer. And it really does work.
The static control I found harder to believe, but (so far) it really does work and I’m not having the static problems I expect without the dryer sheets I normally use.
Neither of these are major, but I am the only female in my house. Any directions involving the word “balls” (leave the balls in the dryer when you take the laundry out, for example) leads to fairly typical howls of laughter, misdirection, and a general lack of things getting done.
I’m used to just grabbing all the laundry and dumping it in the basket. Now, I need to be careful to pull out all the balls and leave them in the dryer for the next load. Also, since our washer / dryer are in the mud room, I want to be careful they don’t fall on the very germy floor near the litter box.
Right now, I have one ball that mysteriously disappeared. I believe it will show up in a load of socks and underwear that my children need to sort. Others have gotten tangled inside sleeves and other parts of clothing, so you do need to check as you pull out your clothing.
Wool dryer balls are made of felted wool. So essentially, you start with a ball of 100% pure wool, then felt it. Your yarn can come from an old thrift store sweater or scarf, but you need to be certain is it not 99% or less wool. Any blends will affect how well it works.
Start out with a small bundle of yarn that you can wrap the rest of the ball around. Then proceed to wrap it up with the rest of the yarn until the ball is somewhere between the size of a tennis ball and a softball. When it is large enough, tuck the end through, making sure it won’t pull out and cause the whole ball to fall apart before you finish. You can use something with a small hook like a crochet hook or something like a bodkin to pull it through under at least several strands of wool.
Put the balls in an old stocking, with knots separating each ball from the other so they don’t felt together. Also make sure not to use wool knots to separate them because it will just felt everything together.
Basically, “felting” the wool makes all the wool stick together and it will never come apart again. To do this, you will need to wash the dryer balls in hot, rinse them in cold, then dry them in hot. You may need to repeat this several times until the wool all sticks together. If you can pick the bits of wool apart easily, the balls need to repeat the process again.
DIY Naturals has a great article on this, including very clear pictures and more details.
All in all, I definitely recommend wool dryer balls. They cost less than a few boxes of dryer sheets but last far longer. They contain no chemicals, and they don’t go in the landfill. And if they stop working in the dryer, I know the cats will just love them!
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