So many commercial laundry products are full of toxins that we literally drape over our skin – from stain removers to fabric dryer sheets. This DIY will show you how to make wool dryer balls to replace one of these sources of toxins in our home. Wool dryer balls have a lot of fantastic benefits, including reducing many of the toxic chemicals that are so commonly found in the laundry room.
How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
- Reduce energy use by cutting down drying time
- Reduce static in clothing, eliminating the need for chemical-laden dryer sheets
- Soften fabric, allowing you to ditch toxic fabric softeners
- Reduce wrinkles, keeping the ironing pile down
- Control artificial fragrances, allowing you to go fragrance-free or use essential oils to scent naturally
Though you can buy wool dryer balls commercially, it is simple to make them yourself! All you need is some wool yarn and old pantyhose and then follow these simple directions to learn how to make wool dryer balls for yourself!
Important notes when choosing your wool: Be sure that you do not choose a wool that is listed as washable or “super wash” as these will not felt properly. Worsted weight yarn is a good choice. You may want to choose a color that is less prone to bleeding. One standard skein makes about two dryer balls.
Materials to Make DIY Wool Dryer Balls:
- 1 skein of 100% pure wool yarn (see notes above when choosing your yarn)
- Old pantyhose or knee-high stockings
Directions for How to Make Wool Dryer Balls:
To start your homemade dryer ball, wrap the yarn around two fingers about 10 times. Slide the yarn off your fingers, then wrap yarn around the middle of the yarn bundle. This will be the base of your ball.
Continue wrapping the yarn around the base in every direction, until your ball has reached the desired size. Be sure that you are wrapping the yarn tightly. Tennis ball sized is sufficient, but you can go as large as softball sized to help decrease drying time even more.
Once you have completed wrapping, cut the yarn, leaving a tail. Use a crochet hook or large needle to pull the thread into the ball. Trim the excess from the tail.
Place your dryer ball(s) into the pantyhose or knee-high, knotting them closely in between and at the end. You can simply tie the hose or you can use cotton yarn to tie off each section. Do NOT use wool yarn for this step, as it will felt.
Wash your newly wrapped dryer balls on a hot water cycle and dry on high heat to felt them. This can be done with loads of laundry to help conserve energy. It may take 3-4 cycles for the wool strands to bond together and have the “felted” exterior that you want to achieve.
When the felting process is complete, remove the dryer balls from the hose, and pop them in your dryer with each load. For best results, use 3-4 DIY dryer balls for small and medium loads, 5-6 balls for larger loads. You can use them as-is or add 3-4 drops of essential oils to each ball with each load of laundry.
When learning how to make wool dryer balls, it's nice to be able to add your own essential oils. If you add oils to your dryer balls, you should wait a bit to allow absorption of the oils into the wool before tossing into the dryer. Though it is unlikely that there would be spotting from the oils if you skipped this step, it’s better to err on the side of caution and protect your clothing.
Essential Oils for Homemade Dryer Ball Recipes
Using essential oils on your DIY dryer balls can give your laundry a subtle scent without the dangers of chemical fragrances. It is important to note that the fragrance will not be as heavy as that from scented fabric softeners or dryer sheets, but is so much safer for your family.
You can use just about any essential oils or blends that you enjoy. Just add 3-4 drops per ball as you’re starting your laundry and you’ll be set to go once you’re ready to pop them in the dryer.
Here are some blend suggestions. If you prefer a different ratio, you can play around until you achieve the scent you desire. You can mix these in a recycled essential oils bottle and keep in your laundry room so you’re ready to go.
- 20 drops lavender and 20 drops lemon
- 20 drops tea tree and 20 drops orange
- 20 drops lemongrass and 20 drops lavender
- 20 drops bergamot and 10 drops cedarwood
If you don't have time or desire to learn how to make wool dryer balls, that's OK. You can check out MyGreenFills Dryer Angels which provide many of the same natural benefits or get some pre-made from Thrive Market, one of our favorite natural living products shop.