Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

I have been slowly making our home greener which means less waste, no harsh chemicals, and less energy use.  This in turns makes a healthier and happier home.  The one thing that has been lacking in the green department is our laundry.  I’ve been using Tide and Downy (softener and dryer sheets) for as long as I can remember.  This just wasn’t cutting it anymore for our lifestyle. 

Browsing around the Internet, I found the concept of Wool Dryer Balls.  They are not a new idea but to me they were.  Wool dryer balls replace those chemical ridden dryer sheets that I have been using for so long.  I pinned a couple of reasons to use them on Pinterest (follow me for more green ideas), and I made a mental note to look around for some.  I found out that these sell for a ridiculous amount on Etsy and the ones that you find at stores are still made with lots of chemicals, synthetic perfumes, and some are even made with plastics that emit toxic chemicals when heated up!  So what was I supposed to do? Make my own of course!

Why use wool dryer balls?

~They reduce drying time by up to 25% - They help circulate the warm air in the dryer and the wool also absorbs moisture (double bang)!

~Commercial fabric softeners and sheets are costly! Wool dryer balls can last for years!

~Commercial softeners emit those toxic chemicals and fumes I talked about above. They coat your clothing in chemicals which eventually end up on your skin… because face it; your clothes are in contact with your skin all day!

~Dryer balls are made with a renewable resource (so green!)

~They soften your clothes naturally and even reduce static and increase fluffiness as they tumble away in the dryer.

~They are great for those mamas that use cloth diapering since commercial softeners cannot be used on cloth diapers.  They help keep them soft and fresh!

How do they work?

It is simple!  The dryer balls basically bounce around your dryer separating your clothes, which allows more heat to circulate.  As they tumble, the wools balls soften, reduce wrinkles, and fluff your clothing basically by pummeling your garments.  Plus, they do so much more than dryer sheets; they pull moisture out of your laundry reducing the amount of time your laundry needs to dry.

Enough reasons? Lets get to it!

Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial

Choosing your yarn:

You must use 100% wool yarn.  It also must not say, “super wash” or “machine washable” because these will not felt.  This is the yarn I used.  You can buy it at any fabric store or online.  Heck, you could even unravel an old wool sweater if you really wanted to be thrifty!

What you’ll need:

1. Wool Yarn
2. Scissors
3. Blunt tip crochet hook
4. Pantyhose
5. Cotton or acrylic yarn to secure in pantyhose

Step by Step

1. Begin wrapping yarn around two or three of your fingers about 10 times.

2. Pinch the middle of your bundle and start wrapping the yarn around the middle.

3. Continue wrapping around the entire bundle until a small ball forms

4. Continue wrapping TIGHTLY until you have your desired wool ball size (I made mine tennis ball sized but you can make them as large as a softball)

5. Use crochet hook to secure the end of the yarn under several layers of yarn and cut the end.

6. Repeat steps to obtain 4-6 balls (I made 4 tennis sized balls out of 2 bundles of wool yarn).

7. Put your wool balls in the nylon stocking or pantyhose.

8. Tying tightly between each one with your cotton or acrylic yarn (don’t use wool yarn or it will felt your pantyhose).  Tie of the end and you should have a wool ball caterpillar. 

9. Throw the entire “caterpillar” in with a load of towels on the hottest water cycle and coldest rinse cycle.  Then dry them with the towels on the highest heat drying cycle.

10. Remove balls and check for felting.  You may need to repeat the last step 3-4 times to obtain the right amount of felting.  (Felting just makes sure the yarn ball won’t unravel in your dryer).

Storing your dryer balls:

You can just leave your dryer balls in your dryer between laundry days or store them in a basket.  Your kids can even play with them (though they may not last as long).

Scenting your dryer balls:

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to each of your dryer balls before each drying cycles.  My favorite is lavender (especially for sheets)!

Tell me what you think!  Do you already use dryer balls or is this a new concept to you?

I am also happy to make you some! You can contact me here.

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