Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls have been in my dryer now for over 5 years! The reason I switched to wool dryer balls was because my family and I were experiencing rashes so through a process of elimination we soon realized that it was something in our laundry that was causing the problem.
At the time I was pregnant with my boy and purchased a bummis diaper kit and was suggested to use Charlie's Soap Laundry soap. I ordered some and fell in love with it that I switched all our house hold laundry over but we were still having rash problems.
I removed using fabric softener sheets but was finding that my laundry was full of static and we no longer had that clean fresh scent. I found some of those blue plastic balls to help with static, but they kept breaking on me and I was still missing the smell of nice laundry.
I found wool dryer balls on facebook and quickly purchased some. I ended up buying 6 from her. They are great quality and I just love them! I picked up 4 natural ones and 2 that were dyed red. The red ones have almost lost all their colour within a year. I had also picked up some scents and some of the wipe wash. I love that stuff! If you can't make these things on your own, Buddha Bunz has the best ballz!! lol
I soon learned about Nature's Garden wholesale candle & soap supplies. They have some of the most amazing scents, my favorite scent being 'I'm too sexy' but you can choose any scent you would like, they have a rather large selection. (If you are looking for how to scent wool dryer balls the info is near the end of this post.)
See the little mini balls? I made those to add scent to and stick them in my sock drawers.
Wool Dryer Balls - Make your own...
Small Rock (not necessary)
Fragrance oil (not necessary)
An old pair of pantyhose or a pair you don't want anymore.
You will need to find out what kind of wool you'd like to use. Pictured below are 3 types of wool that you can buy, the cream and pink coloured yarn is Classic Wool Yarn-Aran. The stuff in the center is wool rovings (From Egli Sheep Farm) before it is wound. On the right is the cream and multicolour wool which is Bernat Roving Yarn-Rice Paper.
I've tried to make wool dryer balls from all 3.
The easiest to use is Patons Classic Wool but you will find that your dryer balls will shrink quite a bit over time, my once baseball sized balls are now half the size they where when made.
Using rovings can be quite difficult because you also have to wind it first before using and to get rovings you normally have to buy in bulk so unless you plan on making a lot of balls this is not a preferred choice. Unless you know how to work with rovings this is not a suggested wool to start with.
I personally like working with the Bernat Rovings. You can get 2 wool dryer balls from one ball of wool. Recently I started also using patons classic wool to wind the ball together a few times, this will help to keep the balls shape when felting.
To start you can either start by using a small rock and start winding your wool around the rock (the purpose of the rock is that it will add weight to your ball) or you can just start winding your wool into a ball by using your fingers.
You will want to wind it as tight as possible. The tighter you wind the yarn into a ball the more weight your ball will be. Be careful when working with rovings that you don't pull too tight or the wool fiber will tear appart.
Make your balls as big as a baseball. I sometimes like to use a bit of coloured rovings and some regular wool yarn to lightly wind the balls before felting, using regular spun wool will help to keep the balls together in the felting process.
I like to have at least one ball that has a bit of colour, this is the ball that I use for scenting. That way you will know which ball is scented and if you do not want scent for certain loads of laundry it can easily be removed before drying laundry.
Take your nylon pantyhose and tie a knot in the end just before the toe. Most toes in pantyhose are reinforced and the reinforcement can become attached to your wool dryer balls in the felting process. Make sure to tie knots tight and that there is no room for your balls to move around in the pantyhose.
With balls tightly secured in the pantyhose, wash them in hot water in your washing machine and dry in dryer. If you would like you can add detergent to the washing machine. I added 1/2 a scoop of Charlie's Soap laundry powder.
Once your wool dryer balls are finished drying you can cut them out of the pantyhose and are now ready to use! **NOTE: I've been told that sometimes after felting some people like to add more wool and felt a second even sometimes a 3rd time. This will help reduce shrinkage over time.**
Use about an ounce of whatever scent you would like and sqeeze it directly onto the wool dryer ball. I let them sit for 12-24 hours before using in the dryer.
Want more information on why you should use wool dryer balls? Read my article I wrote below.
Why Wool Dryer Balls?
Looking for ways to be nature friendly? 100% wool dryer balls are a 'green' solution for drying your laundry!
Why not fabric softeners or dryer sheets? Both are made with chemicals that cause cancer and brain damage. The chemicals used are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. Over time you inhale or absorb these chemicals through your skin. The health effects from being exposed to these chemicals include central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blood pressure reduction, pancreatic cancer, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract. These effects may not be felt today but they will be gradually over time and children whose immune systems are still developing are at even more risk. Also.. Did you know that there are chemicals in commercial dryer sheets that take the fire retardant out of children's sleepwear?
Both softeners and sheets create waste. Fabric softeners leave residue in washing machines which can cause clogs/blockages. The chemicals in dryer sheets can coat the lint trap wire mesh causing fires. If you use dryer sheets try running water on your lint trap, if water does not run through it freely you should try to find a cleaner to remove the residue build up, I recommend Charlie's Soap.
Why not the blue plastic dryer balls? These balls are often made of PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) possesses a hazard to both human health and the environment. The idea is that you only need to buy one set so that you aren't wasting packaging and resources with repeat purchases yet they are know to break. Acceptable minimum and maximum heating temperatures for PVC are 2-102˙F meanwhile the highest temperature inside your dryer can reach 170˙F. According to consumer reports they do not work any better then fabric softener of dryer sheets.
So the question is, why wool dryer balls? Wool is 100% natural, nothing is harmed in the making of wool. There is no waste created. By adding 3-6 balls to your dryer they will help soften clothing and reduce drying time. There is no need to remove them from the dryer as they can be reused. There is no worry of leaving harsh chemicals or residues on clothing or laundering equipment. Missing the smell from your softener or dryer sheets? Try adding a scent; all nature garden scents comply with the strictest global RIFM and IFRA standards.
CBC News Dryer safety - How to keep your dryer from catching fire (Article has been removed)
Ezine Articles The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets