Make Your Own Dryer Balls
What are Dryer Balls and How do They Work?
Dryer balls are quite literally balls that you toss in your dryer (hopefully your energy efficient one) that replaces the need for chemical dryer sheets as fabric softeners. Dryer balls work in two different ways that benefit you the most. They work to soften fabric by bouncing around the dryer and preventing clothes from clumping which should shorten your drying time and therefore save you on electricity.
People seem to be on both sides of the fence as far as efficacy goes. Makers of the “As Seen on TV” dryer ball product claim that results may depend more on what is in the dryer load. They also say in the product instructions that results will vary based on the dryer type, fabric type (cotton, nylon, polyester), load size, heat level setting, etc.
People on forums that claim to use them do say that they notice a shorter drying time with certain types of loads. Anything that cuts down on drying time, saves you electricity costs and saves unnecessary carbon emissions.
Benefits that random people on forums claim:
- Reduce static created by ironing
- Reduce total drying time
- Soften fabric the natural way
- Anti static and crease
- Keep fabrics fluffy and soft for longer periods of time
- For PVC free only: No toxins or chemicals
If you’re into cutting your energy consumption wherever you can, like I am, you will use a pair of dryer balls whenever you toss your laundry into the dryer. There are a couple different product choices to choose from.
PVC Free Dryer Balls
The blue plastic rubbery looking dryer balls associated with the ‘As Seen on TV’ product that resembles the end of a ball and chain are probably what brought the dryer ball market into the lime light. As an environmental advocate, I don’t endorse these balls because they are made from PVC or polyvinyl chloride. PVC is a controversial material, in part because of the chemicals used during its production, but additionally due to chemical additives that can leach out of certain vinyl products.
For this reason I would recommend purchasing PVC free dryer balls. If you are concerned about leaching chemicals in hot temperatures all over your clothes in the dryer, choosing PVC free is the way to go. You can purchase PVC free dryer balls on Amazon for about $15 for a pair.
Make Dryer Balls
Making your own dryer balls can be fun and rewarding at the same time. It’s really easy to do, and I will outline all the materials and instructions you need to make your own. The following instructions are on how to make wool dryer balls:
First you’ll need:
- 100% Wool Yarn
- Piece of string
- Small crochet hook
- Measuring tape
- Winding the core. Start by wrapping the wool yarn a few times around a couple of fingers. Then, take those fingers out and wrap more yarn around the piece of yarn. Continue to wrap until you have a decent sized ball. Then, cut the yarn and tuck it under itself using the crochet hook, so that it does not come loose.
- Felting the core. Place the ball inside of your lucky sock, and seal it off with a piece of string. Throw the sealed off sock into the washer and then dry on high heat after that. Once it’s done drying, take the core ball out of the sock. It should be slightly disheveled.
- Winding the dryer ball. Wind the ball with more wool yarn until it’s about the size you want. 9 to 11 inches as measured around the ball is good. Then, tuck the end into itself using the crochet hook.
- Felting the dryer ball. Again, put the ball in your handy sock, and close it off with some string. Toss it in the washer and then dryer on high heat again. Once it’s complete, cut the string and take out your dryer ball. They should be almost completely felted.
- Use it! The dryer ball will felt the more you use it. Toss it in the dryer with your laundry to eliminate static cling without the use of chemicals and to reduce drying time.
Now that you know how to make your very own dryer balls, let us know if you’ve made any and how they tured out for you.
Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by The Itsy Bitsy Spider
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