A few weeks ago, my youngest child broke out in an all over the body sort of rash. We observed him and what he was eating for a few days, but saw no connection. We began to wonder if it could be related to the laundry products we were using and, sure enough, when we switched to more natural products the rash disappeared completely.
We switched from our regular laundry detergent to one that is all natural (a.k.a outrageously expensive), we switched from fabric softener to good ol' fashioned vinegar, and we threw out our dryer sheets in favor of these adorable little dryer balls.
Dryer balls reduce static in your laundry and decrease drying times. They make some noise as the bounce around in the dryer, but we quickly got used to it.
Here's how to make your own dryer balls.
You will need:
- some 100% wool
- a crochet hook
- an old pair of stockings/ pantyhose
- some patience
- your favorite essential oil (optional)
Start by crocheting a chain about a foot or two long. This step isn't entirely necessary, but it makes the beginning of the winding process less finicky and frustrating.
Starting with your crochet chain and then moving on to the attached wool, wrap the wool around itself to make a little ball. Wrap it tightly.
Continue wrapping the wool and increasing the ball size until it is about the size of a tennis ball.
To keep the ball from unravelling, push your crochet hook through part of the ball and pull your loose end through the ball. Repeat two or three times until you are confident the wool is secure. Cut off the remainder.
Repeat to create desired number of balls. Three is good. Six is better.
Now place the balls one at a time into the leg of an old pair of stockings. Tie a knot after each ball. This will keep the balls from becoming unraveled while you felt them in your washing machine.
Throw the stocking full of dryer balls into your next load of laundry, and then into the dryer when you dry the load. Repeat two or three more times. Loads washed in hot will help felting happen faster, but cold will work too.
Carefully cut (or untie) the stockings to release your lovely new dryer balls. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil to each ball to add a slight bit of fragrance to your clean laundry. I use lavender.
At this point, depending on the wool you've used, your dryer balls may just be slightly felted. This is good enough to keep them from unravelling in the dryer. They will continue to felt with repeated use. They will need to be re-scented periodically.
Now all that is left to do is to throw your pretty new wool balls into your dryer every time you dry a load and start saving money on dryer sheets and electricity costs!