How to Revolutionize Your Laundry: Wool Dryer Balls

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Laundry Room Revolution

Why a revolution? There are so many reasons why we need to overthrow and replace the established way we do our laundry.

In this post, I specifically want to talk about wool dryer balls and how they can make your life better.

Fabric Softeners–The Beginning

First, let’s look at the long-established system we’ve been using to soften the fabrics in our lives: liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
From what I could gather through an Internet search, it appears that a fabric softener for cotton was commercially developed in the early 1900s. It was introduced to the home market by the 60s with dryer sheets making an appearance in the 70s. Now, it’s difficult to find a home that doesn’t use at least one of these products.

It Became the Norm

When I was growing up, my mom used Downey fabric softener. Always. Every load. So as an adult, I used it, too. I think one thing that got us all hooked was the smell of just-washed laundry–who doesn’t love that?
Dryer sheets never caught on for me; I tried it a couple times, but just never liked them.

The Switch

Several years ago I started using 1/4 cup baking soda in my wash to soften my laundry. Buh-bye Downey.
It was important to me to use something without all the chemicals, dyes, and artificial scents. Honestly, it works great.
I still use it, actually. It’s just that I’ve added dryer balls to my repertoire.

Why Dryer Balls?

They are…
  • Non-toxic
  • Eco-friendly
  • Reusable
  • Economical
  • Natural
  • Efficient
Wool dryer balls are a wonderful addition to any home laundry system. They’re so easy to use, and it’s one less thing to add to your shopping list. Plus, they make great gifts!
You can buy some ready-made dryer balls, but I’ve had a lot of fun making my own. If you would like to do the same, here’s how:
Finished wool dryer balls

The DIY Solution in 3 Easy Steps

It’s really simple to make dryer balls!
All you need is 100% wool yarn and some nylons.

Just follow these steps:

 1.  The first thing you need to do is get some yarn.

It must be 100% wool for it to felt. I’ve read wool batting works too, but haven’t tried it.
The wool skeins I’ve bought so far are from thrift stores. I must admit it’s not easy to find because you have to have the label still on it to know the fiber content. But if you have the patience, it’s a great way to save money.
I have gotten enough thrifted yarn to make 3 small balls and 1 big one (not pictured). I’d like to have 6 or so on hand, so I’m keeping an eye out for more yarn when I’m thrifting.
If I have trouble finding more there, I’m going to buy this –> Wool of the Andes Worsted
Yarn Balls before felting

2.  Next, you have to make yarn balls.

Loop the yarn around two fingers a few times, then pull it off and loop in the other direction.
Then, keep wrapping the yarn around until you get the size of a tennis ball or so. Repeat to make more balls.
Make sure you tuck in the end, so it’s not sticking out!

3.  Now, you need pantyhose or nylons.

See if you have some old ones in a drawer!
Put the yarn balls in the hose one at a time and make a knot in between each one (not too tight).
Throw this little bundle in your wash at the highest temperature and agitation settings.
Go ahead and throw in some towels or anything else that needs a good cleaning, too.
To get them thoroughly felted, I ran mine through a hot wash twice.
Finally, put ’em in the dryer!
yarn balls ready for felting
And there you have it. You’ve now improved… no… REVOLULTIONIZED your laundry system.
You are now:
  • saving money

  • saving time

  • saving energy

  • reducing drying time

  • reducing waste

  • reducing static

  • softening gently & naturally

It’s a win-win!
Stay tuned, I’ll be writing more about additional ways I am “greening” my laundry and other aspects of my life.
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Until next time…

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