So… dryer balls. Have you heard of these things? You use them in place of dryer sheets. I wasn’t so sure about this idea, so I did a little reading. Here are a few reasons why making a switch might be a good thing for your family:
Sure they smell amazing, but there are so many chemicals in traditional dryer sheets! A lot of the chemicals can affect our central nervous system. Scary stuff. Here is a list of the seven most common chemicals that can be found in dryer sheets. If you’re brave enough to read it, that is!
There has been this really great push encouraging us to use more recyclable materials, bring our own bags to the grocery store and to opt out of as much junk mail as we can. (Now if I could get them to stop sending me bills of any kind! 🙂 )
Which brings me back to dryer balls. How do they compare?
I have only used mine for about two weeks now-and honestly there are some good parts and some drawbacks. First off, I love knowing that I’m not drying my kids off with towels that have been tumbled in chemicals. However, the wool balls will obviously not have that Spring-fresh scent. I read a few tutorials that said to add a few drops of essential oil, which I did. But I was too chicken to put them in with regular clothes because I didn’t want to risk oil marks. Our towels smelled awesome. I used an all natural lavender-a very calming scent.
I found that tumbling with dryer balls, no matter what load it was, seemed to make the clothes less wrinkly and much more soft. I’m definitely willing to trade silky feeling of dryer sheets for this just plain softness factor.
Some of the dryer ball articles said that they wouldn’t reduce absorbency of towels the way dryer sheets can do. And you can use them with cloth diapers. They also said that it decreased drying time which would mean saving on utility bills.
I do know that dryer sheets, especially the sensitive kind that I used to buy, were spendy. My three larger dryer balls cost a bit less than $6 to make.
Wool is a renewable resource and doesn’t add to the landfill.
So, if you want to give them a try you can either purchase them, or make them rather easily as I did.
DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls
Here is what you need:
- 100% Wool Yarn -Make sure you try to find something that is not washable-which would prevent the felting process. I found a skein that called for hand-washing. I did have to run mine through the washer & dryer a few times to get them to felt nicely.
- A pair of old pantyhose. I’m not much for pantyhose, but I found one of those mid-calf pantyhose-like socks
- Essential Oil (optional)
Pretty self explanatory! Start with a little knot and just keep rolling. Mine ended up about 4″ across. When you get to where you want to stop, just tie it off using one of the other strings of yard already across the ball.
Slip them into your pantyhose and tie off between each ball with left over yarn tidbits.
Wash in warm/hot water, and dry on high (right in with your clothes is just fine! Like I said, I repeated this a few times until I was satisfied with the amount of felting. And when I started using them as dryer balls, they turned darker in color and the felting increased dramatically. I’m pretty happy with the results!
Have you tried dryer balls? How did you think they measured up?