Have you heard of these nifty wool dryer balls that are a natural and better alternative to dryer sheets? Not only do these balls help soften and dry your clothes faster, but you can also add essential oils to give your laundry a fresh scent without the use of a dryer sheet! Because these dryer balls do not contain fabric softener, they can even be used with cloth diapers, microfiber cloths, and other fabrics that aren’t supposed to be dried with dryer sheets.
How do they work? Basically, as the balls tumble around the dryer with your laundry, they separate the articles and create pockets of air to speed up the drying process. While they bounce around, they also fluff the laundry, soak up some of the water from the clothes, reduce wrinkles, soften the fabric, and—if using essential oils—add a lovely scent to the load. The more balls you use, the better the results (4–6 is a good number though.)
Of course, you can buy these dryer balls pre-made in various colors and styles in the AromaTools Pleasant Grove, UT store; but if you don’t live in Utah or would like to create your own to fit your style, we would like to show you how.
First, find some yarn. Make sure to get 100% wool yarn that doesn’t have any acrylic in it or it won’t felt properly. The Patons Roving Wool works really well because it is lightly spun and felts easily. (Felting is important because it holds the ball together and keeps it from unraveling in the dryer.) A spool with 120 yards of yarn will give you 2 balls. If you don’t want to buy new yarn, you can always unravel an unused wool sweater to make these.
Step 1: To get the ball started, wrap the yarn around three fingers about 10 times, and then pull the yarn off your fingers. Pinch this small yarn bundle between your fingers and wrap 10 times around that bunch.
Step 2: Wrap the yarn about 5–10 times in every direction to create a ball shape. Continue wrapping until the ball is a little bigger than a tennis ball.
Step 3: Once the yarn ball is a little bigger than a tennis ball, cut the yarn and secure the end by pulling it through several layers of wrapped yarn with the use of a blunt-tip yarn needle or crochet hook. You could use your fingers, but it will be more difficult to get a strong hold.
Repeat Steps 1–3 until you have the desired amount of balls.
Step 4: Place the wool balls in a nylon, tying a knot in between each ball. We used an inexpensive pair of knee-high nylons and could fit 3 balls in each nylon.
Step 5: Place the balls along with other laundry in the washing machine, and wash on a hot/cold cycle. Dry the balls in the dryer on the hottest heat setting. The change in temperature helps the yarn to felt. You may need to do 3–4 wash cycles to get your balls to felt. You will know when it has felted if you can’t pull individual strands of yarn when you run your finger across the ball.
Step 6: Add 1–2 drops of essential oil to each ball, and add to a load of laundry when drying.
Servings: 2 dryer balls | Time: 40 minutes active; 3–4 hours inactive | Difficulty: Easy
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