Something New Saturday: Dryer Balls

I like alliteration…you know, when the words in a phrase all start with the same consonant. And I like to try new things, micro-adventures, if you will. So with that in mind, I’m instating the “something new Saturday” feature on my blog.

First up:  My experience with making dryer balls. If you’ve never heard of these, you’re likely thinking, Huh?  Dryer balls are tennis-ball sized spheres of wool that you throw in your clothes dryer with your laundry. They help reduce drying time (thereby saving electricity and money), cut down on wrinkles and static, and eliminate the need for dryer sheets and fabric softener (which I’ve never used, anyway).

Started with yarn:  Paton's wool roving yarn.
Started with yarn: Paton’s wool roving yarn.

Dryer balls can be made from old wool sweaters–cheaper, probably, than buying new wool roving yarn. But wool sweaters are a rare animal in central Florida, so I resorted to ordering this yarn. I picked a light color so the yarn dye wouldn’t bleed onto the laundry, but apparently there are different ideas about the colors to use. Some say to use bright colors so that it’s easier to pick off bits of the wool that may transfer to your clothes.

Skein of yarn, ordered from Amazon.
Skein of yarn, ordered from Amazon.

Following the instructions found here, I rolled the yarn into a tennis-ball sized globe. I cut the yarn at the end, pulled the end through with a (borrowed) crochet hook, and used the remainder of the skein to make the second dryer ball.

Wrapping the yarn into a ball.
Wrapping the yarn into a ball.

After that, I wrapped each one in a piece of old stocking, tying up each end so that the ball is encased in the stocking. This helped hold the yarn together as the balls went through the washer and dryer for four loads. Putting the dryer balls through the washer and dryer for several cycles causes the wool to “felt,” meaning that the individual threads of yarn fuse together. After that, I cut off the stocking piece, and the dryer balls were ready to roll. (Ha, ha.) They stayed the same size as when they started.

Twin dryer balls:  They came out even.
Twin dryer balls: They came out even.

These little fellas can help scent your laundry in the dryer, just by adding a drop or two of essential oil to each ball. I use lavender. At first, I added 3 or 4 drops to each ball–this was more than necessary. Now I just put one or two drops on each before throwing it in the dryer.

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Dryer ball success.

I haven’t detected a big difference in drying time yet–the instructions I followed suggested using 6 to 8 balls per load of laundry. For that, I’ll need to wait to get more yarn. Maybe a wool sweater at a thrift store in Colorado? Now that I tried this “something new,” I plan on making more of these, for my own family and maybe for gifts, too.

Dryer balls, felted together and ready for the dryer.
Dryer balls, felted and ready for the dryer.
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2 thoughts on “Something New Saturday: Dryer Balls

  1. I definitely noticed a drying time difference with mine – but I made six balls, and they are slightly larger. So fun! I like using lavender and sage on mine. 🙂

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    1. Ooh, sage! I have not tried that one before but will need to give it a try. Thanks for the tip. Also, when I finally do get some old sweaters, I will try and make those balls larger.

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