Saturday, June 22, 2013

Natural Dryer Sheet Alternative: DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Oh, Lordy-- what's she doing now. Um, I'm playing with dryer balls, of course! {rolls eyes} If you haven't tried these-- you absolutely have to!!! They are amaze-balls. Literally.

Wool Dryer Balls DIY
I looooove good smelling things so, of course, I used to be obsessed with fabric softener and dryer sheet. But what most people don't know is that the wonderful smell is actually a lot of toxic chemicals. And I didn't love that so much.

For a while, I was using vinegar to squirt on my clothes as a fabric softener, but that wasn't doing it for me. I was still always missing the fresh, lovely scent of newly dried clothes. And that is the reason why I started to look into wool dryer balls. I can SCENT THE BALLS!! {does the happy dance}

So, obviously, I'm thrilled about the whole fresh smell thing, but the more I looked into the wool dryer balls the more I realized that these balls really kick butt! They help to quicken drying times by around 25% (varies on your dryer, clothes, the amount of balls you use). That's not only great for the planet, but that's also pretty great for the wallet. {Dreams of shoes}. They also have zero chemicals so it's healthy! Have you looked at the EWG's rating of cleaning products? If not, go look up your dryer sheets. It's disturbing.

I'm lazy. I admit it. I looked online to buy the wool dryer balls, but many of the commercial brands had a base of plastic and I don't particularly like the idea of heating plastic up and then letting those chemicals get all over my clothes. Then I found woolzies, which are 100% wool, but it costs over $30 for 6 of them. But I knew that I could make them and that would be a lot cheaper. Because, let's face it, it's better to be cheap than lazy, am I right?

I bought this wool yarn for $6 and I was hoping to be able to get 4 balls, but it made 2. I bought a different brand to make the rest: Lion's Brand. It was cheaper and made more balls! It gave me enough to make around 6 balls (depending on the size). If you use that calculation then it will cut the cost to $0.75/ball which would be a significant savings from the woolzies brand.

I'd recommend the Lion's Brand Fisherman Wool Yarn 100% wool yarn. 100% wool is important so you stay away from chemicals! I like Lion Brand Yarn Fishermen's Wool Yarn, Natural

If you would rather go the non-DIY way, you can purchase the woolzies. I read some really good reviews about them so I wouldn't be opposed to purchasing them if I couldn't make my own.

Making the dryer balls is sooooo simple. In fact, it only took about 10 minutes per ball. But that was only probably because I was babbling about how I like to save money and why DIY cleaners are the way to go to The Man's mother. Annnnd... she thinks I'm crazy. {shrugs}

How To Make a Dryer Ball
  • 100% Wool yarn 
  • Panty hose
First, wrap the yarn around a few fingers. The bigger your hand, the less fingers you can use! ;)

How to make wool dryer balls

After you have wrapped the yarn around your fingers at least a dozen times (more is better), then make a bow by tightly wrapping the yarn in the middle of the string that was around your fingers. It should look like this:
How to make wool dryer balls

After you make the bow, then you grab the two corners of the bow and bring them together and wrap the yarn around them to keep them bundled together. Keep wrapping in different directions around the folded up bow until it looks like a small ball.

How to make wool dryer balls

Haha.. you thought you were done, didn't you?! 

Nope! Now keep wrapping, focusing on keeping an even ball shape. You will want to do this until the ball is about the size of a lemon.You can tuck the end of the string deep into the ball, but you can also use a sewing thread to make sure it's super secure. 

How to make wool dryer balls

Now you will want to felt the ball-- to do this, you will need pantyhose. Push them into the pantyhose one by one making sure to tie each ball into the pantyhose to separate them from each other and to make sure they don't escape.

felting wool dryer balls

At this point, it's fun to throw them (especially in pairs of two) at your boyfriend or husband and make rude jokes about the dryer balls. {wink wink} After you get tired of being obscene, throw them in the washing machine-- the hotter and longer the cycle the better. I have a sanitize option on my washer so I used that. 

IMMEDIATELY take them out of the washer when the cycle is done and put them in the dryer. If you leave them there is a chance they will adhere to the pantyhose causing you some trouble which will later lead to unraveling and loose strings! 

When they are done, just remove them from the pantyhose and store them in a container! 

Adding Scent
Natural Dryer Sheet Alternatives. It smells really good!! #DIY #EssentialOils #Laundry
After they are done, remove the dryer balls from the pantyhose and you can add fresh scents to them using essential oils. I am staring with 10 drops of both mint and orange essential oils on each ball. But you can decide to make them whatever smell you want which is the beauty of DIY!  Or you can make individual balls (perhaps with different color yarn) with different scents for different people in your house.

I use this brand of essential oils  (such as Joy, Lavender, Gentle Baby) because I know that there have been no pesticides or chemicals uses in these products.

If you want to learn more about essential oils please join my Facebook Group by filling out this form. You don't need any prior knowledge about essential oils to join or you could be an expert-- everyone is welcome! The goal is to learn, ask questions, discusses topics and find out how the oils are working for each other.

Using Your Balls
Just toss the wool balls (minus the pantyhose, of course) in the dryer with your wet clothes. I read that it's recommended to use at least two balls per load, but I use three. When the load is done, dig around through your clothes to find them (that's the annoying part) and put them back in the storage container.

These balls should last years! The Woolzie balls say that 6 balls will last 1000 loads, but I've also read that homemade kinds can last up to 4 years. If we just use the Woolzie as a guide (and using their price point), then that's 200 loads per ball which cost around $3 per ball or less than $0.01 per load. Making your own would end up costing you fractions of a penny per load if it lasts even close to 4 years!

DIY laundry is easy with these recipes! #DIY #Laundry #Easy
My Balls: 1 year later
I put mine in that bowl for a pretty picture. I don't store them like that! I keep mine in a jar with a lid to preserve the scent of the essential oils.

Wanna Go All Natural For Your Laundry?  
DIY Borax Free Detergent
Laundry Spot Remover
Soap Nuts
Fabric Softener 

And a bonus read: 7 Dangerous Chemicals Lurking In Your Laundry
Sherri Griffin
Sherri Griffin

Thanks for checking out my blog. I get serious about a few things in life: animals, chemicals, and food. For the rest I can't promise anything so keep the bar low. For more about me check out my "About Me" page! Happy DIYing!


  1. Would you be interested in selling me a "pack" of dryer balls? I have PayPal to do transactions online. They aid as "softener" right?

    1. Brent, Hi! Thank you so much for thinking of me! Normally I would LOVE to help you out, but unfortunately I can't right now-- I'm super busy with family stuff and school. I'm hoping to open an etsy store in the future, but for now I can recommend an etsy store (below) or the woolies which you can find on or other retailers.


      And, yes, they behave just like a fabric sheet would except the dryer balls quicken drying time and are re-usable. Win! :)

  2. How often do you add essential oil to your dryer balls?

    1. About once a week if I store them in an airtight container :)

  3. Does it have to be wool, or would standard Acrylic yarn work? Just asking since I have a ton of it.

    1. It really has to be real 100% wool to felt like it's supposed to. :)

    2. Where do you find this real wool goodness? My name is Lori, btw. I can't figure out how to sign in. LOL

    3. Lori, I found some at Michaels and Hobby Lobby before! It just takes some searching

  4. Could a person use cotton yarn?

  5. We have a problem with static, this works for that?

    1. We have never had any static in our clothes when we use the dryer balls :)

    2. If you have a problem with static, then you are overdrying the clothes. I made my own dryer balls from combed wool. (I met a lady that did a class on how to make the dryer balls) They are amazing!!

  6. Hi Sherri,
    Have you ever had an issue with the essential oil on the dryer ball staining your clothes in the dryer? I've just made some of the balls but am hesitant about using the EO on them...Thanks for any help!

    1. I have not. I only use a few drops on each ball and they are absorbed well into the material. Now, I don't use oils that have a blue tinge, but that's just my paranoia.

  7. Is there a specific technique you use when adding the EO? Or do you just put them on directly? How many drops?

    1. Nope! I just drop 2-3 drops of essential oil on each ball!

  8. The first time you wash and dry them with the panty hose do you wash them alone or with other clothes?

  9. Hello:
    I am interested in making my own 100% wool dryer balls. I am highly sensitive to wool and cannot wear it would it make me break out in a rash if I used these to dry my clothes with?

    1. Hi Danyelle, if you are sensitive to wool, then you are likely to have a sensitivity to dryer balls too.

  10. HI! My husband is allergic to wool. Any thoughts on what might work for our family? Thanks! Katie



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