Make Your Own Set of Wool Dryer Balls!

I don’t think I’m the only person out there who feels this way, so I might as well just say it … I hate doing laundry. I hate it so much that the only time laundry actually gets done in my house is usually when we are totally out of clean underwear and then the decision is forced upon me. That being said, I’m all for things that make the laundry process more efficient, so I love using wool dryer balls in the dryer to help speed up drying time and also soften the laundry (the wool fibers rub against the fibers in the other garments and help soften them)—all without any harsh chemicals that may be in dryer sheets or fabric softeners! The other awesome thing is that if you like to add a scent to your laundry, you can drop a few drops of essential oils on the balls before drying your clothes and they will smell amazing! Ready to make your own set? It’s super easy …Supplies:
wool roving yarn in several colors (make sure it doesn’t say “washable” wool yarn or it won’t work); one of those yarns is enough for two balls
-crochet hook or yarn needle
-pantyhose
-fabric scissors

You’ll start by wrapping the wool 7-8 times around your first two fingers.Wrap the wool the opposite way so you have a little bundle of yarn.Keep wrapping, changing directions frequently (wrapping tightly) until a little ball starts to form. Wrap until you have a ball the size of a tennis ball. You can leave your ball a solid color if you want, but if you want to run some other colors though it, tie on another color and use your yarn needle or crochet hook to run the knot into the ball so it’s hidden from view. Pull your new color yarn all around the ball and tuck it under or through another piece of yarn when you want to change direction to make a more random pattern. Repeat the process of tying on another color and hiding the knot if you want to add a second color.To end your ball, pull your final color through a big chunk of your yarn ball, switch direction and pull it though a few more times and then snip the end off. Cut off the leg of a pantyhose, scrunch up the pantyhose to the bottom and place in your first wool ball. Make a knot and scrunch and place the next ball. Repeat until you have all your balls in the pantyhose.Run the balls through a hot cycle with some detergent in the washer (maybe save it until you have a load of towels to do anyway) and then dry on the hottest setting with the towels. Check your balls and if they seem soft still and not melded together, run them through the washer and dryer again with another load. Some wool may be fine after one load and others may take 3-4 cycles to felt up. Cut your wool balls out of the pantyhose and they are ready to use! To use, just add 2-3 drops of essential oil onto a few balls and dry like you usually would (try a shorter dry time first since the balls should help with that). Any dryer balls will help with dry time, etc., but you may want up to eight for larger loads. These dryer balls would be a great gift in a set with a few essential oils (my favorite for laundry are lemon, lavender, and rose geranium). Just pop them all into a canvas storage bag and your homemade gift is ready to give! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Oh, I’ve been wanting a set of these. Thanks for the how-to. Have you found any fabrics that should not be dried with these wool dryer balls? I’m concerned they might cause pilling on some fabrics.

    • I’ve had some troubles with pilling and dryer balls, but I can’t tell whether it’s the dryer balls or the new front-load washer/dryer I purchased around the same time. Has anyone else had experiences with this?

    • Hi Lisa!
      I haven’t but I don’t have a lot of specialty fabric items and anything i would worry about in the dryer I just air dry anyway 🙂

      Laura

  • I am loving this idea! I was actually looking for a cleaner version of a dryer sheet. Can’t wait to try it out^_^

  • This is also a great way to use up extra yarn from completed projects. (or UFO.s we’re no longer interested in….!) I made these about 4 years ago, still use & they Do work. I suggest pinning 3-4 small stainless steel safety pins to each ball…. Cuts down on static cling! I wasn’t aware of the essential oils trick but will definitely try ~

  • Love it! I have a couple of dryer balls already but once those are done, I’ll make these!

  • Are these very loud in the dryer? I live in an apartment building & I don’t want everyone to hate me if they’re loud in the communal laundry room…

  • Is this cheaper than buying a set of six from Amazon or is it just because they’re prettier?

  • Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this easy to follow post. I’ve been working on some zero waste options for my home. I was able to take some cotton flannel and make my own cotton rounds so that I don’t have to buy anymore 😛 It wasn’t all that difficult, just time consuming, but it’s saved me so much money already. I’m excited to try dryer balls to cut down on lint dryer sheets. Thanks again!

  • I’m sorry but could you explain the difference between “roving” and washable wool to the French gal that I am and who wants to use the proper wool?? Translator is no help.. 😕
    Thank you so much!
    Coline

  • I made some of these several years ago and have loved them from the start. As to what fabrics to be careful in using them with, I have found that my bath towels are leaving pills on the wool balls. I have never had a problem with the balls leaving any pills or residue. Even as few as 3 cut down on drying time. And since they are wool, the sound is not too loud. Much quieter than some commercially made “time-reducers.” If you can make these, I highly recommend it!

  • Do you need to take them out of the pantyhose for them to work? My balls don’t always felt properly, and I don’t care if they look pretty, I still want to use them. If I just leave them tied up in pantyhose then they don’t unravel. Would this cause a problem or reduce the drying efficiency for any reason?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.