Are you hoping to reduce waste in your laundry room? Save time and energy with these reusable, handmade dryer balls and say goodbye to wasteful, one-use dryer sheets!
May / June 2018
By Laura Gummerman
• Wool yarn in several colors (make sure it’s not “washable”)
• Crochet hook or yarn needle
• Fabric scissors
1. One 3.5-ounce skein of yarn will make 2 dryer balls; you’ll need about 4 balls for any load of laundry, so gather 2 full skeins, plus more for additional color, if desired.
2. Find one end of your first skein of yarn, and start by wrapping the yarn 7 to 8 times around your first two fingers. Then wrap the yarn around itself the opposite way so you have a small bundle of wool. Keep wrapping tightly, changing directions frequently, until you have a rounded bundle the size of a tennis ball.
3. You can leave your ball one solid color, but you can also add more yarn in various hues. Tie a new length of yarn onto the end of your first color. Using your yarn needle or crochet hook, run the knot into the ball so that it’s hidden from view. As you wrap the new color around the dryer ball, tuck it under other pieces of yarn to change direction or make a more appealing pattern. You can repeat this process with a third yarn color, if desired.
4. To finish, pull the end of your final color all the way through a large chunk of your yarn ball, again using the needle or hook to help. Switch directions, pull it through a few more times, and then snip off the end with your fabric scissors.
5. Next, cut off the leg of a pair of pantyhose, scrunch the leg until you can reach the foot, and tuck in your first wool dryer ball. Make a knot in the pantyhose tightly above the ball, and then tuck in the next ball and tie it off. Repeat until each of your dryer balls is in the pantyhose and the end is tied in a final knot.
6. Run the balls through a hot washing machine cycle, along with detergent. (You can run them with a load of towels.) Similarly, dry them on the hottest setting with the towels. If they come out of the dryer and still seem soft or the yarn strands have not properly melded together, then run them through with another load. While some wool may be ready after one wash, it might take three or four for others.
7. When they feel solid and felt-like, cut your wool dryer balls out of the pantyhose. They are ready to use on their own! A set of 4 to 8 balls thrown in with the load will help cut the dry time of almost any type of laundry. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to some of the dryer balls before use to imbue your clothes with your favorite natural scent.