Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY Felted Dryer Balls

This post could also be entitled [dis]Proving Pinterest.  That is where I originally found the idea for felted dryer balls. (Confession: that's where I find most of my ideas these days. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if a Pinterest addiction gets its own name an description in DSM-5.)  The blogger wrote that the dryer balls would cut down on drying time and eliminate the need to buy dryer sheets.  "Dry clothes faster? AND help the environment by eliminating waste? Sign me up!" I thought.  I ran right out and bought a skein of yarn in order to try this myself and share the results with you.


  • 1 skein of 100% wool -- yes, it must be 100% because you are going to felt it. (I used a 40% off coupon at Michael's to get an 8oz skein, which made four balls, for $7. This was a time I wish I was an avid knitter so I could just use scraps and be more economical!)
  • Old socks or pantyhose from the rag bin
  • Washer/dryer
  • Patience

Step One: Tightly roll yarn into a ball.  Remember that the yarn will shrink during felting, so make the ball a bit bigger than your desired end result.  I wanted dryer balls the size of tennis balls, so I rolled mine a bit bigger than the palm of my hand.

Step Two: Place each ball in an old sock and knot the sock so that the ball stays in place.  If you have old pantyhose you can fit multiple balls, as seen in the original blog posting about this idea.
I knew there was a reason I kept old, ratty, discolored socks in the rag bin!
Step Three: Wash the balls on hot and dry them on a cotton setting.  (I threw a small load of towels in, too, so as not to waste a cycle.)  As anyone who has ever accidentally shrunk a wool sweater knows, the only time you do this to wool is when you want it to shrink and become felt!

Step Four: Repeat wash cycle until the balls reach the desired felt level.  Mine took two cycles.

Step Five: Use in the dryer in place of dryer sheets!  If you want them to smell pretty, add 2-3 drops of essential oil to the balls.  I did this, but the scent only lasted for a few loads. However, even without the scent the laundry smelled fine -- no icky wet wool smell at all (which was one of my worries).

So, did they work??

Sadly, like most things that sound too good to be true, the claims here were a bit exaggerated.  I did not get to reduce my drying time.  However, my clothes were static-free.  That, to me, is a a win.  Even if I can't improve the performance of my horribly inefficient dryer, I can at least stop throwing a dryer sheet away every time I run a load of laundry. I'm sure Mother Earth is thankful for that, and it makes me feel like I've improved the Green status of our household, if only by a bit.
End note: Do you have an obsession with Pinterest?  Maybe we can join forces!  Click here to see my boards and start following me and then leave me a note so I can return the favor.


  1. Good try! I'm on pinterest too https://pinterest.com/apple4crafter/

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  3. Hi there,
    I purchased a set of 3 wool dryer balls more than a year ago and didn't notice a difference in drying time until I added more dryer balls. I received a pair of rubber ones for Christmas and threw those into the mix and it helped. I love duvet covers, but they are a pain to dry. The dryer balls make a load of difference (with bath rug drying too). I'm making 4 more. I know gals who use a dozen dryer balls and they are always laundering since they cloth diaper. My advice is to use more dryer balls if you want to see a difference in efficiency. ;)


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