My last dryer's heating element bit the dust last fall and I'm convinced that the dryer sheets played a role in that. We've since bought a front-load washer (which I hate) and a front-load dryer (which I like). But like or not, I want to ensure that they will both operate optimally for many many years. So, I decided to try these dryer balls.
The first step is to get wool yarn. Of course, mine came from unused skeins of 100% wool that I purchased at the thrift store. Wind them into balls that are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
Thread the ends of the yarn onto a tapestry needle and insert into the ball. Go in and out a few times so that the yarn end is secured inside.
Toss them into a mesh lingerie bag and throw them in with your next load laundry (in hot water). After washing, Keep them in the bag and add them to the dryer (hot temperature). You are basically felting them. Viola!
Here is Vanna Boomer showing the dryer balls. Cat and pillowcase are shown for size reference.
Some wools felt better than others. On these, you can still see the strands. But I've had others turn out just like a felted wool ball.
To use them, throw 4-6 balls into the dryer instead of dryer sheets. They really DO work! Utah is a very dry climate, with average humidity less than 30%. Static cling is a given when doing laundry. These balls work as well as the dryer sheets. The only time I still get some static is when I'm drying fleece, but I still got it with dryer sheets, too. When I'm done folding the laundry, I just leave or toss the balls back in the dryer until the next load. They are supposed to last for years. And I can live without a frou-frou scent.
I'm making these balls to sell this year at our local Farmer's Market (4 for $10). I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, why not try it yourself??
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One final note: Crazy Quilting International has posted the 2010 Purse Contest pictures. To view them, visit the CQI Blog. And while you're there, check out the wonderful CQ eye candy!