Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of ... Wool??

I try to read the weekly column that Mary Jane Butters (*the* quintessential Farmgirl and entrepreneur extraordinaire) writes in our local newspaper.    A few weeks ago she wrote about using wool yarn to make laundry balls for the dryer.  I was intrigued because their intended purpose is to replace dryer sheets with a simpler, cheaper and more natural item.

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!

Cathy maroon 


  1. What a terrific idea, Kathy. My hubs is sensitive to all scents, so this would work great for him. And me.

  2. Who would have thunk it?! lol
    Let me know how they work, k?

  3. I just bought 2 of the "as seen on tv" dryer balls. They are ok but these look so much better. I like the felted look much better. I have some 100% wool (too corse to use for anything to wear) I will try your idea. Thanks, Debbie

  4. Just made a dryer ball.
    Thanks again,

  5. Wow! Who knew this would work, something so simple! I'll have to try this! Thanks for sharing this really helpful hint. I am sensitive to fragrances, also, so this will be perfect for me.

  6. What a great idea! I want to try this out. Thanks!
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  7. I hate my front load washer too and yes, I like my front load dryer. I don't like that the wet clothes sit on top of one this idea though...I'll have to try it!


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