Now that I have shared with you what I use for fabric softener, I’ll reveal what I use in place of dryer sheets!
You are all on the edge of your seats, I know.
It’s dryer balls!
Dryer balls fluff laundry as it tumble dries, reducing drying time and making your clothes feel soft and fluffy without leaving a skin-irritating film on your clothes. You may have heard a tip to toss tennis balls into the dryer or you may have seen dryer balls made from rubbery plastic sold in stores. I prefer to avoid the chemicals in tennis balls and plastic can release dangerous compound when heated. Neither of these thrill me so I made some using wool yarn!
These are exciting times, man! Ditch the Downy habit! You can do it!
I seem very excited today. It might be the mood-enhancing essential oils, or that I just love a good DIY project. Especially one that is as simple as this one is. Top it off with not spending four bucks for a box of dryer sheets and I’m downright giddy!
Here’s what you need:
100% wool yarn
If you have wool yarn leftover from the scarf you knitted Aunt Suzy, now is the time to gather up all your scraps. The only catch is, it must be 100% wool yarn. No substitutes. Sorry, on this I must be a stickler. The point is, we will wash and dry and agitate the heck out of these wool fibers to make them lock together and become one with each other. This beautiful process is also known as felting. It’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to garment care instructions and put the lovely sweater you received as a Christmas gift through the washer and dryer only to realize your mistake when you pull out what looks to be a doll sweater. Then you look around with a puzzled expression wondering how a doll sweater made its way into your load of laundry until the sweater begins to look vaguely familiar and it hits you what you have done.
Take your yarn and wind it into a tight ball about the size of a baseball. You can go with tennis ball size or even softball if that’s your game, but I did baseball size and it seems to work just fine.
When you have the size you prefer, pull the tail through many layers using a crochet hook. Tuck the tail deep into the ball to completely secure.
You can make as many as you would like. Three seemed like a good number to me because I ran out of yarn after the third one. Three was meant to be.
Now, raid your drawer for some pantyhose. I happened to have a perfectly good pair of suntan colored hosiery hanging around for more than a decade because I’m too pasty to pull off “suntan” without looking like I’m part oompa loompa and also, I despise wearing pantyhose. Use whatever you have, folks!
Cut a leg off the pantyhose and shove one ball into the foot. Tie and knot and put in the next ball. Keep going until all your yarn ball are in the hose with knots in between and at the end.
Now it’s time to wash a load of laundry. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? Towels or sheets are good choices because you want to wash this load on HOT and EXTRA HEAVY or whatever cycle is the most brutal on your washing machine.
After washing, throw the load of laundry into the dryer, yarn balls and all. Don’t take them out of the pantyhose just yet. Use the highest heat setting o your dryer.
When the drying cycle is complete, snip away the pantyhose from the yarn balls.
We are almost there!
Take your essential oils of choice. Lavender lemon is lovely, but you can do whatever you want. I’m flexible. If you are having a difficult time deciding which oils to use, this chart may help.
Apply 10-20 drops on each ball, until desired strength is achieved. This may take a few tries to get it right. I have noticed that 20 drops per ball is enough to leave a pleasant scent in the dry laundry.
Now they are ready to use!
We are a family of six, so laundry is an everyday occurrence. When not in use, I just leave the balls in the dryer. If you prefer to contain the scent longer, store them in a glass jar with a lid until ready to use.
If you’re anything like me, you will toss these into the dryer with your wet laundry and immediately reach up to grab a dryer sheet. Talk about a habit!