Save Time, Money, and Energy! Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

wool dryer balls How would you like to never buy another fabric softener product again AND cut your laundry drying time in half???

Would you believe me if I told you these little woolen gems can do that?

Wool Dryer Balls save you money, energy and time by cutting the dryer’s drying time and by eliminating the need to buy softeners. When you use 4 balls in your dryer, you can cut your dryer time by 25-50%!


The balls circulate and separate the clothing and get the warm dry air right down to the core of the laundry load! The more balls you add, the faster the drying time. They also soften your clothes through gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers. And as if that weren’t enough…..they LAST for YEARS!

I immediately fell in LOVE with this idea when I saw in on The Sleepy Time Gal.  They couldn’t be simpler to make (all you need is some wool yarn, and a pair of pantyhose) and I just LOVE how PRACTICAL they are! I actually think these would make a wonderful gift! (Making mental note.)

Have I convinced you yet?  Good!  Let’s get started!

How to Make a Wool Dryer Ball:

Start with a skein of 100% WOOL yarn. (This cost me about $5 and I got four balls out of it.)

wool dryer balls

To start your ball, wrap the yarn around your fingers about 20 times and then slip it off and wrap the yarn around the middle of that circle you just made about 20 more times.

wool dryer balls

Now pinch the beginnings of your yarn ball together and keep wrapping! Make sure you wrap it nice and tight.

wool dryer balls

Pretty soon you will have something that looks like this. Tuck the end of the yarn under some of the other strands of yarn to secure.
Repeat above steps until you’ve made 4 or more balls.

wool dryer balls

Now you are ready to give them the “felting” treatment. You are going to need one leg of a pair of pantyhose or tights. Put the first ball into the toe of the pantyhose and secure it there with a piece of embroidery floss or acrylic yarn. Do NOT use wool yarn, you don’t want this to felt.

Toss the pantyhose “snake” into the washer (the hotter the water the better) and then into the dryer (again, the hotter the better. Speeds up the felting process.)

wool dryer balls

This is how they will look after the first felting. The fibers have fused and it’s much smoother and tighter.

wool dryer balls

At this point you can do another layer of yarn and “felt” again if you want a larger sized ball. I chose to leave mine as is. Keep in mind they will get slightly smaller over time as they continue to felt.

wool dryer balls

You just made your own wool dryer balls! Go ahead, give them a spin! If you want, you can even add a couple of drops of essential oil to the balls before you throw them in the dryer. I used 1 – 2 drops of lavender on each one and my clothes came out smelling sooooooo nice!!!  I think the scent should last through several loads!


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    • Deborah Jennings says

      I use the plastic spiky dryer balls, too. I haven’t used fabric softener or the dryer sheets in close to a year now. My clothes are soft and fluffy and usually wrinkle free. (I do forget them in the dryer at times, but just turn the dryer back on and let them “iron” in the dryer.)

    • Colleen says

      I used to use the plastic ones too and still had static. Also, they broke apart after awhile leaving sharp edges and bits of plastic through the load! I got some of these balls at a fair market store a few months ago and LOVE them! No static and drying time is cut about 20%.

      • Ilissa says

        Perfumes and dyes don’t bother me (no sensitive skin here), nasty, mildew smelling clothes do though… Just wondering if they could be used similarly. You would still be saving money on energy, and have fresh smelling clothes.

        • Nancy says

          With all due respect, as someone who is chemically sensitive, it may not be bothersome to you but the dryer vented exhaust that is generated into the neighborhood and the scent emanating from your clothes can be real hardships to those of us with highly sensitive systems. I wish this weren’t so as I used to LOVE fragrance; heck, scented candles were my guilty pleasure but unfortunately not anymore.

          • Kelly says

            I thought soaking them in fabric softener was a great idea so I tried it, with the homemade fabric softener of course (water, vinegar & suave conditioner). So far the balls are holding their fragrance and I’m loving them!

            • Stephanie LeDuc says

              Try something other than suave conditioner, something more natural, like the lavender oil, or a citrus scent. The suave conditioner is also harmful not only to our bodies, but the environment. I’m a hairdresser of thirty years. I’m also a sensitive scent person as well. Perfumes make me sick, as in a migraine.

          • Mike says

            With all due respect, its not our job to make sure our normal practices don’t effect your hardships. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to your issue but the moment you expect other people to change for you is when I start having a problem.

              • Knex says

                Actually, he means “effect”.

                “Affect” applies to feelings and emotion. A nostalgic song can AFFECT your mood. Witnessing an car accident can negatively AFFECT your sense of safety in the road.

                “Effect” applies to consequence in action. The EFFECT of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment is notable. Your choice to not complete the assignment will EFFECT your grade.

                I am a mental health specialist, so it is a point of contention among us therapists when non-psych clinicians use “affect” and “effect” interchangeably and, therefore, improperly, in clinical notation since our entire field deals with, primarily, affect.

            • Brook says

              Nancy: Thank you for making me aware of this situation. I’m going to ask around and see if the Meyer’s sheets I use are irritating anyone.

              Mike: With all due respect, when someone points out how your actions affect them, they aren’t saying what your job is or trying to coerce you. They are sharing with you how your actions affect them. Someone’s reaction to this kind of information can make things clear about his or her character.

              For example, if someone makes you aware of a situation as above without actually attaching any expectations or without making any remarks at all about forcing you in one direction or the other, and yet you respond to them as if they did, well, someone might possibly give you the benefit of the doubt and think you misread the post. But pretty much everyone will just think you are a selfish ass and using a straw man fallacy instead of a valid justification for telling them that you could care less how your “normal practices” affect them or anyone. And if you didn’t even care enough to pay enough attention to their post to be certain of their intentions even though it influenced you to making it clear that you are “having a problem” with it, then it becomes further clear how much you could care less what people actually think as you clearly could care less what they’ve actually said.

              • Dee says

                I have a son who is very sensitive to scents, etc. It has gotten so bad that he is not able to attend church anymore because of all the scents people use. The situation for him is life or death as his throat closes and he can’t breath. I think we all should be a little more aware of these situations as more and more people are developing these allergies.
                Years ago when I learned that a member of our church had difficulty breathing because of perfumes, etc, I quit using them. I felt it was the least I could do — I sure didn’t want her harm her in any way.

                • Rebekah says

                  I can understand your situation. My husband has very bad allergies and we try to sit away from people at church because strong smelling perfumes give him an instant headache. I sometimes think people don’t realize how much they put on. It really makes me mad when people put a TON of perfume on and work in the nursery.

                • Angie says

                  I agree with you Dee. I get migraines from scents and perfumes and I so appreciate it when people are willing to do what they can to help me out. Thank you for being so considerate of others.

              • Sara says

                Ditto. This is very reminiscent of the peanut allergy debate, in my opinion. There are schools that have banned peanuts in every form. No pb & j or anything at all that can possibly trigger that allergy in another student. There are also schools that have children with peanut allergies simply eat their lunches at a designated table, as to avoid a possible trigger. The latter is looked down upon as ostracization, by some. Where do we draw the line, though? Must we all conform to each other’s sensitivities? How exhausting! I do my part to live naturally, but wouldn’t think to impose my lifestyle on anyone else. If I have a sensitivity, I can do what is necessary to not come in contact with a trigger. It’d be nice to be catered to, but for everyone to constantly consider another’s needs with disregard for personal preference is a little unreasonable. If my neighbor likes scents and I’m allergic, oh well! I’ll avoid their vent output area on their laundry day. If my kid has a peanut allergy, I’ll do what I can to keep them safe– without inconveniencing everyone. If I hate perfume, I’ll avoid those over enthusiastic misters. Simple enough. We should all be kind and thoughtful without expecting constant catering from others who are unaware of our personal plights.

            • Justme says

              She is not the only one affected by your choices. This article is the only one I had “on hand”. Everything we put on our bodies (other than what it does to you, personally, or the smells that bother others) gets washed down the drain. Believe it or not, these chemicals do not disappear from reality. The chemicals (perfumes, softeners, cleaners, et al.) end up in our drinking water and in our streams and rivers and other water bodies.

              So the change would not ONLY be for her.

              • Colleen says

                Thanks for sharing this article. I know the NYT is very “liberal”, so I read anything there with special care. The article does not point out that the common birth control pill is obviously one of the best sources of synthetic estrogen. I wonder how many people realize that in 2005, the World Health Organization (the medical arm of the United Nations), after studying EVERY study IN THE WORLD to that date concerning the “birth control pill” and cancer declared hormonal contraception as a Group One carcinogen, the most dangerous, in the same group as asbestos and tobacco? Use of hormonal contraception is as directly linked to breast, uterine, and liver cancer as tobacco and asbestos are to lung cancer. This blog article has nothing to do with that, but I wanted to share this link with Justme: It is sad how many people are ingesting chemicals in municipal water they would never choose to put in their bodies and that are not tested for by the municipalities.

                I thank you, Jilly for your wool dryer ball information.

            • lora says

              I wouldn’t expect someone with your attitude to have enough respect for someone else to change anything anything you do. I was exposed to black mold and it caused sever allergies. The doctors thought I was going to die when finally admitted to the ICU. I had lost about 20 lbs. and weighed 92 lbs. at that time. When I didn’t die they thought I would have to live in a bubble which I pretty much had to for years. That was 30 years ago. We had to go through our whole house and pretty much gut it. It cost us thousands of dollars plur the medical expense. I had to quit work, had to quit walking which once was a passion of mine, we no longer could go out dancing and I couldn’t even walk down the detergent isle in the super-market with-out having an asthma attack. For years I had to set my alarm 3 times a night to take my meds. Believe me after going through what I went through you do what your doctor tells you. You have no idea what it is like to try and live like this. I LOVE scents, they just don’t love me. I just got out of ICU after a 7 day stay that almost took my life once again. When I was working someone had perfume on that was causing my asthma to act up along with a migraine. I told a fellow employee I was going home and she said just try laying down for a while. After a half hour I knew I was going to be sick so I came out and said I have to leave. She looked at my pasty white face and said I am so sorry, I had know idea that it was this bad. How would you like to live like this? I have to think about where I sit when we go somewhere. I don’t go to very many public places because of the reaction by body has. I wish I could wish it away. Thanks for your understanding, it is very appreciated.

              • Tink says

                That is a very tragic story Lora. It sounds like life can be hard for you. Thing is that still doesn’t make it the majorities problem. If your health is so threatened by simple perfumes then I would suggest working from home or going on disability. That is sort of what it is there for. It would be an incredibly selfish thing to demand that everyone stop a very normal , accepted, and popular custom for the very small percentage it affects. I suppose it wouldn’t be rude to make a polite request but you shouldn’t feel slighted if everyone did not go along. There are always ways to compromise like sitting apart from the fragrant folks. If this isn’t possible of sitting away isn’t enough to prevent a dangerous allergic reaction then I would refer back to the beginning of my response. That is the way I feel about schools and children with anaphylaxis. If the child is at such a great risk that something as ordinary as peanut butter is outlawed that child should obviously be home schooled or private schooled. I honestly find it a bit shocking that parents of children in such risk would rely on the current public school systems to be responsible enough to keep my child safe. Seriously, Watch the news and everyday you will read and hear at least 3 stories of teachers and school officials doing insane things and neglecting their duties.

            • Christine says

              Allergies are no joke Mike. My grandaughter has a life threatening peanut allergy. Been to the ER before 2 yrs. old. Hard to understand that others can die if you leave peanuts laying about but try to think of others. Life is not just all about us. And…I don’t like Oprah and am conservative.

              • Amanda G. says

                My future brother in law is VERY allergic to nuts (only tree nuts, not peanuts). He can’t even smell them cooking or he will start to have a reaction. This makes it very hard for him to go to the mall around the holidays, since most have one of those cinnamon pecan stands. But does he write angry letters to the mall’s board of directors, demanding they shut down these stands? Does he go around to all the neighbors and tell them they can’t make certain Christmas cookies or dishes? No. He is careful about what areas of the mall he goes to, and always makes sure he has an epi-pen with him. Simple as that.

                I didn’t leave this comment to be a bitch, or be snarky. I just want people to understand that you don’t have to be preachy to get your cause heard. And some of these previous comments are definitely preachy. You can’t expect everyone in your neighborhood to stop using fabric softener, in their own homes, just because you are allergic to it. And you can’t expect people to stop eating certain foods, in public, just in case someone who is allergic to it might be in the area….I’m stopping this comment now, because I’m beginning to get angry, and the purpose of this blog post wasn’t for that.

                Great idea Jillee! I need to try these!

            • says

              Thanks for your suggestion. I really like your attitude and consideration to suggest, rather than like a boss tell others what to do. I was going to copy this and give it a try. Then I realized we all have wool allergies! No kidding. I might be able to find a good cotton yarn, and just make it larger. But the one who is bossing all of us about like she knows all is just such a turn off I might just not be able to help it, I may just have to go out and but a ton of those gain and purex and downey unstopables and scented thingies. Please it’s not that I do not care about my neighbors, it’s just that what goes outdoors is in such a large area there is no way it is going to add to any of my neighbors suffering. No way at all. If you saw my house you’d see what I mean. Whoever you are with the bossy not even at all suggesting attitude, I just want you to know how negativily you affect others by your bossy ways.And it might get you the correct reactiopn if you do try to make more suggestions ie recomandations rather than just telling others what to do. Ok so I am not a professional secratary. SO what? I bet you do get the meaning. I hope so any way. Thanks for the idea. No thanks for the condenscending attitude you know who you are.

          • Lady P says

            With all due respect, how do you even go outside or interact with other people if you’re that bothered by other people’s laundry exhaust and smells from people’s clothing? Really????????

            • MAS says

              My sister has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and she had a neighbor who was running a laundry service in her home and using regular laundry products. My sister couldn’t go outside or even have her own windows open and had painful physical reactions to the chemicals in the “fresh” air. She politely explained to the neighbor what was happening and even gave her unscented laundry soap and fabric softener to try but the neighbor couldn’t have cared less. My sister’s health deteriorated until they were finally able to move to a rural area. Even now, years later, she’s not able to leave home or interact with other people much at all because every exposure can be debilitating. There are thousands of people who have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and it affects every area of their lives. Until this struck my sister, I had no idea about any of this and the majority of people in the world have no clue, either.

              • ainsley says

                Heavy metal poisoning? Tried the various allergen free detoxing diets etc out there? It’s not normal to just have to live with that. There are too many illnesses and conditions that we are accepting as “bad luck normal”. Try an eastern doctor…western medicine is terrible for curing anything but acute injury illness. Really they just manage the problem and you’re on your own until it goes away.

              • Maxx says

                Yes, MAS, most people don’t have a clue, and as you can so obviously tell, most don’t care to get a clue because we live in a ME ME ME world now…..but karma can be a real bugger, can’t it? People seem to forget that their rights only extend to the point where they begin to impact someone else’s. Now, can we all get back to the blog?

        • Erica says

          If your clothes smell like nasty mildew, adding a chemical fragrance doesn’t magically make that go away, any more than teenage boys dousing themselves in axe makes the smell of cigarette smoke go away – it just compounds the stink. If you don’t want to smell like nasty mildew, get your clothes out of the washer more quickly.

        • says

          try using plain white vinegar in place of fabric softener in your washing machine. I promise you, your clothes will NOT smell like pickles. They will smell so fresh and clean. Vinegar also will soften your clothes. White vinegar sanitizes as well (wich will help in mildew-y odors).

            • Jessica says

              I have an older washing machine–not one of the HE machines. If the clothes I’m washing have a strong mildew odor I use a 1/2 cup to a full cup of vinegar. If the clothes don’t have a mildew smell to them I use my Downy ball and fill it to the line like I used to with fabric softener.

              • Shari says

                I agree, the vinegar is awesome in the rinse cycle ! I haven’t used fabric softeners for several years now, and the clothes smell wonderful. We’ve just bought a new house,(new to us, it’s an old, old place), and a clothes line is a priority for me ! I love line dried clothes ! Plus, my miniature horses love to stand/sleep between the lines of flapping clothes-keeps the flies away from them !

            • Maxx says

              I have a front loader, and since I only wash large loads, I use two downy balls of vinegar for my husband’s greasy work jeans and for towels; just one for other types of clothes. It has helped rid my clothes of excess soap stiffness, keeps my washer fresh smelling, no soap buildup in my washer like my niece has in hers, and all my clothes dry soft and wrinkle-free now. I will say when I first eliminated fabric softener, it took a while to get to this point. Since I use vinegar exclusively now, I only have a mildew problem if I forget a load in the washer once in awhile, and then the ‘rewash’ gets two downy balls of vinegar, and then it’s back to the regular usage.

        • says

          To get rid of mildew smells on your clothes, use vinegar in the bleach section of your washer. It’s non-toxic and works wonderfully on the mildew…Better than fabric softeners, which don’t take care of the mildew problem, they simply mask it. Vinegar gets rid of the problem and your clothes don’t smell like vinegar afterwards – just clean.

        • Katie says

          One thing that will help get rid of mildew smelling clothes is to add white vinegar to your wash load in the softener section. I do this with every load of towels now to keep them smelling fresh and mildew free. Also, clean your washer often with bleach and hot water. It helps a lot!!

    • Jessi says

      I am sorry to see that so many used your question as a place to bicker. You can soak something in fabric softener whether its homemade or store bought and dry it in the dryer to leave your clothes smelling nice, but if every load comes out smelling like mildew again and again you need to tackle the washer and dryer without clothes first. There are several methods for cleaning out your washer. When I was a nanny I used bleach in an empty washer once or twice a month. It was a front loader so some of the wash water lingered in the rubber seal around the door and that was the way we found at the time to periodically clean it to make sure that it didn’t stink up the clothes. Now I use vinegar in my own.

      If your clothes have been that way for a long time you also need to clean out the dryer at least wiping it out with something and allow it to dry

      if you do all of that and the problem crops up again quickly you may need to make sure you dont have problems with mold elsewhere in your home

      As for all the snarky comments, a person has a right to share their experience about how the world affects them, because those of us who are caring and compassionate want to know. Those who don’t care, for not caring you sure take a lot of time and energy to voice your own opinions on the matter, do you really think that someone who struggles with an issue that you do not care about is going to waste their energy caring how you think they should keep their experiences to themselves.

      And do you really think Jillee created this blog for you to debate it all here…

      Just because there is a comment box and a space to type doesn’t always mean its the right place or the right time to ridicule and criticize. Its still called bullying

      • Colleen says

        Well said, Jessi!
        I was so sad to have to scroll through that business while learning about wool dryer balls. I am excited to switch to them. I have been using white vinegar, one cup per EXTRA LARGE/SUPER washer load since my husband’s Grandma advised it when I first married, but only for towels, undergarments, and diapers. I liked the smell of a certain liquid fabric sofner for sheets and clothing. A washing machine repair man told me that some of our issues in the washer were caused by the liquid fabric softener. So, I switched to dryer sheets for a while, to save money, using 1/2 sheet per load. Then, a dryer repairman told me the corrosion on my dryer grill was due to fabric softner sheets! I used the blue spikey balls for a while, but had problems with static and there is no sent. I have since reverted to that old liquid fabric softner in recent years. I don’t know, I have had to wash up to 21 EXTRA LARGE/SUPER loads of laundry a week due to our large family and didn’t take time to research all this. No computer or Internet until they were all quite grown. I can testify that my vinegar loads are NEVER staticy and that I have often washed the washer out to get rid of the build up from the liquid fabric softner. But, very soon, I am going to have great wool dryer balls and be done with that stuff. I am quite excited. I am a little bit envious of you young people who can connect this way. I am here today because my married daughter, pregnant with our first grandchild discovered this new method.
        As for all the people with allergies, my heart goes out to you. I do care and although I may not do it all well, I will most certainly not purposefully try to expose you to things. I assume that you are being proactive in watching out for the danger zones. We can work together on this quite reasonable with a spirit of love. I know my life isn’t all about me.

      • Dorothy says

        If an adult makes the decision to post an opinion and provide personal information about themselves in a public forum than they need to be prepared that others will response and they need to be able to accept that not all of of the responses will be in agreement with their opinion and that some of the responses may even be negative. When someone posts their opinion and personal information about themselves and others respend whether in a negative or positive manner it is not bullying. Bullying is when a person is picked on and beat down even when they are doing nothing but keeping to themselves.

        Additionally the remark about how fabric softeners dispersing into neighborhoods and affecting the scent sensitive in my opinion was not made in a “hey just so you know” way. It was made in a somewhat condescending and reproachful way towards the woman who said that she likes fabric softener. It was posted to tell the fabric softener loving poster that she was thoughtless and careless because she used fabric softener and that it hadn’t ocurred to her it might bother others.

        It’s a shame that there are scent sensitive people out there. It’s a shame that there’s anyone anywhere out there with any type of affliction that causes them to have to alter how they live be it little sacrafices or large. However, it is each individuals responsibilty to take care of themselves. It should not be my responsibility to take on extra hardships or sacrafices just so that you don’t have to.

        • NaturalMindedMama says

          I’m sorry, but I just have to ask: since when is not using fabric softener a “hardship” or a “sacrifice”? I think you need to reevaluate your understanding of those words. What you’re talking about is a minor inconvenience, at worst.

          While I do agree with the idea that each person should take full responsibility for their own health and well-being and their own decisions (and the consequences of those decisions, be they good or bad), I also firmly believe that a person SHOULD care about others. They should keep in mind how their choices affect others, and should choose very carefully which products they just can’t seem to live without, because there is most definitely a deleterious effect on our bodies, our children’s bodies, our environment, and our friends’, neighbors’ and coworkers’ bodies. We are seeing an increasing demand for scented products, each more strongly scented than the last, and at the same time seeing an increase in chemical sensitivity issues.

          I HAVE had to completely change myself to accommodate someone else’s chemical sensitivities. I was a massage therapist, and had a client whose sensitivities were so severe that she lived every day, all day, inside a tiny trailer on her parents’ driveway. To work on her, I had to wear clothes that were hung to dry (and therefore unexposed to the rubber in the dryer seal), shower with ONLY water (to avoid perfumes from hair products) and scrub every inch of my skin with a fresh washcloth, dry off with a fresh towel (no contaminants from previous showers), use a special hairbrush to avoid cross-contamination from the brush I used after soap showers, skip brushing my teeth and applying deodorant and makeup, eat absolutely NO dairy products for breakfast that morning, arrive early, change to a specially made gown sewn from thoroughly stripped fabric with only my undies on beneath it, use only the oil they provided (coconut, which was somewhat nauseating when combined with the unfortunate odor that permeated the poor girl’s trailer from not being able to leave it or clean it the way most people do), and remain almost entirely silent for the length of the massage, using only whispers (she also had sound sensitivity) when I needed to communicate with her. I also couldn’t use body lotions, paint my nails, dye my hair, or do a number of other things that many people would be horrified to give up. And despite all that, she STILL couldn’t tolerate my presence sometimes. But I did my best. I CARED. I changed myself, my routine, my personal hygiene regimen, my washing and drying of certain clothes… I did it all FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Imagine that. Try it sometime. See how good it makes you feel to make them feel good, feel cared for and worried about. Or you could just continue on, convinced that you are the only one who matters. Good luck with that.

    • says

      I guess it depends on how allergic the person is to wool. I cannot wear anything made of wool, not even cashmere with a shirt on under it. I’m itchy just thinking about it. I have been using wool dryer balls since May of this year with no adverse skin side effects. Obviously this wouldn’t be the case with someone who goes into anaphylactic shock when around wool.

      Sadly, the yarn won’t felt unless it’s 100% wool.

      You could always use the plastic bumpy kind of dryer balls and achieve similar results.

    • Rebecca says

      It is a little different bc u are not staying in constant contact with the wool_ only basically letting it bounce around w ur clothes_ so id say unless the are REALLY super senstive it should be fine_

    • Tonia Hall says

      Ms Rachel Loveridge, I have heard that you can use tennis balls in the same way. I have never done this personally, but I know of people that do. You could try that if the wool allergy is too bad for these. It is an option to try anyway. Good luck!

  1. Tina says

    My mother always uses tennis balls. I think they have a similar effect in seperating the clothes but I don’t know about the softening.
    In the summertime I never really used my dryer anyway but I will definitely try these dryer balls sometime soon.

  2. Sarah says

    I did these earlier this year, some for me and some for my best friend. I don’t know where you found Fisherman’s yarn for $5 but I’m jealous! I paid double that. Still worth it. Make sure you use 100% wool yarn, that’s very very important, it won’t work at all if you don’t (found that out, my first try was a wool/acrylic blend). I Love my felted wool dryer balls!

    • Heather W. says

      Besides making sure that you have 100% animal fiber (doesn’t have to be wool), make sure that it isn’t “superwash” yarn which basically means that it has been treated to not felt. Also, if you don’t get the undyed yarn, the lighter colors don’t usually felt as well as the darker ones since the light ones are sometimes bleached before dying.

      • leal says

        Thanks for the information Heather. I would not have known about the “superwash” yarn nor the color having any difference for felting. I am thinking I have time to make these for my daughter for Christmas this year.

      • hemlock27 says

        Thank you so much for the heads up on the yarn, I am so excited to try this! I have now edited my shopping list to “Wool yarn- undyed, 100% wool, nonbleached (no light colors), not superwashed labeled” :)

        Yay for Mother Earth!

  3. Jennifer says

    I might have to try this! About a month ago I bought a set of four Wool Dryer balls from Etsy. The quality is really good, but they were 20 bucks and she recommends using 12 in big loads, especially ones involving towels and bedding. So that would be 60 bucks! Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in drying time using my balls, but my dryer is old, secondhand, and frankly a bit of a disappointment. Maybe I’ll try making some of my own to add to the four I already have and see if more make a difference.

    • Sarah says

      This is what I do, I have 3 aluminum foil balls that I put inside a lingerie wash bag to keep them from getting lost in the arms/legs/pockets of my clothes; I use vinegar in my fabric softener spot in the washer then then 5-6 dryer balls and the bag of aluminum foil balls too. It is a bit noisy but if I close the door I can barely hear it. I’m so used to it now anyway that I just don’t notice anymore until someone comes over and says “what IS that noise?!” LOL

  4. says

    Tennis balls work just as well. I just bought a pack of two tennis ball dog toys at the dollar store and used them to test against my $10 Bed, Bath, etc. ones. Worked just as well. The only static cling I experienced was with a fleece Snuggie. Some things cling even with dryer sheets. I don’t use dryer sheets anymore because of the cost, obviously, but also because of the chemical fragrances, which are overwhelming. Essential oils could be added to an old wash cloth or piece of fabric and tossed in with the load to add an appealing smell if you must.

  5. mdoe37 says

    I made some of these a while back and really have to get to the business of using them. They ARE noisy, but since the dryer is in the basement, doesn’t really bother me. I’ll do a load with my new soap nuts and give the dryer balls a whirl.

    Hmm I just realized what I said. I’m doing laundry with nuts and balls. hahahahahaha!

  6. Christine says

    I’m wondering if these do anything to help with the static cling. I bought some of the spiky rubber dryer balls from Bed, Bath & Beyond back in June. I love how they make everything soft and I “think” I see a difference in the drying time. However, the static cling is bugging me. And I also use the DIY fabric softner that you’ve posted on your blog.

    Any ideas on how I can reduce the static?

    • Melissa Taylor says

      I use vinegar as my fabric softener and I haven’t had trouble with static cling.

      I used a recipe in the past for fabric softener that called for mixing vinegar with water and adding some baking soda to the mix and I had trouble with static cling with this recipe, but since I have started using vinegar straight up, I haven’t had trouble with static.

      I hope this helps.

  7. natasha says

    THANK YOU! I use wool dryer balls already for 2 reasons ~ it replaces the typical fabric softener which is full of harmful chemicals & then they dry my clothes more quickly. I purchased 6 wool balls from Amazon and they are great but making them is so much cheaper. I also love the idea of sprinkling a couple of drops essential oils.

  8. Angela says

    I have been doing this for about 3 or 4 months. Not sure I notice a lower drying time, diffently a bit of static. But it does keep the clothes separate while drying. Not sure how you got 4 balls out of the skein, I can only get 2. Diffently use your coupons to buy the felting wool.

  9. Regina says

    I only got 3 balls out of a skein and they are pretty small. I’ve been using the same balls for about a year now. I use a homemade vinegar/baking soda fabric softner which I love for the softening and clean rinsing. However, the static cling is VERY annoying and will only get worse as the winter/dry weather comes upon us. Do the aluminum foil balls help with static clean?

    • Angie says

      I have heard the foil balls work well. Someone commented above to contain them in a lingerie bag so as not to get lost inside socks, pant legs, etc. As for your static cling, the problem may lie with your fabric softener. Vinegar and baking soda neutralize each other, which may render some of the properties of the vinegar ineffective.

    • Sandi says

      I never have trouble with static cling since I started drying less and setting the heat on low. My dryer has a dial for extra dry, normal dry, less dry and a dial for low, moderate, normal or high heat. I set it to just less than normal dry and use a low heat setting for most clothes. The clothes feel dry and warm but have the tiniest bit of moisture left in. It keeps static cling down.

  10. says

    I did this a few years back. Honestly i’m really mixed on the results. They were fun to make but tricky to keep track of. I have 3 sons, so one by one my dryer balls disappeared into the dark recesses of their bedrooms and toy boxes. Additionally, I didn’t find that the clothes dried any faster.

    They sure where pretty and fun to make though. I eventually got used to the noise in the dryer too.

    On a more positive note, they helped to fluff up my pillows when I would wash them, so that part is cool.

  11. Deb says

    I think this is a perfectly yummy idea! Both for practical use and for gifts like (wool) stocking stuffers for my very organic and earthy daughter! I can’t wait to get started, Michaels just sent me some coupons and I am going to check right away to see if there are any I can use for yarn! Another Good Thing by Jillee!! Thanks.

  12. Pam says

    I am making these for all my friends and family! I don’t ever use those poisonous fabric softeners…it is simply rubbing chemicals all over your skin which is actually the largest elimination organ of the body. Skin is supposed to remove toxins, using towels soaked in chemicals adds toxins and plugs up the skin preventing it from doing its job. Our society is so focused on artifial scent with candles, plug ins, hair and body products that it is oozing out of us. By the end of my exercise class I become nauseated from the perfume that is being released around me along with healthy perspiration. Martha Stewart is on a roll to warn the public about artificial scent and says to check essential oils too because even some of them are not natural. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • leal says

      I have a fairly good supply of dryer sheets (purchased at Costco in bulk!). Now I have or am eliminating artificial scents, chemicals, etc. from my home. It is hard to do completely. That being said, I don’t use the dryer sheets in the dryer any longer but they are great to use in the yard for warding off mosquitoes and flies. I just put them in unobtrusive areas around my chair or picnic area and voila – no more pesky bugs. I will eventually run out!

    • says

      I was “WONDERING” about doing it this way myself! :) We Wisconsinites sure are thrifty! ;) I am thinking of making the balls “smaller” than tennis balls though. I am thinking that for the sake of the noise that the bigger ones seem to make that smaller ones may be the way to go. Even if I have to use a few more of them!

  13. spitefulilsprite says

    These can also be made using wool roving instead of the yarn, which I love because purchasing wool from a small, local farm is much more satisfying and beneficial than buying yarn from somewhere like Micheals. Check Etsy for yarn or roving that is sold specifically to raise money for no-kill farms and animal rescues or your local fairs for sheep shearers selling their product. I’ve never made the balls from yarn, but I have heard that these do not hold up for as long as the balls made from roving. It does make sense that the roving would felt better and last longer when you consider what the felting process is. No matter what you use, NEVER use superwash wool as it does not felt. As for drying time and static issues, make sure you use enough balls and do not over dry your clothes. Six balls is the absolute minimum to use if you hope to see a reduction in time, which by the way, 50% sounds very high. I’ve never seeen more than a 35% reduction reported before. Not saying it isn’t possible, but I’d wonder just how small the load was, what dryer was used, and just how many balls it took to achieve a 50% time reduction, among other factors. Dry only as long as it takes your clothes to dry, do not leave them in any longer or static becomes an issue.

  14. says

    I have used NEW tennis balls. When I wash & dry my down comforters. Set the dryer on lower heat & add 3 tennis balls to fluff & tumble. Works great, keep the tennis ball container in my laundry room cabinet labeled ‘MOM’S ONLY’. And no one touches them.

    • Lisa says

      You know, I’ve used new tennis balls, too… wondering if wrapping those in a few layers of wool yarn and felting that would still be effective. Or combining the wool balls with the tinfoil balls, and wrapping the wool around a foil core. It would certainly increase your yield. The foil-and-yarn method, theoretically, might be the best route for really economical gift-giving. I will have to attempt this.


  15. Liz says

    Ok…. I am going to try these. I am REALLY trying hard to ditch store bought FS so far with mixed results esp on my towel…. Right now I am “stripping” them…. I like the wool idea and have made the FS recipe listed on the is site…. but I do REALLY miss the “laundry scent” of clean clothes, so I broke down and bought some downy unstopables and melted them and added them to the fabric softener I made, and like the scent…. I

    • Renée says

      I’m trying to go natural as much as posdible but hubby “must” have the fresh scented laundry. My trick is putting a few drop of EO ( usually lavender) on a flannel square and adding to dryer. Also, I use white vinegar with a few drops in place of fabric softener. I am very skeptical of what kind of chemicals are in those downy unstoppables. Will have to try these in dryer in place of the square of flannel!

    • Yvonne says

      I haven’t made these but I plan to. I live in Costa Rica and I can’t buy wool for under $20 so I plan to go to a thrift store and buy a big wool men’s sweater and unravel it. I should be able to buy one for $3 or $4 dollars and it will make more than 4 so I can make them for friends and give them as gifts. Did anyone know that using dryer sheets can ruin your dryer? It clogs up the filter and gets in the dryer parts and causes them to corrode. I haven’t used dryer sheets for years for anything other than mosquito repellant under my pillow or in my pocket.

      • Julie says

        Wish I had seen this sooner. We put in one of those new “dryer bars” and now our dryer is stuck on high heat and shrinks everything. It wasn’t even in for a week. Time to call the repair man.

      • Angie says

        Dryer sheets/bars WILL ruin your dryer as Yvonne says. To add to the points she mentioned, the dryer sheets will coat your lint trap, eventually preventing air from escaping your dryer – which can start a fire. Add that to the highly flammable lint in the lint trap and you have a recipe for disaster!

  16. Penny says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. I am excited to try this myself but am wondering if using the essential oil would leave marks on the clothes you are drying? I have been researching essential oils but am not sure where to purchase them.

  17. Carrie says

    Got so excited after seeing these this morning. I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, picked up my thing of Fisherman’s Wool, then to Whole Foods to get some pretty smelling essential oil and spent the afternoon making yarn balls. My hands are so sore – but I got my 4 balls done. I just got them out of the dryer and they look great (I think), I’m not sure what “felting” is, but I think the yarn sort of hardened into the ball shape. Pretty cool! Can’t wait to use them in my first load of laundry – no more dryer sheets for me.

    • Nicholle C. says

      I have found that it made static cling worse, and based on other comments it appears these are not supposed to help with static cling, only with softening the clothes and cutting down on drying time

    • Nicholle C. says

      Melissa I left mine in the panthose when I tossed them in the dryer – (not sure if I was supposed to or not), but when I cut them out of the pantyhose after they had felted just fine, they were tighter/smaller and starting to ‘frizz’ a bit

  18. fiona says

    OK, silly question…I inherited a ton of miscellaneous balls/skeins of yarn from my Grampy, some of which may be older than me.One is from (I’m guessing) the ’80s, it’s Kolorkraft 100% pure virgin worsted wool. It’s dyed a very vibrant purple. Would this be appropriate for this project? I’ve never used wool so I’m not quite sure of it’s properties and whether or not the color will bleed. Any suggestions?

    • Mary says

      If it’s pure wool, it should work for felting. You can try testing it by making a little ball of it, putting it in the hottest water you can stand, and rolling it between your hands (or wear kitchen gloves, then you can use hotter water and the texture on the gloves will help.) If you do this for several minutes you should be able to tell if the yarn is starting to felt (it will stick together, get denser, start to lose it’s definition), and you will probably get a good idea from this whether it will bleed or not.

    • deniseinark says

      It’s hard to “frog” (unravel) wool that’s already felted. The fibers have already started to bind together, that’s why it shrunk. Absolutely positively the greener way of doing this would be to repurpose any kind of sweater made of 100% wool yarn. Those with allergies can try alpaca or angora instead of sheep wool. It can’t hurt. I know that wool diaper covers have to be resoaked in a lanolin solution after every so many washings, so I wonder if this is all a mechanical benefit or if there is any kind of chemical component from the lanolin that naturally occurs in the wool?

  19. Chartreuse says

    Will definitely try these. I have used the plastic dryer balls for about 2 years now. My motivation was that the heavily perfumed softeners wreaked havoc on my eczema and I refuse to pay $10 – 12 for a bottle of softener. Dryer balls save a lot of money and are just better on your clothes. Another plus:your clothes dry faster! Love your websit!

  20. Ramona says

    Inspired by your DIY dryer balls, I repurposed my moth -hole-ridden scarf. Now I can enjoy these beautiful, vibrant colors year-round. I cut the scarf in half & wound each piece tightly. I used felting needles to start the felting process so the balls didn’t come unwound. Didn’t have hose, but small mesh fabric gift bags served the purpose. These are colorfast, so I washed & dried them in a load of colored clothes. They will felt more with each wash, but already they are felted sufficiently to hold their shape.

    See pic in separate email.

    • Maxx says

      Thanks for your comment…..I was reading the comments and thinking when I would have time and good weather to drive the 75 miles to the nearest store where I can buy wool yarn, then you mentioned your scarf that the moths got to…….This summer, moths got to all my wool jackets, so I am gonna cut them into strips, and make dryer balls out of them…..if it works I can quit being mad that my jackets are destroyed!!

  21. Nicholle C. says

    Ok I just washed my first load of laundry with the 4 dryer balls I made yesterday – I made sure I used pure wool yarn, and washed and dried it in the pantyhose just like it’s shown above. I was very disappointed at the amount of static that was in my laundry when I pulled it out of the dryer, everything sticking to everything else – I was under the impression that using the dryer balls would help cut down on this, and take the place of using a dryer sheet. Is it possible I did something wrong? Are you supposed to wash the dryer balls more than once, after the first wash in the pantyhose? Also the total time it took to dry a load of laundry did not seem significantly less – do I need to use more than 4 dryer balls? My loads of laundry aren’t excessively large.

    • spitefulilsprite says

      If your balls seem felted- a very tight ball that is considerably smaller than when you first formed the ball- you haven’t done anything wrong. However, you definitely want to use at LEAST six balls. And make sure you are pulling your clothes out of the dryer as soon as they are dry. Many people tend to over-dry which adds to static problems. In the future when felting anything, it is a good idea to wash in hot and rinse in cold along with a few pairs of jeans, dry balls in dryer and then repeat the wash and dry. Heat alone is not what felts wool, drastic changes in temperature and friction help the fibers to full.

  22. Shanna says

    Just wanted to add that as far as the static goes, these will do next to nothing for synthetic fibers, I usually pull these out after the wash and hang them to dry (most synthetic items don’t take long to dry). Also, the more wool balls you use the quicker your dry time since wool can hold a great deal of moisture, but I haven’t seen the 50% shorter time. All in all these are wonderful and I have been using them happily for the last couple of years.

    • Kellbell0205 says

      No, unfortunately acrylic will not felt. You need to use 100% real animal fiber! i.e…. wool, alpace, llama…. those will all felt, but I think that for this particular project wool is definately the best and also probably the least expensive. Most hobby stores around here sell 100% wool yarn, and I know that you can also find it online….. Kelly

  23. Linda says

    I bought wool sweaters at the thrift store and recycled them to make the dryer balls. For about $2 I got a pound and 1/2 of heavy wool yarn. I am felting the balls now and will let you know how they turn out. This project was lots of fun.

  24. says

    I’ve seen many tutorials, and of course used wool dryer balls by myself. To tell the truth, I thought that these wood balls would not cope with the problem. But I was wrong. Despite the fact that I didn’t follow the instructions of wool balls they had showed excellent results. And you will agree with me.

  25. Jess says

    I’m gearing up for my first baby (Due 2/21/13!) and therefore lots of laundry, especially as we are considering cloth diapering. Thank you all for the great info about solutions to eliminate the toxins in comercial laundry products.

    So from previous comments, if I am trying to rid my laundry of nasty chemicals while keeping all the perks of fabric softener/ dryers sheets, I should use:

    Several homemade wool dryer balls for drying time and softness
    (possibly soaked in homemade fabric softener = vinegar +water+ conditioner)
    + Vinegar or Aluminum Balls (in a lingerie bag so they don’t get lost) for Static
    (Foil balls are apparently exactly what they sound like, but here’s a link I found on how to make them anyway
    + Essential Oils for a pleasant scent

    Does that sum it up? Will the vinegar and aluminum or Essential Oils react in the dryer if i use both/all?

    Thanks so much everyone!

    • Angie says

      If you are trying to rid your laundry of nasty chemicals, DO NOT use hair conditioner – especially Suave. Hair shampoo/conditioners have bad chemicals in them, especially the cheaper ones. Generally, the cheaper the product, the cheaper the ingredients used to make said product. The cheap ones are many times the more dangerous.

      If you are going to use the wool dryer balls, all you need to make your baby’s clothes soft and clean is vinegar! If you are having an issue with stains or smells, just run the load through the wash a second time with a cup of baking soda before drying. Do not use the vinegar and baking soda together, though. Vinegar is a mild acid and baking soda is a neutralizer, which will reduce the beneficial properties of each.

      If you are going to use essential oils, use sparingly for the baby’s sake, and read up on which oils will be safest for baby. As far as the reaction, I’m not sure.

      Hope this helps some, and congratulations on your upcoming little one!

  26. Marilynne Rowland says

    Question? I told a girlfriend about these. She said that she is allergic to Lanolin which she says is in wool. Does the felting process eliminate the lanolin? Made my first 5 balls today!

  27. Rhonda says

    Why did my balls only partially felt? When I pulled them from the dryer, they had partially unraveled and there was a small layer of felt that came off the top! I put them in thick tights – maybe that was the problem and I should have used nylons instead?

    • says

      It’s possible that your yarn wasn’t 100% wool, which would impair its felting ability. Also, felting happens because animal hairs are covered in scales that open up with heat (like pinecones!) and then interlock with friction and cooling. Some fibers need a few more runs through the washing machine before they felt nicely, and yeah, maybe the thicker tights protected the yarn from the agitation.

      You can also felt by hand: hot water, little soap, rub the surface with your fingers and hands until you feel the felting is secure. Using thick rubber gloves is a good idea when the water is so hot.

      • Sharon says

        This is such a wonderful idea. I don’t use the dryer very often but when I do it is more likely to be for heavy clothes that can’t dry outside in winter.

        Do you leave the stocking on? If not how many felting washes would you leave it on for?


  1. [...] Large Gray Dryer Ball (with jacket): Dryer Ball pattern by Ashley King Small Gray Dryer Ball (with jacket): Dryer Balls pattern by Meredith McFarland Gold Dryer Ball (just a ball of yarn): Wool Dryer Balls tutorial by Jillee [...]

  2. [...] In the dryer, I like to use woolly balls.  Woolly balls?  Yes, that’s what I said, and not just because its fun to say woolly balls, but also because they are another safe, economical, homemade solution.  Learn how to make your own woolly balls here. [...]

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