How to make wool dryer balls

I have several friends on facebook that are doing the “no chemicals” thing in their household.  They are making homemade cleaners etc. and it all sounds very interesting to me.  Plus they say that it is less expensive and I’ll all about that.  So I’ve already been kind of researching this subject when I was about to do laundry one day. 

We were out of dryer sheets and I naturally googled what I could use in it’s place.  Out of all the options I realized that I didn’t really have any of the ingredients needed to make a substitute dryer sheet.  I did see a way to make wool dryer balls which are supposed to cut down on drying time, thus saving us money, there are no chemicals in it and it is supposed to reduce static electricity among other things.  Sounded interesting so I put that on my project list. 

Keep in mind I will be saying *ball* a lot.  Every time I wrote the word I kept thinking, ha…you just said ball.  Juvenile I know but carry on.

Here’s what you need:

  • Wool yarn.  You need to use a yarn that 100% wool otherwise it won’t “felt”.  The amount will depend on how many you are trying to make.  I purchased one skein to do my test balls and it made two good sized balls. 
  • Old pair of pantyhose
  • A small crochet hook
  • Scissors


After purchasing this I read that Fishermen’s Wool takes longer to felt.  I haven’t made the balls out of any other kind of wool so I cannot say for sure whether or not it’s true.


I do know you have to be sure and get 100% wool.  Or you can use felting wool but I hadn’t heard of that before.  I purchased this for about $5.50 after my coupon so for two that comes out to $2.75 each.  Not too bad.  After a quick online search, it seems the cheapest you can purchase them for is a little over $5 each so I feel pretty good about that. 

Here’s how you do it:

Have you ever wound yarn into a ball?  Well that is pretty much what you will do to begin making your wool dryer ball. 

Start by wrapping the yarn around your fingers about 10 times. 


I then start wrapping it around the opposite way. 


I then folded that in half and then wound around that.  Keep winding until you have a ball the size you want.  According to the various sites I checked before making these, the balls can be any size that you’d like.  I tried to get two balls out of the skein I purchased. 

Once you have wound the ball to the size you want you then need to cut the yarn and pull it through several layers using a crochet hook.  I pulled it through one spot then pulled it through another for good measure.


Next you need some old pantyhose and you are going to put the balls inside of it so they won’t unravel in the next steps. 


Tie off the pantyhose so the balls are separate and won’t felt together. 


You then place this in with your next load of clothes that you are going to wash on hot and “wash” them.  I think the point of that is to get them wet but I’m not entirely sure. 

Next, place them in the dryer with the load of clothes and dry.

I read that it could take anywhere from 4-5 times for the yarn to felt.  I checked after each washing but it wasn’t until the 4th cycle that I thought it looked felted enough.  You can tell by lightly scraping your fingernail over the yarn to see if it moves.  After the 4th time it didn’t move very much so I pronounced it finished! 


I cut it open and was still nervous that it wasn’t felted enough but it held together.


Yea!!  Ready to test out on my next load of clothes. 


I washed a load of clothes today and when I threw the clothes in the dryer I tossed in the wool dryer balls.  I honestly can’t say if they dried faster as I didn’t really check but it did seem to reduce the static.  There was a tiny bit but not like it has been. 

You can also put a couple drops of essential oils on the balls to give it a scent but I haven’t tried that yet. 

**UPDATE**  There seemed to be static with some of my loads.  I read some more on that and they said if you have synthetic material clothing you  might want to consider drying that separately.  We now air dry those items and we haven’t had any more static issues.

**UPDATE** I stopped using these as they actually broke the baffles in my dryer.  And it seemed that the balls never fully felted.

How was your experience?

(((hugs))) ~lisa


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