Handspun Dryer Balls

In my long-term quest to live as sustainably as possible, I've been thinking about the mundane parts of life, such as laundry. Fortunately, my family largely shares my commitment to sustainability, so my mother wasn't offended when her birthday present this year were some handmade, handspun wool dryer balls for the dryer.

These dryer balls live and work in our dryer.

What are dryer balls, you ask? They fill the need of disposable dryer sheets by bouncing around and expediting the drying process. I honestly don't know a lot about what dryer sheets do in the first place, but these wool balls do the same thing, and if I were to make a hefty stack of them, together they would be even more effective than conventional dryer sheets.

To make these dryer balls, I referred to a tutorial by DIY Natural. In reading this tutorial, I learned that pure wool yarn closer to roving than multi-ply yarn is the most effective. Well, as someone trying not to accumulate more stuff if I can get away with it, I didn't really want to go buy more yarn just because I don't have pure wool roving available to make some dryer balls. What I did happen to have on hand was a small amount of Nina's 4-H sheep's wool, most of which I used to spin and knit my Au Naturel Handspun Scarf. This was an absolutely perfect stash-busting use for my spare wool! While I recognize spinning the yarn in question makes this otherwise-easy project at least twice as time-consuming, I have no regrets about this choice. Thanks again to Eboni and Ivori (the sheep) for providing stellar wool coats!

After I spun all the remaining wool, I winded them into three balls of yarn of similar size, then wrapped the yarn ends in the ball innards so they wouldn't come loose.

Next, to felt the balls, I made a "yarn caterpillar" with an ultra-old pair of my mom's old hose. Then we threw them in the laundry for a normal wash and extra-hot dryer cycle. And after taking the balls out of the caterpillar, they were fully felted and ready for business!

These dryer balls have been in use for all family laundry purposes for the past month or so. We seem to have fully adjusted to using these as opposed to dryer sheets (which we were almost entirely out of by the time these were ready to use).

I suppose I should have mentioned earlier that this was in some ways my mom's idea--when opening her Christmas gift of reusable produce bags, she wondered aloud if they were special dryer balls. Well, if she was interested in this product, I could certainly make it happen in time for her birthday in mid-January!

If you are interested in acquiring some dryer balls but don't want to go to the effort to make them, there are many options available on Etsy.

What is your latest DIY sustainability hack?


  1. I have seen dryer balls around for a while. The idea of less chemicals in the wash the better. I am not as stealth in the making department so I will check out the etsy sites. Thanks for linking up at #trafficjam

  2. I had never seen dryer balls, but stopped using dryer sheets years ago because they aren't good for the dryer.

    Thanks for sharing #TrafficJamWeekend


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