Earth Day Tutorial – Save energy with dryer balls!

When I first heard about DIY dryer balls from my friend Megan, I jumped at the chance to do a good deed for the environment AND make something fun with yarn. Dryer balls are felted wool balls you put in the dryer with your laundry. They reduce your drying time and help to cut down on static cling, so you can eliminate the irritating chemicals found in dryer sheets while saving energy. That’s a win-win for the Earth and your wallet!

Making dryer balls is fun, fast, and easy. You only need a few materials, and you can probably find them around your house.

You’ll need:

  • Non-superwash (feltable, not machine-washable) wool yarn or roving
  • A pair of old pantyhose
  • Scissors
  • A washer and dryer
  • Laundry detergent

Dryer - pre felt in bowl

First, wind your wool yarn or roving into balls about 4″ in diameter, and tuck the end under a few strands of yarn to secure it. You’ll need about 5 or 6 to effectively cut down on drying time.

Dryer - pre felt with pantyhose

Next, cut one leg off your pantyhose. This will help the balls hold their shape while they’re felting.

Dryer - in pantyhose

Now, insert one ball into the tube of pantyhose, all the way down to the toe. Tie a knot in the pantyhose just above the ball. Insert the next ball into the tube, all the way down to the first knot, and tie another knot just above the second ball.

Continue inserting balls into the tube and tying knots between them. Tie a knot just above the last ball to secure it inside the pantyhose.

Put your tube of wool balls into the washer with a small amount of detergent and a few towels that need to be washed. The towels will provide extra agitation to speed up the felting process. You’ll need to use the hottest setting and longest cycle, but by felting your dryer balls with a load of laundry, you’re not wasting water or energy!

When the wash cycle is finished, throw your wool balls and towels into the dryer and put it on the hottest setting. When they’re finished drying, untie or cut the pantyhose to see your brand new dryer balls! They may felt to the pantyhose a bit, but you can pull them off fairly easily. Look at all this felty goodness!

Dryer - after felting

You may need to repeat this process until they are felted properly and will not unravel, but mine only took one cycle.

I keep my felted balls inside the dryer and simply toss my laundry in with them. My clothes dry faster and come out soft and static-free.

If you have some feltable yarn you’re not going to use, try making dryer balls to save energy and cut back on the chemicals used in your laundry. The Earth, and your bank account, will thank you!