How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
Since I learned How to Make Laundry Detergent I heard about something to help clothes in the dryer. They are called Wool Balls. I’ve seen them on TV infomercials and pretty much thought they were “hokey.” Then I started talking to one of my best friends who absolutely loves them! She makes her own and says it cuts her drying time by half. This in turn saves her money because she runs her dryer less. She says you put 4 in a small load or 6 – 8 in a large load into your dryer. The balls bounce around (like shoes) with the clothes and make them dry faster. I’m not exactly sure how they work, but my friend says they DO WORK.
She was going to make more and taught me how to do it. We took pictures and I thought I would share “How to Make Wool Balls” . They are simple and all you need to make them are old pantyhose (I used knee highs) and some wool. There are printable directions at the bottom of this post.
Here’s how to do it:
First you need to purchase your wool. You do not have to buy colorful wool. You can buy a one color wool. My friend has made these before and just thought it would be fun to have some colored wool balls. We got 2 Skeins. These were about six inches in length. You can buy longer ones. This colored wool was $6 a Skein. It’s more pricey than the plain non colorful wool.
The kind of wool you buy is very important. You need it to say 100% wool. This means there are no synthetic fibers in it. You do not want any synthetic fibers or this will not work. So make sure you check the label or ask someone to help you.
To start your ball just take some wool and tie a little bow or knot. This will give you your base to start rolling the wool around itself.
Then you start wrapping it around. Just keep wrapping it around your starter piece until it starts to form a ball.
You do not have to be perfect. My ball was messy looking. That is okay and will not matter for the end result.
Roll the wool around itself into a ball shape until it is the size of a baseball. Then tuck the end under to finish it off. You can see where I tucked mine under. It is okay if it sticks out a little.
Stuff your first ball into a nylon stocking.
Push it all the way to the bottom.
Tie a knot and then as you make the balls add them in and tie a knot at the top. Since I used knee highs I put two in each stocking.
Place them all into boiling water.
Boil for 30 – 40 minutes. Your house will begin to stink from the wool. It reminded me of a wet dog. I aired out my house afterwards.
Remove the stocking with balls and drain. I just put mine in a colander. Now you need to get creative to squeeze some of the water out. They are hot so I just used a glass and squished down on them to get extra water out. They don’t need to be completely dry. You just don’t want them dripping too much at this point. You can see the wool colored the water and dyed the stocking. That’s not a big deal because I can’t use them again.
Leave them in the stockings and put them in your dryer. This is very important. Put the dryer on high heat. This is the felting process. The wool will “felt” to itself. You dry them about 40 minutes. Mine actually took (2) 40 minutes cycles on high heat. They DO NOT have to be perfectly dry, but they do need to be felted.
Take them out of the stocking and check to see if they are felted when they are mostly dry.
To tell if they are felted when you hold them up close the wool around the balls looks flattened. It reminds me of a felt board. It’s not completely smooth, but the pieces are all basically “stuck” or “felted” together. At this point the balls are ready to use and will not unravel.
That’s it! You are done! I didn’t make my balls very uniform. Three I made smaller than the first. The 2 Skeins would really only make 3 baseballs size wool balls. Now just throw them in the dryer of your next load of clothes and see how much time they cut out!
Thanks Emily for teaching me to make Wool Balls!
Here’s a printable list on how to make them: