With so much emphasis placed on knowing where our food comes from, it’s easy to forget that sustainability can apply to the laundry room, as well as the kitchen. Felted wool dryer balls are an easy way to reduce your household’s carbon footprint, keeping harmful chemicals away from your clothes and dryer sheets out of the landfill. Plus, they’re a simple project that can be made in less than an hour. Here’s how.
Pick up a couple skeins of 100-percent wool yarn. The colors don’t matter (so have fun with them) but your fiber content does. Yarns with non-wool fibers will not felt well. If possible, source your yarn from a local fiber artist. Each skein yields about two baseball-sized yarn balls, and I typically use four balls.
Slip the yarn off your fingers, then continue wrapping the yarn several times around the center of the loop.
Continue wrapping the yarn into to form a ball, and stop when it is about the size of a golf ball. Trim the yarn, and carefully insert the string into the ball so that it won’t unravel. This can be done with your fingers, but a needle or crochet hook might be helpful.
Repeat steps 2 through 4 to make two to four golf-ball-sized yarn balls. Place the balls in a nylon sock or pantyhose (do not use wool), and secure each ball with a piece of string or twine. (Make sure the balls aren’t touching to avoid felting them together.) To felt, wash the balls in hot water, then transfer them to a hot dryer.
Step 7 (optional)
If desired, add 25 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball to scent your laundry. I like to use bergamot essential oil, but other scents you might find pleasing include lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus. Note: You’ll have to periodically recharge your balls with essential oil when the scent dissipates.