DIY Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

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These homemade dryer balls are amazing! My laundry is super soft and I don't have to deal with static. So easy to make and inexpensive compared to buying them from Amazon or the store.
Contributor post written by Kelly from New Leaf WellnessPhotos updated in December 2015.

Looking for an all-natural alternative to store-bought dryer sheets?  Wool dryer balls are your answer!  Not only are wool dryer balls all-natural, they’re so easy to make!

Here are some of the benefits of Homemade Wool Dryer Balls:

  • Shorten drying time
  • Reduce wrinkles
  • Decrease static
  • Soften laundry
  • Save money
  • Fragrance-free (or naturally scented with a few drops of essential oils)
  • You can buy wool dryer balls on Amazon or Etsy, but they’re also incredibly easy to make yourself.  All you need to make your own is 20 minutes and four basic supplies: wool yarn, a crochet hook, scissors, and pantyhose.

    These homemade dryer balls are amazing! My laundry is super soft and I don't have to deal with static. So easy to make and inexpensive compared to buying them from Amazon or the store.

    I’ll admit that I know nothing about using yarn to knit and crochet, but I know a heck of a lot about doing laundry.  Between me, my husband, and our three young daughters (ages 4 and under), laundry is just a part of our everyday life.

    Doing laundry isn’t exactly what I’d call “fun,” but an easy, practical craft sure is.  These homemade wool dryer balls rank up there with my homemade coconut oil lotions and sugar scrubs.  They’re a simple DIY that I absolutely love and want to share with all of my friends.

    Actually, I think making these wool dryer balls would be a really fun craft to make with friends.  I made my first two wool dryer balls with the help of my super-crafty mom and then asked for a crochet hook and wool yarn for my birthday so I could make more.

    These homemade dryer balls are amazing! My laundry is super soft and I don't have to deal with static. So easy to make and inexpensive compared to buying them from Amazon or the store.

    The more dryer balls you have, the more they will bounce around with your laundry and help it to dry quickly.  Six to eight wool dryer balls that are between the size of a tennis ball and soft ball seem to be just right.  The tutorial below shows you how to make two dryer balls from one skein of yarn.

    The best yarn is 100% wool.  After wrapping your yarn into balls, you wash them in pantyhose so the yarn “felts” together and becomes a solid ball that won’t unravel.  Thick, wool roving yarn felts perfectly.

    These homemade dryer balls are amazing! My laundry is super soft and I don't have to deal with static. So easy to make and inexpensive compared to buying them from Amazon or the store.

    The best colors for homemade wool dryer balls are ones that are bright and will be easy to pick out of your laundry.  Avoid red or other colors that might bleed.  (I learned that the hard way.)

    Have I convinced you to make your own wool dryer balls yet?!  Let’s get started!

    Homemade Wool Dryer Balls: The best natural dryer sheet alternative! So easy and inexpensive to make!
    5 from 5 votes
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    Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. Start your first wool dryer ball by wrapping the yarn around a couple of fingers 10 times.
    2. Remove the yarn from your fingers and wrap about 10 times around the middle.
    3. Continue wrapping around the ball from every angle. Make your way around the ball, wrapping 5-10 times before moving to a new angle. (There's no exact science to this. Just keep trying to form a round ball.) Wrap the yarn tightly and hang onto your ball so it doesn't pop out of your hands.
    4. When your ball is a little bigger than a tennis ball, cut the yarn and pull the end through the ball with your crochet hook.
    5. Repeat Steps 1-4 to make a second wool dryer ball with the remainder of your yarn.
    6. Place your wool balls in your pantyhose, knotting the pantyhose between the balls.
    7. Run your wool dryer balls through your washer and dryer with separate loads of laundry until they "felt" and become solid balls. (Mine "felt" in 3-4 loads.)
    8. Remove balls from pantyhose and use in the dryer in place of dryer sheets.

    Tip: These wool dryer balls would be great to use with Kristin’s Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap or Powder Laundry Soap (from my cleaning book).

    These homemade dryer balls are amazing! My laundry is super soft and I don't have to deal with static. So easy to make and inexpensive compared to buying them from Amazon or the store.

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107 Comments

  • Have you attempted to make these scented by adding essential oils to the yarn? I love really scented laundry and I use Bronner’s lavender soap for my homemade laundry detergent, but would like to add a little more during dry time….

  • Where do you buy 100% wool yarn locally? I’ve looked at Michaels and JoAnns without success 🙁 Would love to make my own and also to give as gifts

  • I Kristin I will be making a lot of your things for Christmas presents the foundation, blush, dryer balls, and some of the other items , I don’t believe I read if the dryer balls are to be washed in cold or hot water, or dose it make a difference, I love your website thx, Debbie

  • In an attempt to make more balls with less yarn, has anyone tried using a tennis ball and then wrapping the yarn a couple layers over it? Can you think of any cons to doing that? Any other suggestions to use less yarn?

  • Thank you for the awesome tutorial. I have been wanting a natural fabric softener/static remover to use!
    I set my colours into my fabrics by soaking in the wash machine with Epsom salts & water (a trick a science teacher taught me)
    Start with warm water & 1 cup of Epsom salts, using hand to agitate until dissolved. Set the cycle to small, switch temp to cold, place garment (dryer balls) in. Turn the machine on for a minute. Then walk away. I usually let them sit for 45 min-1hr. Put through a regular wash cycle, & voila your garment will retain it’s colour!

  • This may be a very silly question lol. But what if you just wrapped a tennis ball a few times till it was fully covered? I’m actually making these right now and my husband was like..why don’t you just wrap up a tennis ball and save yarn?..got me thinking

  • Well they are all done being wrapped up. They look good 🙂 I Am a tad confused as to how to wash/ dry them to form a solid ball. I made 12 of them. I put them in the stockings. Do I put them in the washer & dryer with clothes or just by themselves?

  • Thank you 🙂 loved the tutorial. They were so easy to make and honestly a bit of therapy after I put my kids to bed the past few nights haha! Nice & relaxing thing to make

  • I made them. They look great but I have done done them in about 10 washer & dryer cycles and they don’t look any different. I used 100% wool as you said to :/

    • Will the yarn unravel if you pull on it? If not, then I’m sure they’re fine by now. The appearance of mine doesn’t change that much – the wool just starts to “felt” together.

      If it will unravel, then I would check the heat setting of your washer/dryer. I’m not sure why 100% wool wouldn’t felt if washed and dryed that many times on a hot setting.

      Hope that helps and you get to start using your dryer balls sometime soon!

  • I wanted to try these out and I only made 2 so far, but my clothes are still soooo staticy. Do I need more dryer balls? How many?

  • To save on yarn, could you cut up a old 100% wool sweater into strips and start with that as a base and wrap your yarn around it?

  • Thank you for this article. We are a very ‘green/natural/organic’ conscious family and the one thing that we were still using that wasn’t green and that was really bothering me not being able to find a less wasteful and more natural replacement was dryer sheets. I had almost purchased organic wool dryer balls off of Amazon when I came across this article. I’m not at all crafty and wasn’t sure I could pull this off but withmy husbands help, we now have 6 balls (albeit of varying sizes) going through their 3rd wash-dry cycle to felt. I am so excited to try them out with essential oils because I love it when clothes come out smelling fragrant. I am also super excited about not having to buy (and throw away) so many dryer sheets. I hope the balls work as good as I am hoping for at reducing drying time and static and all those tiny wool fibers floating around my living room because of rolling the yarn into balls is all worth it in the end.
    Thank you once again.

  • I do have one question though. Our balls caterpillar had gone through about 5 wash/dry cycles with hot water and hot dryer settings but I still don’t see the felting, the strands of yarn still look like they are separate. Could I take them out of the pantyhose and throw them in the washer/dryer directly to speed up the felting process?

  • Just reading the comments here and as a knitter, I want to say that you’d be best with a hot/cold cycle on the washer to felt these. It’s the agitation AND the “shock” of temperature switching that helps wool to felt 🙂

  • Would I add the essential oils to the balls once they’re made or part way through? Also, I don’t have pantyhose. What could I use instead?

    • Hey Kristin, I would add the essential oils once they are done. Although, the yarn may retain some of the oils if you add a few drops in the process of making the balls. I’ve never tried using anything but pantyhose, but I’m thinking a really light pair of socks may work. Maybe a pair of dress socks?

  • If you have a problem felting the 100% wool yarn make sure you don’t have superwash wool. This type of wool is made NOT to felt by removing some of the “scales” that make up the fibers,the smoother the fiber the less to catch together and felt.

    • I dont have a crochet hook, totally forgot to get one when I bought the wool yard!!! Is there any other way i can pull the end through the ball? Or something else i can do with the end?? I just spent $20 on yarn, and now I am thinking I should have just bought the wool dryer balls because i am pretty sure it would be cheaper. So basically, i dont want to buy any more materials for this. Hahaha thanks!

      • Hey Zoe, If you have a paint can opener, that will work instead of a crocket hook. You could also try using your finger. The idea is to secure the yarn so well inside the ball that it won’t unravel. Once you’ve gone through the felting stage, I think unraveling shouldn’t be an issue (even without the hook).

  • Does this work well with HE washers?
    What essential oils do you use? Are you using oil for just fragrance or therapeutic purposes?
    Thanks

  • Some may be flammable if touched to a direct flame, but this is a recommended practice and I’ve been doing it for years with no problems at all. The wool doesn’t get hot and there are only a few drops of oil on the ball.

  • I got to thinking why people where having trouble. Felting works best with a washer that has the agitator (top loader). Many people have the front load now and that is not great for felting.

  • What do you do when they eventually start to unravel and tangle all your clothes together? I wrapped 3 of my 6 in pantyhose so far, but I wonder if that doesn’t just add static!!

  • I have a HE washer and read on one of the posts that it may need more agitation than this type of washer does. Any suggestions how to make it work or do I need to buy pre made ones?

    • Hey Tonya, I’m not really sure. I know some people have issues, and some don’t. If you want to take the chance, I would give them homemade method a try. If not, I would purchase the pre-made ones–they work very well, too!

  • Thanks Kristin for this great diy tutorial. I am going to make these wool dryer balls as soon as I receive the wool I ordered. the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

  • I used a different brand wool yarn and they haven’t felted after a year and three unraveled. I put the remaining three back in the panty hose and after several months of laundry they still haven’t felted. This goes against everything I know about wool. I wish I had just bought the other yarn now instead of getting the one on sale.???? It was 100% wool, I’m baffled.

    • Hey Bethany, That’s interesting. Someone mentioned above that a front loader may be an issue for the balls not felting. Do you use a front loader washer? My other thought is maybe the balls weren’t tight enough, or the yarn wasn’t secure enough, since they unraveled.

    • Hey Angela, With a full load of clothes in the dryer, the dryer balls aren’t loud. But if I just throw a few things in the dryer, with the dryer balls, you can definitely hear them rumbling around.

  • How many balls does one skein make? I have been having trouble finding 100% wool roving yarn. Does just 100% wool work? Probably not…

  • Does it matter what color the yarn is? My friend says dark colored yarn will leave “hairs” that will show up on light colored clothing and vise versa. Thanks!

    • Hey Kimberly, I haven’t experienced any issues with my gray and purple dryer balls leaving behind noticeable hairs on the light colors or vice versa with the lighter dryer balls and darker clothes.

  • My clothes come out with static. Is that because we only have 2? Or maybe if they aren’t 100% wool might make that happen?

  • I just finished making mine but haven’t started the felting process yet so I appreciate the comments.
    I got my yarn at our local yarn store, Yarnology! The owner hadn’t made them herself but had a lot of customers who had. She suggested I make the base of each ball with my scrap yarn (non-wool) and then continue with the 100% wool as it would save me some $. I’ve been using a set of purchased wool dryer balls for 3 years and am excited to have more for myself and to gift to others!

  • Did you know that if you have yarn leftover from another project and it is no longer labelled, you can identify it with a burn test. Take a small piece and go outside or work over a sink inside. Using a match or lighter, take a few strands and hold them with tweezers. Light them. If the smell is like burning hair, it’s wool. Any manmade fibers will melt into a small globule. (Textiles and Clothing 101, Iowa State University)

  • I have 4 that I’ve been using for 4 years…they’ve lasted so well! I’m glad I found this tutorial, because we moved away from the area we bought them in, and I didn’t know what I could do to replace them. Thank you!

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