Reduce Static Cling With DIY Dryer Balls

Laundry

 

How do you deal with static cling?  Are you in the habit of just tossing a dryer sheet into your dryer?

I was too but maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.

Apparently dryer sheets contain lots of unhealthy chemicals  (you can check out this article) and in fact much of what we’re really doing when using dryer sheets is coating our clothing with an icky layer of artificial chemical perfumes (read this article).

So instead of using fabric softener sheets I’m going to try a homemade solution instead.  I’m making my own wool dryer balls.

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

Reducing Static Cling With Dryer Balls

The theory behind using dryer balls to reduce static cling is that as they roll around in the dryer, they help keep the clothing separated which allows more air to circulate around the clothing, and they also help to keep fluffing up the clothing.  And if you’re using homemade wool dryer balls (instead of the store bought plastic type) they can help reduce drying time as well by wicking away some of the moisture from the clothing to be dried.  The less time in the dryer, the less the static can build up.

Homemade wool dryer balls may also allow you to eliminate the need for a fabric softener, and getting rid of fabric softener can lead to increased absorbency of your bath towels, kitchen towels, or cloth diapers.

Finding Wool Yarn For Homemade Dryer Balls

To make your own homemade wool dryer balls it’s important to buy a 100% wool yarn in order for the dryer balls to felt properly.  Finding the right yarn at the store is probably the most challenging part of this project!

When you venture out to the craft store and start browsing around, you’ll find that there aren’t many 100% wool yarns available and that makes total sense.  Wool is an itchy fiber to wear and requires hand washing, something knitters don’t find real desirable in their homemade sweaters.  The yarn manufacturers have prided themselves on making all kinds of cool new yarns available that give you that nice woolen look but aren’t as itchy and that you can just throw in the washing machine.  And knitters rejoiced!

{Until they wanted to make some dryer balls }  Then they grumbled.

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

I would recommend looking for the Patons  “Classic Wool”.   Patons is a brand that’s usually readily available at craft stores.  I found mine at Jo-Ann Fabric for $6.99 and used my 40% coupon to bring the cost down.  I was able to make three dryer balls from a 3.5 oz skein of Classic Wool.

You can also check out this Amazon link:   Paton’s Classic Wool

And of course if you want to be even more thrifty and resourceful, you can recycle an old 100% wool sweater by unraveling it and re-using the yarn to make dryer balls.

Here’s what to do:

How To Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

You Will Need:

  • 100% Wool Yarn

  • Blunt, large-eye yarn needle (such as these Needles on Amazon)

  • Scissors

  • Zippered Mesh Laundry Lingerie Bag (optional)

There are two steps to this project:  Winding the yarn balls, and then felting the yarn balls.

Winding the yarn dryer balls:     To start winding a ball of yarn, wind the yarn around a couple of your fingers a few times, then slide it off and wind the yarn around that little bundle, and just keep winding around and around from there, shifting directions a bit every few times around the ball.   Keep winding until you have a yarn ball about the size of a tennis ball.  As mentioned above, I was able to make three balls about this size from my 3.5 oz skein of yarn.

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

After you’ve wound a ball, cut the yarn leaving a tail a couple feet long.  Thread the tail into your yarn needle.  You are now going to push the needle with the tail of yarn in and out of your ball several times to secure it.

The first time I tried making a dryer ball, I only pushed the tail of yarn through once and called it good enough – but it wasn’t really good enough and came loose during the felting process.  So the next time I threaded the tail in and out of the ball about a half dozen times, going in all different directions.  That worked much better!  Trim off any remaining yarn close to the ball.

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

Felting the yarn dryer balls:    The next step is to felt the dryer balls.  The felting process compresses the yarn fibers together making the balls a more solid and firm mass.  This is done by putting the yarn balls through the washer using hot water, and then drying them in the dryer on a high setting.  (You can toss the balls in with a load of clothing to do this step of the process).

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

I put my three yarn balls in a zippered mesh laundry lingerie bag for this process which worked very well (my bag is a bargain from the dollar store).  I’ve also seen instructions that just have you tossing the balls straight into the washing machine, and some instructions that have you putting them in a sock or nylon pantyhose.  I believe any of these methods would work.

I found that after only one cycle through the washer and dryer, the felting wasn’t complete yet.  It takes two or three times through before you will see the fibers compressing more nicely into a solid ball.

How to make homemade wool dryer balls

To use the dryer balls:    To use the dryer balls you just throw a few into your dryer with a load of laundry.  The general advice is that the more dryer balls, the more you will see the benefit, with the usual amount being between 3 to 6 dryer balls.

I’m just in the beginning stages of testing out my homemade wool dryer balls and so far they do seem to be helping.  The down side is that they thump around – not too bad but you can definitely hear them.

How about you?  If you use this method I’d love to hear your experience!

 

You might also like to check out this homemade wrinkle release spray for a thrifty laundry solution!

 

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24 Comments

  1. I have been using these balls for months and they have not reduced cling or drying time! They might be reducing wrinkles. A few balls of aluminum foil completely stopped static cling!

  2. One note: You need to look around for humanely acquired wool if you are going to use these. I don’t know yet if this Paton checks their suppliers. Must be humane!!

  3. I have been using wool balls for a while now, but I bought mine. One set I bought included a couple of magnets with instructions to place them in the dryer opposite of each other. The magnets pull out static from the clothes. It works great except in the middle of winter when it is very dry.

    1. I have no idea how to get rid of static cling. I don’t have it alot where I live now. We have very hard water….maybe it’s that? I wish I could help you with the static cling thing. All I know is I’ve heard some people also use balls of aluminum foil and even tennis balls and say it works, but I can’t vouch for it. Sorry.

  4. I was able to get my balls to felt, however, I use 6 at a time and still have alot of static in my laundry. Suggestions???

  5. I made two dryer balls exactly as outlined – I have left mine in the stocking with a a knot and now MONTHS later – I still use them in the dryer, but the wool balls have NOT felted – no matter how HOT my dryer is, and yup I used 100% wool yarn.

    1. Mine never did felt. I gave up trying. Very disappointed. It cost me money….not saved. As wool yarn is expensive, I bought several rolls, and NONE that I made worked. Waste of time and money.

      1. I’m not sure why that is happening as mine did felt after a few trips through the dryer. That’s gotta be frustrating. I wish I knew where the problem was.

        1. Very frustrating. Even tried boiling water and adding it. Tried doing it at my mom’s, as her machine is newer and offers more heat settings and more agitation settings. Nothing still. Oh, well. At least I tried. Just drop a line if you hear of someone with similar issues who found a solution. Thanks.

          1. Shoot, because I was thinking maybe the problem wasn’t the heat of the dryers, but instead the heat of the water during the wet part of the process. BUT, it sounds like you tried that angle with the boiling water . . . and still no luck. Now I’m wondering if somehow it’s the yarn. That maybe even the 100% wool yarns are being altered somehow by the manufacturers.

            1. Could be. Just made me so mad cuz the 100% wool I had used had said “perfect for felting projects” in description on label. And…..no felting. Lol. I throw em in dryer still now and again just in case someday……

          2. Hi. I know Beverly mentions to throw in a mesh bag, but have you tried panty hose? Throw 4-5 balls down one leg. Be sure to tie a knot between each ball so they are nice and snug in the hose. Once that’s done, try repeating the wash/dry process a few times. Hope this tip can help. I need help with STATIC! Winter really likes to share her static cling :/.

    2. The wool is probably LESS likely to felt if you leave it in a nylon stocking.

      Read about felting on any knitters’ forum and you will see that hot water, suds, and friction are needed for quick felting. A lingerie bag (especially if the texture is more like netting rather than the fine, silky type of bag) can provide adequate friction, but a nylon stocking could actually get in the way because the balls can’t move around freely. The stocking will protect the surface, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

      Felting will happen even faster if you don’t use a lingerie bag, but if your yarn ball begins to unwind before it’s felted you’ll have a big mess.

      Also, they shouldn’t be the only thing in the washer or dryer. Again, you need friction, and that comes from having other items in the wash.

      I’ve felted a lot of things with the very yarns mentioned in this blog post – some of them intentionally, and some by mistake. Trust me – they felt.

  6. wow! i have been missing out! i just googled homemade fabric softener, and got loads of info on all these wonderful great ways to not only save money(yea), but also contributing to our environment. i’ll be letting lots of people no about your blog! thanks for your efforts and good will

  7. I’ve tried to make these wool dryer balls. Twice. Using 100% wool. NOT the washable kind. Followed all instructions. The first time it just looked like the same wool ball I wrapped. The second wool yarn I got said perfect for felting projects, and the yarn after that was wool felting yarn. They ALL look like just wrapped balls of yarn. I’m so frustrated cuz I was so excited. What am I doing wrong? Please help. Thanks.

    1. Stacy – Here’s a couple thoughts on some things to try. These wool balls will look more felted after several times through the washer and dryer. Sometimes after only the first time through they don’t look very felted yet. If you’ve only put them through the washer and dryer once, try two, three, or even four more times and see if that helps. Another thing is that the hotter the water in the washer, and the hotter they dryer, the more it helps to felt the wool. If the water in your washing machine isn’t that hot, you may want to try boiling some water on the stove and adding that into the washing machine to make sure you have very HOT water. Also make sure the dryer is on the hottest setting available when you are trying to felt the wool dryer balls.

      1. You can also just boil some water on the stove and let the wool balls sit in it for a while. Then squeeze a lot of water out and throw them into the dryer with a load.

  8. I have been using dryer balls for 5-6 years now. I got used to the thumping fairly fast. They do help reduce the time of drying as they keep the clothes from sticking together. LOVE them for towels and the king size sheets.