A couple weeks ago I posted this picture to Instagram with the caption: “Blogging has encouraged me to try so many things I’ve never done before… like make my own bench cushion…”
It seems that other bloggers have experienced the same thing, and Jen, over at I Heart Organizing, is one of them. During the month of October she has a challenge called “Dare to DIY With A New Supply”.
Since I am cleaning/organizing/making-over my laundry room during the One Room Challenge, I thought I’d throw in some cleaning tips you can use… in the laundry room. When this challenge appeared, I knew where I was going to start: DIY Wool Dryer Balls. I have been wanting to try these FOREVER. They fit the challenge perfectly because this is my first time EVER using yarn. I do not know how to crochet or knit, so I’ve never had a reason to buy yarn in the past.
Here’s What You’ll Need
- 100% Wool Yarn (Remember 100% wool… I found acrylic up the wazoo (do we use that word?) in the craft store, and only a few skeins of 100% wool. This is not going to work with acrylic, because you need the wool to felt)
- Essential Oil (Optional) (Not sure where to buy essential oils? Check out this post.)
I know. These are items that have never once made an appearance in the cleaning section, nor would I really think of them as cleaning products… You learn something new every day.
Start by wrapping the yarn several times around your pointer and middle finger (Yes, it does appear my hands could use some lotion):
Pinch it in the middle and wrap the yarn around the pinched area.
Keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping, working the yarn around in a circle until you get a ball about the size of a tennis ball (mine are probably a little smaller):
Cut the yarn and tuck it under some of the other layers.
I was able to make 6 balls with the 2 skeins of yarn I bought.
Next, you’ll want to place each ball into the leg of some nylons, tying a knot in between each ball.
Take these nylon-wrapped wool balls, and throw them into your next load of towels, washing them in HOT water. After washing, throw them in the dryer on HIGH heat. This process is what causes the wool to felt and stick together. Once you remove them from the dryer, cut the nylons to free the wool balls.
If you’d like to add a little scent to your dryer balls, just place a drop or two of essential oils onto a couple of the balls. I, personally, go with lavender, but if you have a different favorite oil, go for it!
Now you can throw these balls into your dryer in place of dryer sheets. The claim is that these balls not only soften your laundry, but also cut drying time because they keep your clothes separated, much like adding tennis balls would. Knowing me, I had to try this theory out for myself, so I timed a load of laundry using a dryer sheet vs. the dryer balls (I tried my best to keep the loads equal in size with 30 items in each load). Here are the results:
- Dryer Sheet= 50 minutes, 45 seconds
- Wool Dryer Balls= 41 minutes, 41 seconds
That’s almost a 20% decrease in dry time. The first 2 items I pulled out of the laundry were a robe and a pair of shorts, and I could hear the static as I pulled them out. I was SO disappointed, but as I removed all the other clothes, they seemed completely static-free. I was a little baffled, so I looked at what others had to say about their experience. I found that, while wool dryer balls work great at reducing static for most fabrics, it doesn’t do well with synthetic materials, like Polyester. I checked the label on both the robe and shorts… 100% Polyester. I tried another load with my towels, socks, and undergarments (all 100% cotton items), and when the load was finished, there was NO static. I wanted to let you know my true experience so you have all the information.
UPDATE: I found the easiest trick to eliminate static, whether natural or synthetic fibers… You can read all about it HERE.
How Much Do You Save?:
Buying Dryer Sheets in the Store
- Dryer Sheets= I’ve decided not to go with the cheapest dryer sheets I could find for this cost breakdown because I don’t think generic dryer sheets work well, so I, personally, would never use them. Bounce Dryer Sheets at Walmart= $8.94 for 240 sheets.
If I were to dry 6 loads of laundry each week, these would last me 40 weeks.
Making Your Own Dryer Balls
- 2 Skeins of Wool= $10.48… Now if you have an old wool sweater, you could unravel it and use it, thus saving even more money.
- Nylons= Hopefully you have an old pair of nylons which you could use for free. If not, Walmart has a pair for $1.99.
I realize I am just starting to use these balls, so I can’t tell you how long they will truly last, but according to information I found online, many report 4+ years. Plus, by reducing drying time, you save money on gas/electricity.
Over the course of 4 years you would spend $46.49 on dryer sheets if averaging 6 loads of laundry each week. Over the same time-frame, you would spend up to $12.47 on DIY Dryer Balls (if you need both nylons and skeins of wool). The savings over 4 years is $34.02, or $8.50 each year.
… and let’s be honest, these wool dryer balls are a whole lot cuter than dryer sheets. Right?
Tomorrow I’m sharing all my wonderful plans for the laundry room, so I hope you’ll stop over.
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