Make Your Own Dryer Balls with Wool Roving

Make Your Own Dryer Balls with Wool Roving

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Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about these new dryer balls!

If you’ve been following along here at Yankee Homestead for very long, you may know that I haven’t used dryer sheets or laundry softener for years.  Instead, we use wool dryer balls to soften laundry and remove static in the dryer.

Did you know that dryer sheets and laundry softener are loaded with toxic chemicals?  They are no good for your family’s health, and they don’t do the washing machine or dryer any favors, either.  Ask any appliance repair man!

Formerly, I made our dryer balls from wool yarn.  They worked well for a number of years, until recently.  I’m not sure exactly why, but my last few batches of wool dryer balls have not held up well.

I’ve followed the same procedure and used the same yarn, even washing and drying the balls multiple times to ensure a stronger felting process.  The only two possible explanations I can think of are that perhaps the yarn quality has changed, or I just do a whole lot more laundry these days and the balls can’t withstand the abuse.

At any rate, our dryer balls were lasting for only about six months or less before unraveling or exploding into a total mess in the dryer.  I was not amused.

It’s hard enough to keep the laundry going, without having to stop and detangle a mess like this! 

For a while, I just haven’t used anything at all.  But I still loved the concept of wool dryer balls, and began to read more about them here and there online.  I realized that many folks make dryer balls out of wool roving instead of wool yarn, and from what I could tell, the balls made from wool roving seemed to hold together better than those made from yarn.

The hardest part, in my opinion, was locating wool roving.  I looked at many sources and finally bought mine from Promised Land Fibers on etsy.

Once the roving arrived, the rest was super-easy–much easier and faster than making dryer balls from yarn.  Hooray!

Make Your Own Dryer Balls with Wool Roving

Materials

  • wool roving–about 1 oz per ball*
  • panty hose or long sock(s)
  • regular, non-wool yarn or string
  • (scissors)

Instructions

  1. Wrap the roving around several fingers a few times, until a small clump begins to form.
    Wrap the roving around your fingers
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  2. Slide the clump off your fingers and continue wrapping the roving around the clump to form a small ball.
    Small dryer ball
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  3. Continue wrapping roving around and around, tightly, until your ball reaches the desired size–about the size of a tennis ball.  To finish the ball, simply pull the wool roving until it separates from the rest of the roving.
    Finished dryer ball
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  4. Carefully insert the ball into the end of a sock or panty hose leg, and tie it off with a small section of non-wool yarn.  Be sure to tie a good knot, or multiple knots–you want those balls to stay put inside the sock while traveling through the washing machine and dryer!
    Dryer balls tied into sock
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  5. Repeat the process until you have your desired number of dryer balls.  I recommend 6-8 balls.
  6. Run the balls (tied securely into the socks) through a HOT load of laundry in the washing machine and then the dryer, on HIGH heat.
  7. Remove the balls from the socks and begin using them in your dryer!
    Wool Dryer Balls from Roving
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*Note: If you have 100% wool yarn or old 100% wool sweaters, etc., you can use those for the core of your wool dryer balls.  I had saved several of our old wool dryer balls that were beginning to unravel or had exploded in the dryer, and used those for the core of several new dryer balls.  I simply wrapped several layers of wool roving around my yarn and yarn balls to form new balls.  UPDATE 1/8/15: The dryer balls made from yarn cores with roving wrapped around it did not perform well.  They all came undone, while the balls made completely from roving are still going strong almost 7 months later.  Read more here: Wool Dryer Ball Update.

Like I said, the process of making dryer balls from wool roving was so much easier than making them out of wool yarn.  They felted right away, too–just one trip through the washing machine and dryer–and seem like they’ll hold together much more securely than the balls made from yarn.  Plus, the wool roving cost less and made more dryer balls than the yarn.  What’s not to love about this? I’m already a huge fan!

We’ve used these new dryer balls for several weeks now and they’re working really well.  As I observe their performance over an extended period of time, I’ll be sure to update you here. 🙂 Here’s the update: Wool Dryer Ball Update.

What do you use in your dryer?

 

Make Your Own Dryer Balls with Wool Roving
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

14 Comments

  1. Robin on 06/05/2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’m excited to hear how long these last compared to the wool yarn dryer balls.

    • Janice Sivulich on 06/05/2014 at 7:11 pm

      Hey Kathleen!! Did you use any oils in these for fragrance? just curious… been playing with the idea of doing this. It seems silly to me that I make our own detergent and then put them thru the dryer with a Bounce Dryer bar… duh…. lol 😉

      • Kathleen on 06/06/2014 at 2:56 pm

        Janice–I completely forgot to mention in the post that you definitely can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to one or more dryer balls to scent your laundry. I’ve only done it once in a while, because I just haven’t gotten into the habit, and simply keeping the laundry going often feels like an accomplishment in itself, without adding another step. 🙂 But by all means, yes, you should experiment with that! 🙂

    • Kathleen on 06/06/2014 at 2:53 pm

      Me too. 🙂 (So far, they’re holding up wonderfully. I’ll keep you posted!)

  2. Sarah C on 02/03/2015 at 2:25 am

    Hi Kathleen–I was very excited to find this information on your blog! I’ve got sensitive skinned people I’m doing laundry for each day and I’ve struggled to find something that at least takes the static out of the clothes without causing my family’s skin to become unhappy. Anyway, 2 questions for you–1) the link you gave for the place to buy it on etsy no longer sells it. Soo, what exactly am I looking to buy? Wool roving gives a lot of different results when searched. 2) I’m not too excited about the little pieces of wool you find on the clothing. Have you tried keeping the wool balls tied into a nylon? Does that still help with the static while keeping the wool contained? Thanks!

    • Kathleen on 02/06/2015 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Sarah, I’m sorry my seller isn’t selling it anymore…that’s one of the troubles with etsy. I just searched for wool roving, and looked for a clean source plus a good price. I noticed some folks advertising “Destashing”, as in, they were trying to get rid of some of their stash and had lowered the price on certain colors, etc. I haven’t tried containing the balls inside the dryer, namely because I know panty hose is made of unnatural fibers, which I’m not sure I want to heat in the dryer with our clothes. (Even though lots of our clothing has unnatural fibers, too, I guess.) Really, the only place I notice the wool shedding is on our towels and I’ve decided to overlook it. 🙂

      • Kathleen on 02/06/2015 at 7:16 pm

        PS–I paid $8 for 4 oz wool roving. (I actually bought 16 ounces, to keep on hand for gifts and dryer ball replacement. I used only 4 ounces to make my set of dryer balls.)

  3. Diana on 05/09/2015 at 1:28 pm

    I have bought the roving yarn at a yarn shop that sells yarns for weaving. I have been using my dryer balls for well over 2 years and still holding up.

    • Kathleen on 05/29/2015 at 12:56 am

      Good to know, Diana. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Tomi Johns on 12/02/2016 at 1:18 am

    I am thinking of making these as Christmas gifts this year and was wondering how they are holding up after two years? Also other than them shedding on towels, have you noticed shedding on your clothes? Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Bonnie Hennessy on 05/31/2017 at 1:06 am

    I tried doing this but used the wrong kind of “yarn”…acrylic! lol! Don’t do that! They will unravel and tangle with everything.

    • Kathleen on 05/31/2017 at 1:38 am

      Oh dear! Yes, 100% wool is essential.

  6. Aileen O on 12/24/2017 at 10:09 pm

    I made my 2 yarn balls out of cascade ecowool. It’s been a 3+ years now and they haven’t unravelled. I made mine really tight though and they’re a little heavy even if big so maybe that’s a factor? I noticed they’re starting to fuzz a little and collect fuzz from some of the linens/clothes but I just pull them off when I notice them. I also re-cycled an old wool sock from yarn that’s not great quality/kept pilling, so I felted it, put a foil ball I rolled up tight & folded it into the sock. I read somewhere it also helps with the static. And I keep a peppermint essential oil bottle on the shelf above my dryer so it’s been an automatic regimen for me now & barely takes seconds to put on the wool balls.

    • Kathleen on 12/28/2017 at 9:28 pm

      Sounds like you’ve got a great system, Aileen!

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