In my investigations into non-toxic, low cost solutions to things like laundry, I came upon the phenomenon of wool dryer balls.
Now, you may be wondering, what the heck are wool dryer balls and why should I care? Well, I did a little searching around and found that word is that felted wool dryer balls can not only help you eliminate the use of dryer sheets, but also can cut the drying time of clothes. The balls bounce around in the dryer, fluffing the clothes as they bounce, which helps the airflow, which dries the clothes faster.
Of course, the REAL way to be environmentally conscious would be to HANG the clothes to dry, and I did do that for a while, but found I didn’t have the persistence to stick with it.
Anyway I decided to give these a try. I used the method at this website: http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/ BTW, she’s got some great pictures of the process.
I bought 2 skeins of 100% wool yarn at the craft store. They have to be 100% wool or they won’t felt properly.
I rolled them into balls, about tennis ball sized. Then I threaded the loose end back into the ball so it wouldn’t unravel. The next step is to get the wool threads to “felt” together into a solid ball of wool.
Put the balls of yarn into an old stocking and tie knots between them. Do not use yarn for your knots, you don’t want the ties to felt, just the dryer balls.
Then run them through with a few loads of clothes for wash and dry cycles (the hotter the water the better) and eventually, they get “felted” and turn into solid balls of wool.
Just toss a few wool dryer balls in the dryer with the wet clothes and you’ve freed yourself from dryer sheets forever.
I ran the numbers on this:
2 skeins of yarn cost $19.95 and created 7 dryer balls (6 regular size and one a little runty). That’s $2.85 per ball for virtually unlimited use, but let’s say it would cover 1000 loads of laundry. So, that’s .002 cents per load, versus $6.99 for 80 sheets of Bounce Unscented which comes out to .08 cents per load. Yes, we’re still talking pennies, but they add up. And besides, making the dryer balls was fun.
If you’re not in the mood to make your own, you can buy wool dryer balls from lots of different places online.