Want to save money doing laundry??
Wool Dryer Balls.
My husband is in our kitchen doing dishes right now, grinning.
Alright folks, lets get this out of our system and get a hardy 7th grade chuckle and move on:
This post is about fuzzy balls.
I said it.
You know you were all thinking it and there’s no way around it, so lets be adults about this and move on with the topic of, ahem. fuzzy balls.
WOOL DRYER BALLS to be exact.
And in addition to making you giggle on the inside, these dryer balls are going to save you a ton of money!
ok. time to be an adult and return to our G-rating.
Here at Cheeky Bums, we haven’t talked much about New Year’s Resolutions. They’re great and all, but everyone is doing them. I’ve done them. And then forgotten about them (or broken them) by approximately January 4th or 5th. However, Rusty and I have one MAJOR resolution this year, and that’s to decrease spending and to hopefully have more than $8 at any given time in our savings. Lofty goals, people. Aim high.
As we have been looking at areas to cut cost, line drying our clothes has always been something that we want to do, but never stick with. First, because right now, it’s only 20′ F here in northern Indiana and frozen skivvies are so much fun (said no one ever). Also, the line that we currently use for our clothes only holds a small load of laundry. I have 3 children. We end up hanging towels over chairs, sweaters on heating vents…you get the picture. It looks like our closets threw up on our living room and it makes my A.D.D. go a million miles per hour.
However, this is one area where you can potentially save quite a bit each month, so I didn’t want to give up! Depending on the type of dryer you use, how often you do laundry, etc. you can estimate that it costs approximately $0.21 per hour to run your dryer on medium, but it could go as high as $0.50 p/load depending on the cost of electricity in your area, efficiency, etc. Because my hubby does manual labor, we have little ones and I occasionally put my cloth diapers in the dryer, I do anywhere from 7-10 loads per week (no joke…). This adds up fast and is one area that we wanted to cut back on, without draping towels everywhere!
low and behold:
WOOL DRYER BALLS.
The wool balls are meant to bounce around in the dyer with your laundry, thus agitating them a little more, as well as absorbing more of the humidity and dampness. Unbelievably, if you use 4-6 of these with each load of laundry, you can cut your drying time by 25-50%!! That’s a HUGE savings in time and money per month. Plus, as an additional bonus, you don’t need fabric softener! The wool fibers rubbing against your clothing, combined with the constant agitation, will leave your clothes soft and fluffy! Like the “fresh” scent of fabric softener? Simply add a few drops of essential oils to the balls before you place them in the dryer and ditch those nasty, skin coating synthetic chemicals! (and side note – in case you’re wondering – the colors don’t run and the wool does NOT add any extra lint to your clothing!! Once it has “felted” (more on that in a second) it won’t rub off or lint. )
Here is how I made mine (and you can learn from my mistakes and adjust accordingly!)
DIY Wool Dryer Balls
There are some really pretty dryer balls out there on etsy in lovely colors, and I realized that it couldn’t be that hard to make my own! I looked at several tutorials that all called for wool yarn or wool roving, neither of which I owned. However, on a recent trip to the thrift store, I found this lovely, slightly stained beauty for 75% off:
This would be the dryer-sacrifice…(prepare your self….this gets gory).
First, I chopped it to bits in all it’s fuzzy glory. I started snipping and cut it into approximately 1″ wide strips of varying lengths (although the longest pieces were definitely easiest to work with)
Next, I started gathering the smallest pieces to be the center of the ball and I clumped them all together.
Then, I grabbed the longer pieces and wound those tightly around the smaller clump, making a very frumpy wool ball.
Form a clump the size of a tennis ball.
Now, at this point, all of those other tutorials said to wrap wool roving around the pieces. I didn’t have any wool roving. But wool is wool, right? It should still work…? right? No. Here’s where I realized (after I was done) that having the roving would have made things a little prettier and a little more user friendly.
If you DO have roving, wrap it tightly around your frumpy clump and then place the frumpy clump into the toe of an old pair of panty hose. Tie it off, keeping the ball as tightly formed as possible, and then repeat.
(if you don’t have wool roving either, then follow along and adapt like I did. )
Once all of the frumpy clumps are in the panty hose and you’ve tied off the last one, throw it in with your normal laundry. Wash it at least 4-6 times (preferably on hot). This makes the wool “felt” . The fibers tighten and shrink and if you use the roving, it seals in the smaller pieces. Once you’ve washed them several times, dry them with a load of laundry on high to make sure that they are completely hot and dry through. (I ran them through several dryer cycles to make sure) Once they’re completely dry, carefully cut them out of the panty hose, and voila, felted wool dryer balls!
Now, if you’re like me and you don’t use the roving, well. It doesn’t felt. At least mine didn’t. The first wool ball I cut out of the panty hose turned into wool confetti and I was back to the beginning with all of my chopped up sweater. So instead of buying roving, I am cheap and I decided to make due.
I decided not to make wool dryer balls.
Instead, I made a wool sausage string.
Although not as pretty, and although it doesn’t fluff my clothes quite as well, it’s still just as cost effective and I can still add essential oils.
There are also several other perks to making a sausage string:
1. I don’t lose individual balls in the dryer the same way I lose socks in the dryer. I always have them together and they work just as well in cutting down drying time.
2. The kids don’t steal them to play with, thus I am not fishing for individual balls in the bottom of the toy box.
3. I didn’t have to lug my gang to the craft store to buy wool roving.
And there you have it! Search through your closet for that ugly, itchy wool sweater you never wear, grab the scissors and some panty hose (you know you don’t mind sacrificing those!) and get to work!