I have thought about these dryer balls ever since I saw them a few years ago, the problem for me was they didn’t appear in the budget and there was no real evidence to show that they were any good. I was unsure if they would work and I wasn’t going to waste good money on these items if they were just a fad and didn’t really work! Luckily for me, I didn’t buy these because these plastic balls, in theory, work great, they increase the airflow around the clothes and can soften the clothes. Unfortunately, many people I spoke to weren’t happy in the length of time these plastic balls worked for, often they would break within a month or so and the potential of plastic toxins leaking into the clothes.
My Dryer Balls
I wanted to reduce the amount of time it takes to dry my clothes in the tumble dryer. Soft clothes would be good too, I don’t use a tumble dryer sheet, mainly because I don’t like the expense of them and haven’t felt the need to add them to my budget in years.
Therefore, I read up on the homemade options, you can make them from tin foil, tennis balls and wool. I tried the tin foil and that just annoyed me, I couldn’t have screwed it up tight enough and it fell apart! I don’t want to use tennis balls as I thought they would make too much noise so I opted for the wool version.
My Dumb Mistake
I had three part-used balls of wool, I had no idea of the wool grade, I just hoped, at least, one of them would be 100 % wool as all the research documentation points to this being necessary for the felting of the wool. This is where the wool sticks together and stops the ball unravelling in the tumble dryer.
I wound the balls, I found this therapeutic, to about 2 inches in diameter and put them into an old sock, which I tied off so the ball wouldn’t come out and I put this first into the washing machine. The wool I used had some colour so I did the first test in a coloured load of clothes and then they went in the tumble dryer with the washing, I repeated the washing a drying cycles for a couple of times.
Obviously, none of the wool was 100% wool, only one of the six I made actually felted, as per the different sites I had read up about the process; however, I was not about to go out and buy a ball of 100% wool, have you seen the price?
The more I read, the only piece of information I could gather was this felting process just stops the ball from unravelling, so why not just sew the dryer balls so that none of the threads could come undone and unwound in the dryer? There was no evidence to show that the reason for using 100% wool was anything more than guaranteeing that the dryer balls didn’t come undone.
My Results Using My Version Of The Dryer Balls
I wouldn’t say that it has been plain sailing, there is a lot to think about when you don’t want to spend money, but to make do with the items already on hand. I had to think through the next step when the felting didn’t work, and I am really pleased. I have noticed a difference in the softness of the items that come out of the tumble dryer, it is still early days and I am noticing a short amount of time difference in the drying of the clothes, any difference and this is saving me money.
I also did a colour test to make sure the colour in the dryer balls wouldn’t run if they were with light coloured clothes.
I think the improvements I want to make is to increase the size of the dryer balls, in comparison to some I have seen, mine are small and by increasing the size it could have even more impact on the softness of the clothes and maybe reduce the drying time even more, too.
Therefore, I’m pleased that I have tried this experiment with dryer balls, they haven’t cost me anything to make and they do reduce the drying time and the softness, but I have had to take the time and decide the best course of action once I discovered my wool wasn’t a 100% wool. They are something that I am going to continue to use, after all, they did work!
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