While we're still in the vein of laundry for the Homemaking for the Modern Mama series this week, exploring an alternative to those costly and chemical-ridden dryer sheets and fabric softeners is our task today.
How does the average American spend money drying and softening clothes?
Bounce Dryer sheets (120 sheets / loads) = $15.27 or $30-$50 per year if you purchase 1 per month. Fabric Softener (40 loads) = $10.00 or $75.00-$100 per year if you purchase 1 per month.
If you're using natural dryer products:
Seventh Generation Natural Dryer sheets (65 sheets /loads) = $12.29 or $55-$75 per year if you purchase 1 per month. Seventh Generation Fabric Softener (40 loads) = $8.00 or $60.00 – $80.00 if you purchase 1 per month.
(Stats from Smart Klean)
Here's an incredible alternative: homemade dryer balls.
Dryer balls are simply felted wool balls that bounce around in your dryer. Based on the size you make, you simply throw 3-6 balls in your dryer and watch the magic begin.
What wool dryer balls do:
- absorb moisture from the clothes in the dryer, cutting your dryer time by 25-50%!
- help reduce static cling
- soften clothes
- can lightly scent clothing naturally with essential oils (optional)
- save a lots of money--dryer balls can last 7+ years
- dry and remove static naturally without chemicals
These dryer balls are wonderful for sensitive skin in children and adults. No chemicals, just pure wool bouncing around in your dryer saving you money.
What you need to make Wool Felted Dryer Balls:
- 100% wool yarn (Can be picked up at any sewing or crafting shop)
- crocheting needle
- old pantyhose or tights
- embroidery floss
- washer and dryer
1. You are basically making a ball of yarn to make these dryer balls. Start by wrapping the yarn around two fingers. Once you've wrapped it about 10-20 times, carefully pull the loop you've created off your fingers.
2. Pinch the loop so you can begin wrapping the yarn around the middle of the loop, tightly, as seen above. Keep wrapping the yarn until the middle begins to look round like a ball. From here you are free to keep wrapping in any direction. Remember you're trying to achieve a tight ball.
3. Wrap the yarn until you make a ball with a circumference of around 5-6 inches. Remember to keep it nice and tight as you wrap.
4. With your crocheting needle, thread the end piece of yarn through some of the ball to secure.
5. Continue making balls this way.
5. Now for the felting. Cut the leg off of an old pair of pantyhose--I used tights. Slide one ball into the toe of the tights and tie off with embroidery floss. Don't use your wool yarn. Continue with the remaining balls, tying them off as you go.
6. It should look like a snake that has eaten oranges when you are finished. Now you're ready to throw the snake into the washer with a hot load. Then off it goes into the dryer with a load on high heat.
7. Once the first felting is complete (your wool balls will look more solid as the wool has started to merge together), add more yarn to each ball until you've reached the size of a tennis ball. You can go larger or smaller, depending on how many balls you intent to use in your dryer.
Repeat the above steps and back through the snake into the washer on hot and dryer on high heat. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil before you put them in the snake one last time. This will add a nice fragerance to your clothes in the dryer.
Now your felted wool dryer balls are complete. You may begin using them in your dryer! They will become more and more felted with each use, preventing them from even falling apart. These truly can last for many years before needing to be replaced. I love them!!!! I think you will too. (Plus kids love tossing them around.)
Pretty incredible, right?
A perfect homemade, money-saving, natural approach to Homemaking for the Modern Mama.
Monday's Homemaking for the Modern Mama post: Homemade Laundry Detergent
Stay tuned all week for more ideas!
the sleepy time gal