Make what you need, right at home, to stave off unnecessary trips to the store. We’re posting a daily series of ideas from our book and our homes, offered freely - You can see the entire collection here on the Buy Nothing Project Facebook page. Today's Home Hack comes from Liesl, who has been using these for years.
Dryer balls are reusable fabric softeners, static cling eliminators, and drying-time reducers you can make at home. We love them because they can be used over and over again, eliminating the need to buy dryer sheets or fabric softener.
Here’s how to make them yourself: Gather up some wool. You'll need a bit of 100% wool yarn to form the balls; if you happen to have a lot of it in old skeins looking for a project, that's all you'll need. If you don't have a full skein of yarn, an old wool sweater or some wool socks will do the trick - cut your sweater or socks into 6"x 6" squares, then ball the up in your hands at tightly as you can. Wind wool yarn around the mass of assorted wool pieces (or, if you have enough wool yarn, simply wind it all into a tight ball). Keep going, round and round, until the wool ball has reached tennis ball size. These work best in a group, so make 2-3 or more then move onto the next step. Grab some oddball socks (I visit my single socks stash for this), and place each wool ball inside its own sock, then tie off the end of the sock to trap the ball inside it securely. You can also use pantyhose for this step, instead of socks.
Put these into the washing machine with a small amount of laundry detergent on a long cycle with hot water, and throw in a few old towels or T-shirts. You can run the cycle twice, just to be sure that the wool balls are felting up. Transfer the wet wash into the dryer for a high heat cycle and dry everything completely.
Now’s the fun part, the great reveal! Untie the socks and pull your the now-felted wool balls from their sock prisons. Each one will have felted up nicely! They're ready for use - toss them into your dryer with future loads of wet laundry and they'll work their magic.
Experts at this have suggested putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the wool balls about every 4th load you dry, so use your favorite-smelling oil and it’ll make your laundry smell divine.