I make A LOT of dryer balls. What is a dryer ball, you ask? Let me tell you. First of all, why are dryer sheets so bad? Here is a list why:
1. Dryer sheets can leave a residue on your laundry.
2. They can create a "perfume cloud" where your dryer vents outside.
3. They can contain harmful chemicals that stick to your clothes, become airborne and rub off on your skin.
4. The chemicals can cause health problems like asthma.
5. Some contain EDC's (endocrine disrupting compounds) that can affect developing reproductive and nervous systems, cancer, and metabolism.
6. In some tests, they are WORSE than bathroom and kitchen cleaners.
7. Companies are not required to list all the ingredients in a dryer sheet.
8. They should only be used once.
Which brings us to dryer balls. My dryer balls are about 98% wool. The reason they are not 100% is that there may be some acrylic yarn in the core. I use leftover yarns from my knitting projects for the middle. I also get leftover balls from friends. Some of these may be wool/acrylic blends. The majority of the ball is made from unspun sheep's roving. My dryer balls have no plastic, no rubber, no tennis balls and no pointy edges. I have been making them for three years and have sold over 300. I try to make them from local sheep wool and they can last for YEARS. My trial set of balls are almost 4 years old and going strong. Here is why a set of dryer balls (3 for me) works better than a dryer sheet:
1. Dryer balls work together in the dryer to help break up laundry so they don't stick together. This helps the clothes to dry a little faster.
2. The dryer balls help to soften clothes and towels because they are continuously rubbing against the laundry during the cycle.
3. As with anything you use, try not to overstuff your dryer. The balls work best in medium to small sized loads. If you have a bigger load, section it to smaller loads, it's better for the dryer. You can try adding more balls to see if that helps.
4. There are NO CHEMICALS added at all.
5. The balls are all unscented. I have known customers who will add essential oils to their balls to give a hint of smell. Just be sure to let the balls sit for an hour or so to make sure the oils sink into the ball so they won't stain your clothes. I do advise my customers to do this AT THEIR OWN RISK.
6. Static electricity.....do they take it away or not? Yes and no. If you remove your clothes from the dryer as soon as it stops, then the static electricity is greatly reduced. If you let your laundry sit for a bit after the drying cycle is done, the static electricity does come back. I am working on a solution to this.
7. They help with lint.
8. They can last a long, long time.
I get a lot of skepticism as to whether or not dryer balls actually work. I was skeptical when I first heard about them. A friend gave me an old set of hers and said "Just try them." I have been using them ever since. I wanted my dryer balls to be pretty. I start with a wool core, wrap unspun sheep's roving around the core and needlefelt it every few rounds. This maintains the shape I want as well as keeping all the ends together. When the ball reaches a size I like, I then decorate it with leftover yarns or colored roving. I then needlefelt it a bit more to make sure it feels the way I think it should before I tie it into the leg of pantyhose. When I have about 10-12 balls in a leg, I toss the string in the wash with towels or whatever needs to be washed. The balls go through both a wash and a dry cycle. When they are fully dry they get cut out of the leg and strung together, 3 balls to a set. I try to put two decorated balls with one plain. There have been some days when seeing a colorful dryer ball in the dryer has made me smile. I know, it's the little things sometimes.
The final question I often get is where to keep them when you don't need them. My set comes on a string. Just cut the string and pull the balls off and toss them into the dryer. Just LEAVE THEM. Mine live in the dryer all the time. That way, I know where they are. Sometimes, they try to escape when the laundry is done and I am folding clothes. They love to hide in sleeves, pockets of pants and bottom sheets, folds of towels or they just try bouncing out. Find them and toss them back in. There is a warning to them....be careful of pets walking away with them, children stealing them to throw at each other or to teach themselves the Art of Juggling. Try not to throw them at your spouse or partner. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.