Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls

As far as household chores go, pulling warm, freshly dried clothes and linens from the dryer is a pretty good one.  It's even better when they are soft and static-free.  It's even, even better when "soft and static-free" is achieved by a non-toxic, chemical-free method.  Dryer balls are a wonderfully effective way to do just that without the need of synthetic fabric softeners and chemical-laced dryer sheets.  
Dryer balls keep clothes separated during the dry cycle allowing the heated air to circulate more freely, reducing wrinkles, increasing softness and drying more quickly which ultimately reduce energy consumption.  When made from 100% wool, they also help absorb static to keep clothing static-free.
And, bonus - they are the perfect vehicle for bringing the fresh, fragrant scent of lavender to your laundry!
Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Lavender Dryer Balls 

How to make wool dryer balls

Making wool dryer balls at home is simple and requires minimal supplies.  They are essentially balls of felted wool.  Have you ever accidentally dried a wool sweater only to find it has shrunk and the fabric have been come more dense?  That is felting.  Moisture, heat and agitation cause wool fibers to shrink and latch on to each other.  While a frustrating result for your sweater, it's perfect for creating natural dryer balls.
How many balls should you make?  For most household dryers, 3 balls is ideal.

What you'll need

  • 100% wool yarn (un-dyed)
  • scissors
  • a crochet hook or large needle
  • a bit of cotton string
  • a pair of nylons or cheesecloth or even a sock will do
  • a large pot of water or access to a washing machine
  • access to a dryer
A note on the wool: 
100% wool yarn or thin fabric strips are a must to create dryer balls.  (Remember that sweater you felted in the dryer?  If it is 100% pure wool you can cut it into thin strips and use it just like yarn to make your dryer ball.)  Wool fibers have small barbs on the outside of the individual strands that will latch on to each other to create a more solid finish and the density needed for the ball to hold its shape.  Using un-dyed wool will ensure there is no possibility of dye transfer onto your damp clothing.

Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Lavender Dryer Balls

Step 1

The first step is to wind up the inner core of the ball.  Start by wrapping the yarn around 3 fingers until it is substantial enough to hold in your hand.  
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
As you continue to wind, keeping the yarn tight, switch directions regularly so that the core is equally round. 
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
Continue until the core is roughly the size of a tennis ball.  Cut a yarn tail a few inches long and draw it through the core with a crochet hook so that it is secure and will not unravel.  Make all three of these inner cores before moving on to the next step.

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry

Step 2

When the three inner cores are finished, slide them into the leg of a pair of nylons.  Using the cotton string tie, off between each core so that each is tightly encased.  If you do not have a pair of nylons, wrap each core tightly in cheesecloth and tie off.

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls

Step 3

Add the dryer ball cores to a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat and agitate the balls periodically until the water cools.  This method can be a little smelly.  If you prefer your kitchen to not smell of a wet, wool sweater, you can pour the just-boiled water and dryer ball cores into the washing machine and run a small, short cycle on hot to shrink and felt the wool.

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls

Step 4

Squeeze any remaining water from the dryer ball cores and put them in the dryer on high heat until dry.  When they are dry, cut the knots between each and remove them from the nylons.  
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls
Now you are ready to finish the balls.  In the same manner as step 1, continue wrapping the core until each ball is roughly 4 inches in diameter.  This is slightly larger than the finished balls will be as they will shrink again before it is finished.

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls

Repeat steps 2 and 3.  Your dryer balls are now finished and ready to use!

Note: If your dryer balls are not as felted as you'd like, repeat steps 2 and 3 until you achieve the finish and tight felting you desire.  Some wool yarns may require a few rounds of felting depending on how tightly they are spun.

Handmade wool dryer balls will last for many years.  Simply add three to each dryer load of wet laundry.  And, don't forget your organic lavender essential oil!
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls
Who needs "fresh mountain spring" or "spring breeze" (whatever they smell like!?) when you can infuse your laundry with the fresh, fragrance of pure lavender?  Add a few drops of our organic lavender essential oil to each wool dryer ball a few hours before use, which will permit the oil to absorb further into the fibers and sustain a longer aroma release.  The heat from the dryer activates and disperses the lavender oil and lightly fragrances fabrics and surroundings.   For an additional boost of fragrance, pause the dry cycle just before the cool, air fluff portion and add a few more drops of essential oil to the dryer balls and recommence the cycle.
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls with Organic Lavender Essential Oil

Our lavender plants are organically and sustainably grown and harvested on our San Juan Island, WA farm.  We even distill our lavender essential oil at our own on-site distillery.  
Bring a touch of aromatherapy to your laundry chores and try our Organic Lavender Essential Oil to impart a 100% green and natural fragrance to your dryer-friendly washables.  When you empty the dryer, imagine yourself meandering through a field of blooming lavender on a warm, sunny day...

Extend the experience of blooming fields of lavender to your ironing or bedtime preparations with Lavender Linen Water. 

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls and Lavender Linen Water


  1. How much yarn is needed to make 3 dryer balls?

    1. Good question! It depends on the weight of the wool yarn, but as a general guide 4-6 skeins (600-1000 yards) of worsted weight 100% (undyed) wool yarn would be a good starting place.