DIY Wool Dryer Balls – Natural Laundry in Less Time

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How to make wool dryer balls
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Ask any mom… laundry is a never-ending job in a family! I am always looking for a way to save time on laundry and I certainly like helping the environment, so these wool dryer balls made it on my DIY project list.

These wool dryer balls are easy to make and serve a very practical purpose: they help decrease drying time by separating clothes in the dryer to allow more air flow. Less drying time means less energy used, which helps the environment (and saves money!)

What’s more, they eliminate static, make clothes soft, decrease wear and tear, and are the perfect way to scent laundry naturally with a few drops of essential oil.

No more chemical-filled dryer sheets? Sold!

Why Use Wool?

What makes wool special? Wool is a natural fiber that resists melting and is flame-resistant, making it perfect for use in the dryer. In addition, thanks to the protective properties of natural lanolin in wool, these balls will not retain water or mold.

So how to turn wool into a ball? Felting! Heat, moisture, agitation, and pressure turn wool into a smooth fabric. That’s great for projects like this but also the reason it is not recommended to wash wool clothing in a machine. (Learned that the hard way with my favorite sweater in college!)

What About Washable Wool?

Washable wool is not pure wool and does not behave the same way. Chemical compounds coat the strands of wool and make it impossible to felt. These chemicals are permanent and will never wear off. While this makes wool clothing easier to clean, it does not make dryer balls (and also increases exposure to chemicals).

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

While you can buy dryer balls, felting is fun and making your own saves money. Here’s what you need for the DIY version:

Materials Needed

Make sure that the yarn used is 100% pure wool. Only pure wool will felt, or shrink, and form solid balls.


  1. Begin with wool yarn. Wrap around three fingers 8-12 times.
  2. Twist yarn into figure 8 to form a little “bundle.”
  3. Wrap yarn around center of bundle.
  4. Continue wrapping around, alternating direction until it forms a small ball. I found this tutorial helpful.
  5. Wrap yarn until you reach a ball that is the size of a tennis ball or softball.
  6. Use blunt needle or crochet hook to pull a length of wool yarn under several layers of the ball.
  7. Pull yarn end out and clip with scissors.
  8. Cover ball with one layer of wool roving. (This is optional but will make ball smoother)
  9. Repeat step of pulling roving through ball.
  10. Make 3 – 6 balls repeating steps 1 through 9.
  11. Cut off legs of pantyhose and drop balls into the legs.
  12. Tie off with cotton yarn to separate balls.
  13. Wash collection of yarn balls in a hot wash with detergent.
  14. Dry on high heat.
  15. Repeat if balls need additional felting. (You will know they are ready if they look smooth and feel compact.)
  16. Cut balls free from pantyhose, and use!

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls

  • Wool balls can live in the dryer because the wool will not hold onto moisture, so there is no risk of mildew or mold. It’s recommended to use three to six balls for best results.
  • Adding just a couple of drops of essential oils to each ball with freshen a whole load of laundry.
  • Most dryer balls will last about 1000 washes. If they start to come apart, try re-felting them in a hot wash.

What Color Yarn Is Best?

Bold-colored yarn may look pretty all felted, but those colors won’t be as pretty on your clothes! Light or undyed wool is best. I have a friend who spins her own yarn, so I used a natural skein from her alpacas.

If you find you are short on time and are searching for a pre-made alternative, Branch Basics has wool dryer balls that are free of pesticides, dyes and fragrance and will last between 3-5 years!

Enjoy cleaner, more natural laundry in less time!

Have you tried wool dryer balls? What did you think?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


22 responses to “DIY Wool Dryer Balls – Natural Laundry in Less Time”

  1. Joyce Caneday Avatar
    Joyce Caneday

    It has been a while since I made these and I need to make a few more. I seem to recall that the yarn shop clerk told me I could use a non-wool yarn to start making a ball and then use the wool on the outside. I have lots of leftover small amounts of cotton and acrylic yarn. Am I thinking correctly that I could get the ball started with these and finish with wool?

  2. Sonya Renee Burkheimer Avatar
    Sonya Renee Burkheimer

    I was curious how you came up with 1000 washes. I made them about 7 years ago and they still look the same. I was thinking they might last forever.

  3. Rachel Avatar

    I used wool roving from my shetland sheep. The balls felted but are not smooth. WHen i took them out of the stockings they seemed to stick and i really had to tug to get them out. How do I make them smooth?

  4. Cheryl Knapp Avatar
    Cheryl Knapp

    I love wool dryer balls but have found that my mom is allergic to wool/lanolin and can’t use them. Is there some way to cover them to keep them from touching the clothes? I know it sounds absurd. Or is there another home remedy for drying clothes without chemicals?

  5. Becky Avatar

    I love my purchased wool dryer balls, but sometimes I get break-through static – depends on the fabric of what I am drying. It sounds fun to make them!

  6. Robin V. Avatar
    Robin V.

    I just pick up a pair of wool socks from Goodwill. Roll into a ball and put in dryer. Done.

  7. Ann Avatar

    I made
    These type of dryer balls and they fell apart. I must have done Something wrong.

  8. Gloriamarie Avatar

    I don’t understand how hot wool eliminates static. Seems to me it would cause it.

    My question, which has yet to be answered is this: will these dryer balls do the same thing as dryer sheets and suck lint and cat hair from items?

  9. Helene Avatar

    Unless you put the EO on the balls for only about 10 min and only on low heat (once the clothes are already dried), you are wasting ur EOs. The smell is destroyed by the heat needed to dry the clothes. I certainly have no time for this and was bummed to realize this as using EOs to get a great smell on my clothes was my big reason to purchase wool dryer balls 🙁

  10. melissa Avatar

    I also experience SO much static when I use wool balls. Can you provide any tricks or reasoning for the increase in static when I’m using wool balls if you are seeing decreased static on your end? I’ve actually used them for 2 years now although to be honest I don’t know if they are serving any purpose. They for sure aren’t helping static.

    1. Debbie Ritter Avatar
      Debbie Ritter

      I got this tip from a friend that makes and uses wool balls exclusively …….. run a large safety pin throughout a part of the ball and the logic is that it conducts the static electricity to the walls of the dryer. And it does help – I was skeptical but tried it with mine and it works.

    2. Kim Platt Avatar
      Kim Platt

      I’ve used dryer balls for several years now with no static issues. It might be because I use vinegar in the wash cycle instead of fabric softener.

  11. Gloriamarie Avatar

    what exactly to the wool dry balls do? Would they, for example, collect the cat hair off of items? Thank you.

  12. Penny Avatar

    Those ones in the picture are so smooth – did you use roving on the outside of the ball of yarn?

      1. Mikala Avatar

        I have been looking for roving, and have only found roving in strand form. Is this what you suggest? Or should the roving be more flat and able to wrap around to ball? I am confused how the wool roving could make the balls appear so smooth, whereas standard wool yarn would not

  13. Maritza Gutierrez Avatar
    Maritza Gutierrez

    I purchased mine on Amazon. Got 6 balls for about $16. The description and your blog says it eliminates static, but I STILL get static. I try to take my clothes out sooner to reduce static. They do DEFINITELY reduce drying time though so it is worth using them, especially saves money when I take my big comforter to the laundry mat to wash and dry since it’s too big for my machines. The only thing I would like to know though is it actually worth the money you save in the time it takes to make plus the cost and time of obtaining the materials??

  14. Maggie Avatar

    Love them! They cut out drying time significantly and you can scent them if you want with a few drops of essential oil. That’s especially nice if you’re someone who will miss the scent boost of dryer sheets.

  15. Jillo Avatar

    Even more natural way to wash clothing is to use powerful magnets (buy online) instead of soap. I’ve been using magnets in my washer for over two years! Plenty of info on line. 🙂

  16. Gemma Avatar

    You really should get your information from a reliable source. Yes, superwash wool is real wool. It has been treated with a chemical process so it can be washed in the washing machine. Because of the chemical process it wont felt.

  17. Chelsea Avatar

    I’ve made these from a 100% wool sweater I got from the thrift store! I usually feel iffy about wool if I don’t know the source for sure, I felt a bit better about reusing some that someone else had owned previously. I followed similar instructions and the balls work great!

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