I am always on the hunt for new products that can help me live a more chemical-free lifestyle. But this past month I have really zeroed in on a completely new section. Last month I was mainly focusing on my hair and more importantly my hair care system. I tried to get rid of as many harsh products as I could. If they didn’t pass the clean product guidelines, they were gone. This month I have switched tracks a little and moved from hair care to clothing care. And that means laundry. Which includes all of the usual suspects.
It is amazing how many unnecessary additives there are in so many of these products. You would think that all of them are needed to get the level of clean that these products advertise, but that isn’t true in slightest. A lot of the time these additives are just to give the products their color or smell. But what the adverts don’t tell you is that these extra chemicals that are being added are insanely harmful. Many of them have even been linked to causing skin irritations, allergic reactions, and exacerbate asthma symptoms. This is especially concerning when there are so many ways that these chemicals can be avoided altogether.
One of my favorites ways that some of you may have heard about or are already using are dryer balls. These little laundry routine gems are 100x safer and much more natural than any chemical-filled product on the shelves. With just a little bit of wool and a safety pin, these balls are able to remove static while keeping your laundry loads as soft as before without all of the unnecessary artificial chemicals.
On top of simply being better for your health overall, each of these balls will only cost you a maximum of $5 and remove any need for both fabric softener as well as dryer sheets. Now, this may not seem like much at first, but if you add up how much money you spend on those two products alone, you will realize that these bad boy can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of their lives. And all you need are few simple things that you may already have lying around the house already.
I really do owe my mom for telling me to give these a try (and for helping me to make some of them). I probably would have given up even before my first ball was finished. When I started making these I had no idea how to really wind them up and I began wrapping the ball too tightly. In my defense, I was thinking “the tighter it is the better it will hold”. This is definitely not the case. The entire process took twice as long as it should and always looked as if I was never making any progress. And my poor hand cramped up like there was no tomorrow.
After my mom pointed this out (and laughed hysterically), I loosened up on my intense wrapping skills and it took a lot less time and I had no problems with my hands.
When making these, you either have to have at least two softball sized wool balls or three to four tennis ball sized ones. This amount equals out to being roughly the same surface area and makes it so there is an equal amount of wool exposed which allows the correct environment to be created inside the dryer.
Fair warning ahead of time:
The dryer will sound like it’s about to explode or someone is trapped inside but that is perfectly normal. That is just the sound of the balls rolling around and dropping against the sides of the dryer barrel. The balls will not break the dryer or dent it in any way but it may seem excessively loud for the first couple of washes. This is simply because you are not used to the noise yet.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
- 100% wool yarn
- Crochet hook
- Safety pin
- Form two of your fingers into a peace sign. Take the wool and wrap it around your fingers ten times.
- With your other hand, pinch down on the space between your two fingers. Make sure all of the yarn is being held, and pull it off the peace sign. Take the wool and wrap it around where you pinched ten times to form a bow of sorts.
- Continue wrapping around the entire bow until you have created your desired sized ball.
- Repeat this process until you have your desired number of balls.
- If there is any wool left in your original bundle, cut the string and set the extra wool aside. With your crochet hook, push it under several layers of wool. Grab the cut end, and pull it through so that the ball will not unravel. If there is anymore excess you can either tuck it back into the ball again or cut off the excess.
- Cut off the leg of a pair of nylons and put the ball inside. Tie the nylons off like a balloon and until secure.
- While still in the stocking, throw the ball into the dryer the next time you are doing laundry and allow to go through several dryer cycles. Check for felting on the ball after each cycle. This does not mean that the definition of the strings will completely disappear as you can see. But they will be less defined and have a smoother texture so when you rub against the ball the strings will not move.
- Once the ball is sufficiently felted, remove from stockings and it is ready to be used.
I leave the four balls I have in the dryer all the time, so when it comes time to throw in another load, I don’t have to worry where they have rolled off to or forget to put them in.
An additional note: if you are having a problem with static, check to make sure you are not drying your clothes for too long. If you still have a problem, add a safety pin to the balls to help absorb any electricity that might be created in the dryer.