DIY Wool Dryer Balls – Ditch the Toxic Fabric Softener

"WDB 13 |"

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Who loves using fabric softener and the way it makes your laundry smell? I used to! These days, it actually irritates my sinuses when I lay on sheets with heavy smells. Plus, over time, fabric softener gunked up my laundry and the washer itself.

Once I discovered that it was the fabric softener that was causing my issues, I moved on to dryer sheets.   No help! These still caused me problems with sleeping on heavily scented sheets.

What to do?

I discovered wool dryer balls! And so, why not make it a DIY project?

Yield: 3 Wool Dryer Balls

DIY Wool Dryer Balls - Ditch the Toxic Dryer Sheets

Active Time 1 hour
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Difficulty Beginner


Time: Varies, depending upon how long it takes to roll the balls.  Include the time it takes for 2-3 wash and dry cycles.

Why: Why make wool dryer balls?  These are a great, natural way to soften and separate clothing during the dryer cycle.  It is a great way to add scent to your load as well.

Instructions: Wrap yarn around a couple of fingers several times, then wrap around the opposite direction."WDB 01 |"

Continue to wrap yarn in multiple directions, forming a ball."WDB 02 |"

"WDB 03 |"

Continue wrapping, keeping the yarn taught and wrapping it tightly. "WDB 05 |"

Keep working until you form a ball that is approx. 10 inches around (circumference)."WDB 07 |"

Purchasing the Fisherman’s skein I linked above (or similar) makes 3 balls."WDB 11 |"

Once you reach the correct size, leave approx. 12-16 inches of yarn."WDB 06 |"

Thread the yarn through the needle. Now “sew” through the ball in multiple directions. You will be left with a small portion left, simply tuck that well into the ball."WDB 08 |"

"WDB 09 |"

Place balls in a garment bag. I chose to use a bra bag, so they did not bounce around too much.

Run them through the washing machine on a hot water cycle, no fabric softener. Then throw the balls (in the bag) in a hot dryer. 

It is fine to dry with a load of clothing (towel load, pants, etc., not a delicate load).

Wash and dry may need to happen 2-3 times until the balls are well felted."WDB 13 |"

Once the balls are “done”, throw them in with any dryer load.  No need to throw them in the washer again.  I simply place the balls in a container on top of the dryer when not in use … or, just leave them in the dryer.

Want to add some scent, place a couple drops of essential oils on the balls for the last 10-15 minutes of the dryer cycle.

No worry about mixing essential oils.  The heat of the dryer essentially kills the oil itself but keeps the smell. So, when you add a different scent it won’t cause any problems.  I have used the same balls for years with no issues.

Worried about oils on your clothing?  I only use Young Living Essential Oils and have never had any oils transfer to my clothing.  You can use the balls without oils if you choose. They will still help to separate and fluff the laundry in the dryer, making the dryer time shorter.


How many of us have used various fabric softeners, trying to make your clothing smell fresh and clean?  I did for years!  Then I learned what those ingredients in those “fresh smelling” softeners really are and what they do to the body.  No thanks!  Here is a wonderful site to search for your particular fabric softener.  Search and be shocked!  Click here for the EWG (Environmental Working Group).

Ditch those toxic dryer sheets and that horrible gunky fabric softener and make these super simple wool dryer balls. 

This page contains affiliate links for various items I used in this DIY project.  Purchasing through the links does generate a small commission that is used for the running of this blog. It does not increase the cost to you in any way.

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