Friday, May 9, 2014

Frugal Friday Episode II: Wool Dryer Balls

Welcome back to Frugal Friday!

Last week we took time to figure out how to save a bit of money by making your own laundry detergent. I was blown away by all the comments, messages and emails about the post. Thank you!

Today, we are going to stay in the same general area and talk about how to save even more money when doing the laundry.

One of the reasons I love the laundry bombs so much, is that they have a softener built right in. So, not only am I saving money by making the detergent, I'm saving even more without having to buy a fabric softener!

Yay me!

But, the towels were coming out a wee bit scratchier than I'm used to. And, what about that pesky static cling? What could I do to avoid fabric softener?

Uncle Google had loads of suggestions (no pun intended heh heh) as to what we could use in the dryer to help soften the towels and keep our socks from sticking to our pants.

There were 3 major options.

1. A ball of foil - I have a girlfriend who swears by this. Just the thought of it makes my fillings hurt. lol!! Super cheap, tho. I hear you can make a nice sized ball & use it for months!

2. Tennis balls - at around $3 a tube, they are another huge money saver! But, most who use them complain they are loud. I already have 4 noisy kids running around. I chose to keep searching.

3. Wool balls - Similar benefits to the tennis balls, but without all the plastic. According to the interwebs, they are longer lasting, much quieter and they do more than just soften & remove static cling. They also help wick away and absorb moisture, which can cut down dry time up to half!! WINNAH!

On the hunt for these magical balls of wool, I discovered they can be a bit expensive. Most places I saw had a package of 6 for $30.00 and higher. I even saw one place that had them for $20 bucks each! Yikes! That's not exactly an up front money saver. At least not for me.

Then, I asked Pinterest.

While kids today ask what we did before Google, I ask what did we do before Pinterest! lol!

Thankfully, there were a few dozen posts about how to make your own!

I read through several, and the instructions are all pretty similar, so I can't really credit one post over the other. Here is the link to my search. You can spend quite a while reading up on all of the benefits of making them, as well as various methods and fabrics.

Having never purchased yarn before (yes, really), I wasn't sure how cost effective this would be. So, I went to JoAnn's (with my 50% off coupons, of course) to see if there was really any up-front savings.

Oh, my goodness, YES!

If these dryer balls last 1 year (which most sites say they last several years), then how much money will I be saving by not buying fabric softener or dryer sheets? Let's get down to numbers.

I was going to base it on the 550+ loads per year we figured from the last post, but these all happen to round out to 600 loads. So, let's assume you wash 600 loads a year.

**150 load bottle of Downy at Target will cost you $9.99 x 4 = $39.96 a year and $0.06 a load.

**Gain is priced exactly the same.

**Up & Up will only set you back $6.00 a bottle, but for 120 loads, so you'll need 5, bringing your total to $30.00 a year and $0.05 per load.

If you prefer dryer sheets:

**200 sheets of Bounce is $8.00, costing you $24 a year and is $0.04 each load.

**160 sheets of Gain is $5.99, seemingly saving money, but still costing you $23.96 annually at $0.03 per load.

**200 sheets of Up & Up is $5.79 and will only cost $17.37 a year, making it $0.02 per load. WOW! I knew we paid less, but sheesh! With added Cartwheel and REDcard, switching to Up & Up cut our dryer sheet cost in HALF!

Could we possibly save more with the dryer balls?

2 packages of yarn (2 for 1 with my 50% off coupons) were $6.99 / 600 loads bringing me to $0.01 per load.

And these last YEARS!

The savings are pretty clear.

Here's the DIY on making your own Wool Dryer Balls

What you'll need:

1. 100% wool yarn. I used 2 packages
2. An old pair of nylons. I picked up a random .99c pair in a bin at Walmart.
3. A bit of time. It took me a full episode of Stargate SG-1 to wind all 6 balls, then 4 times through the washer & dryer. Totally. Worth. It.

First, wind about 15 to 20 times around your fingers. Then, slip the yarn off your fingers and wrap again another 10-15 times. Pinch the "bow" together and wrap around several times in every direction. This will create the center of your ball. (I promise, after a few minutes, it will start to look like one)

Here's what my first one looked like. Not too bad, eh? I decided to get as much as I could from each package of yarn, so I made the rest a bit smaller.

Once you have made all of your wool balls, place them one by one into the nylon, making sure to tie a secure knot in between each ball and at the very end. 

Then, toss them in the wash! Some tutorials only do it once or twice, but I had to run mine through a wash & dry cycle 4 times to get the felting. (I took the opportunity to wash all the bedding!)

They shrank quite a bit more than I expected, but still turned out great!

Add 2 or 3 to small loads, 4 to regular loads, and 6 to a full load like towels & bedding.

Just in case you're still not convinced, Wool Dryer Balls...

You can easily add your favorite essential oil to them for an added benefit or scent.
Can save you money. Both, on softeners and dryer time!
All natural.
Completely chemical free.
Safe for cloth diapers.
Made from a renewable resource.
Keep the dryer free from residue build up which saves you even more money by keeping your dryer running longer!

Thanks for stopping by for today's Frugal Friday!

Next week we'll be stepping away from the laundry room and heading into the kitchen!

As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.

Thanks for the continued love & support as I grow my little blog.


  1. Sweet! What an awesome idea! Good for you!

    Marjie @

  2. I have some wool dryer balls and although they say they work great, I am not so totally convinced myself, although I do love them when I am drying my sheets and towels. I still have bounce stuck to my dryer (I also use the bounce for the smell). I also don't like chasing the balls around my laundry room. I do like the idea of making them and I think they would be a great gift idea. Pinning these as I know some of my followers would love this idea and think I will try making them as I have some leftover wool from projects that this would be perfect for..

    1. We all have our favorite methods, no worries! Thank you for stopping by and for pinning. =D

  3. Update us after you've been using them a while - I'm interested in seeing if they really help cut down on static cling when winter comes!

    1. That's a great idea! I will do that!