Admittedly I am not one who is always the first to join the party; I am an over-thinker who has to come to certain conclusions on my own. More often than not I believe this has saved me from unnecessary heartache, saved us money, and kept me from chasing every new and better thing that hits the market. Other times my reluctance to join in leaves me wishing I had started earlier. Sustainability is one of those areas.
We have always been a family that recycles. We have a specific area in our back bathroom set aside for the collection of plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminum, etc. and make runs to our local recycle center on a regular basis. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that sustainability and eco-friendliness take on many forms and recycling is just a small portion of the whole. I am beginning to see the bigger picture that sustainability, zero waste, and eco-conscious habits aren’t just good for our environment they are good for our bodies, too. The less chemicals and questionable products we use to clean also mean less chemicals being flushed down the drain, less noxious fumes filling our homes, less toxins seeping in through our skin and nasal passages, and ultimately a safer environment for all of us.
As I slowly work toward more simple living in our home having the confidence and know-how to keep our home clean using ingredients that cost little and keep toxins out is one of those areas I hope to improve.
While working on our laundry room I thought it would be fun to try my hand at making some of those cute dryer balls I kept seeing on Pinterest. This project looked like one that my daughter and I would enjoy doing together and was one that would be beneficial to us in many ways:
- Eco-friendliness: Said to be much more efficient than dryer sheets they reduce drying time by up to 40%: using less energy and saving money in the long run.
- Non-Toxic: They are a natural and non-toxic fabric softener that is free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. If you would like to add fragrance to them you simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Sustainable: You will use these over and over again, in each load of laundry, for periods that go well beyond a year. This is a great eliminator of excess packaging and waste.
With such great benefits as these and because we love to make things with our hands, we gave it a try. As it turns out these were really simple and fun to make and, aside from their time in the dryer, took only about 30 minutes to create. Here’s how we made them.
Homemade Dryer Balls
- Gather all necessary items: yarn (we used this), crochet needle, panty hose, essential oils (if desired)
- Take the end of the yarn and wrap around two fingers approximately 15 times.
- Slide the yarn off of your fingers and wrap the center of the loop you made with yarn. Continue wrapping until you form a ball approximately the size of a tennis ball. When you are happy with the size, clip the yarn leaving a tail long enough to pull through the center of the ball.
- Slide the crochet hook up and through the center, grabbing the tail of your yarn and pulling it back through.
- Trim off the remaining string.
- If you desire to add essential oils, now is the time to do it. I added 4 drops of Peppermint because it is what I had on hand. You could also add Lemon Bergamot, Chamomile, Rosemary, Orange, Lavender, or Frankincense.
- Insert the ball into the leg of an old pair of panty hose, tie off the hose at the top of the ball inserting more balls as you finish them, tying after each one. (This should look like a link of sausages).
- To complete the felting process wash in the highest heat cycle you have on your washing machine and then dry on the highest.
- Separate when finished.
Natural Fabric Softener:
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 20-30 drops of Essential Oil
Add the two ingredients to a small Mason Jar and shake well. Spoon one tablespoon into the bottom of your wash tub before you begin a new load.
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