When I worked in an office, I used to get all nerdy excited when I figured out a new shortcut in a program, such as finding a quicker formula in Excel or learning how to write a new script in Filemaker. With so many things to do in a day, finding easier, more efficient ways to accomplish a task was awesome for me.
Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, my to-do list for a day is even longer, and my excitement when I find something that helps in even a minuscule way to get something checked off that list is even greater. Instead of nerding out over program shortcuts, I’m seeking out cooking tips, how-to-entertain-your-toddler “life hacks,” creative organizing ideas, and cleaning inspirations. When they work, my super dorky happiness is kind of embarrassing.
I recently tried out a very simple laundry aid, and according to my nephew, I went “all infomercial spokesperson” on my family when I told them about how impressed I was with it.
What was it? The wool dryer ball.
If you’ve visited the land of Pinterest over the last few years and searched for anything laundry related, you most likely have seen a picture or two of what look like yarn balls that people use when they are knitting or crocheting. I’ve seen companies that sell them as well as plenty of DIY pins for making your own. I read about how putting these little wool balls into your dryer with your laundry would help dry clothes faster, prevent wrinkles, and reduce static in addition to acting as a natural, chemical-free fabric softener. (Here’s the link to the site that got me interested in giving this a try.)
Finally I remembered to add “100% wool yarn” to my shopping list, and using the weekly 40-percent off coupon from Hobby Lobby, I picked up a skein of brown & white 100-percent wool yarn for about $3. Following the site instructions, I made three cute little wool balls. (I didn’t have a crochet hook, so I just tucked the ends under other strands until it was completed covered and secure.) As soon as they were washed and dried, I was ready to test them out. And, yes, kind of excited to do so.
They do, in fact, shorten my dry time. I know that one cycle is all I need no matter what’s in the load, and most of the time, I can set my dryer to a shorter cycle. The downside to that is that now if I hit the restart button when I can’t fold the clothes right away (or just don’t want to), I kind of feel guilty because I KNOW they are dry.
They also do, in fact, help with wrinkles. Hubby has a particularly annoying pair of pants that love to come out all crinkles and twisted onto themselves no matter what I do. Dryer balls to the rescue! While the pants still have wrinkles, they are far, far fewer, and much more manageable. Yea!!!
Probably the most excited I got was when I realized that they do, in fact, reduce static. With warmer weather finally here, I had one last load with sweaters and such to wash. While I do have some sweaters that I lay out to dry, there are some that can be tumbled dry on low. When I reached in to unload the dryer and didn’t hear the familiar crackle and pop of static or feel the shocks, I was shocked in a whole different way! I actually called my 5-year-old in to see how static-free the sweaters were. Seriously, I did. (He wasn’t as excited as I was.)
Something that wasn’t mentioned as a selling point, but that I will add, my boys love to help me with unloading the dryer now. (No, really. They do.) They like finding the wool balls among the clothes and tossing the balls back into the dryer. It makes a very satisfying “thunk.”
Sadly, since they are made of wool, the balls will shrink over time and eventually wear out. I opened my dryer recently to find a mound of unwound yarn where one of the balls had come apart. It might be because it wasn’t tucked in really well initially. I’m not sure. But it lasted through hundreds of laundry cycles, and the other two are still going strong, so I think it’s been worth the $3 for sure.
So, yeah. Wool dryer balls are a simple, effective aid with my laundry now. I even made some to share with my mother and mother-in-law. I love that it’s something that I don’t have to think about but that makes my life easier. I can get seriously nerdy excited about things like that.