Somehow I ended up on a website that had pictures of hand wound dryer balls and I thought they were beautiful. Silly I know, but I loved them. I have always had a thing for straight edges and squares and in the last year or so my appreciation for circles and arcs has grown.
I looked at many websites and also pictures of them on Etsy and decided I would make some; this was a little daring as I
have had sensitivity to wool. Lucky for me it did not bother me at all! This tutorial gives a good explanation of what I did: http://goodmama.typepad.com/goodmama/2008/05/make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html
Now to the benefits and background; my youngest boy has eczema. It was worse when he was in diapers; he mostly suffered around the edges of his diapers and on his bum. We cloth diaper in our home so I did some research and found Charlie's Soap. I found glowing reviews, and of course not glowing reviews, but overall it seemed worth trying. Unfortunately it did not help much with the eczema, but we found other benefits and have been using it for the last 3 1/2 years on all of our laundry.
One of the top reasons for using Charlie's is no fabric softener. Our clothes come out soft and static free. Even when I hang clothes to dry on my inside drying rack the clothes are soft. Another plus is less waste going to the landfill. I use one tablespoon of Charlie's in each load of laundry and it is packaged more environmentally friendly. We have less skin irritation too (body pimples and other joys of life). There are other perks, you can find them on the Charlie's site.
Now to dryer balls, I have tried the reusable blue dryer balls and was never impressed. My clothes came out the same as when I used nothing. Drying time was the same, clothes were the same. It did not seem worthwhile.
My new wool ones are WOW, what a difference. My drying time is shorter. Old dry time for diapers: 55 minutes; new dry time: 42 minutes (I have not tried less, so am not sure if it could be shorter or not). Normal load of laundry, old dry time: 42 minutes; new dry time: 35 minutes. Also, the clothes are HUGE now! I have no choice; I have to fold my clothes immediately because one load fills my laundry basket, it used to fit two loads.
My only complaint so far, my drawers are too small to fit the new fluffy clothes.Y
UPDATE: One of my dryer balls fell apart. So, because I do love them so much I crocheted little covers for them. Now they cannot come apart! The kids also love these balls, the 18 month old throws them around every chance she gets!