So, in our journey to cloth diapering I've learned that you shouldn't use fabric softeners and/or dryer sheets because it can stop your diapers (and your dish towels for that matter) from absorbing. So I was on the hunt for another way to keep my diapers nice and soft while not affecting their absorption.
Enter the dryer ball. There were two options for dryer balls - the plastic PVC ones with nubbies all over them or all natural wool dryer balls. Since the plastic ones can give off chemicals when heated I opted for the all natural version. I searched around the web and found lots of options on etsy.com. However, they were expensive - about $20 for three balls and you'd need 4-6 for a normal sized load of laundry I read. Being the crafty (or wanna be crafty) gal that I am, I asked Mr. Google how to make my own wool dryer balls and voila - the Goodmama had a spectacular tutorial to guide me along!
I followed her instructions pretty closely and am very happy with the results. You can see in the pictures below the balls ready for their first felting. I actually ran them thru two hot washes and then dried them. That got them felted up nice and tight.
The image below is the after the final felting before I started using them. They're about the size of a softball, maybe a tad smaller.
I've been using them for a week now and have noticed a difference in my drying times. Plus, my clothes are as just as soft and static free as if I was using dryer sheets. With smaller loads you do notice the bumping of the balls as they tumble in the dryer but I just close the door to the laundry room and forget about it.
I used 100% wool yarn I found at Michaels (Lion brand) and one skein was $8. I made 2 balls from one skein and still have a bunch left over (so much that I think I might get another ball or two out of it). So, for $8 and a few hours of work I have 4 dryer balls (I of course wanted different colors so in reality I spent $24 on yarn - but I have enough to make many more balls or even a woolie soaker once I figure out how to knit!)
So there you have it! It's a definite worth while DIY project! Especially if you're a knitter already and have scraps avail! Then you really get to use everything up and get your money's worth!
(i must mention of course the best way to dry your cloth diapers is on the line outside but as a working mom that's just not practical for us except for the weekends)