Everyone likes to save money, right? And making your household more “green”, energy efficient, and generally reducing your carbon footprint and producing less waste are high on everyone’s list. But like me, when you find you have “holy” socks on your hands, you probably feel a little pang of guilt throwing them out, when frequently 3/4 of the sock is perfectly fine.
Now, there are probably at least 50 things you can do with old socks, but I don’t dust and I do do a LOT of laundry (2 kids under 2, both in cloth diapers, plus a husband who works as a field tech, plus I love to bake, plus 3 furry friends in our home)- just makes for a lot of laundry.
Since my husband works on his feet, he goes through socks pretty fast. Yes, I can darn small holes and temporarily mend them, but generally once socks start to go, they’re not long for the world.
The GREAT news is that in addition to using them to dust, hold up melons in your garden, making dog toys and whatever else you use old socks for, they also make FANTASTIC dryer balls. Dryer balls, if you haven’t heard, increase the efficiency of your dryer, making your clothes dry faster, which means less energy use. And they have the added bonus of bouncing around in your dryer so you don’t need any fabric softener to make your clothes soft. And they reduce static in the winter time too! (And if you want to get really fancy, you can inject essential oils into them to make your laundry smell like whatever you want it to).
Ok, you’re thinking….if dryer balls are so great, how do I make some of my own? Well, I’m about to tell you,
You will need:
A pile of socks. You can use any old socks, I tend to use men’s athletic socks, since that’s what hubby wears. But you can use worn out kids socks, women’s socks, ankle socks, knee socks, cotton socks, wool socks….you get the picture. I use about 6 socks or so per ball.
Optional: needle and thread.
Let’s assume you’re using either men’s ankle socks or plain ole athletic socks, since that’s what I have pictures of. You will need about 6 socks per dryer ball, and they are about the size of a baseball when you’re done. You want to start with the smaller of your socks to begin. If they’re all the same size, grab the holy-est one first.
Fold the sock so it’s more or less a straight line. Then snugly roll it up. Easy, right? See the picture above on the left.
Next, lay out your next sock in the same way, and place your first rolled sock 180 degrees on sock #2. Basically, if you lay your first two socks out in a plus sign, you’ll roll the first one bottom to top, place it on the second sock, and roll left to right. The idea here is to alternate directions so you end up with a ball rather than a cylinder.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
When you have a ball about the size you want, stuff it inside the toe of the last sock. Firmly roll the open end of the sock around the ball and tuck the ball into the opening of the sock. At this point you may stitch it in place with your needle and thread so it’s a ball forever. I don’t bother. And yes, eventually the ball comes untucked and you get dryer ball comets (ball plus tail) bouncing around in your dryer. But that’s fine, they still work just dandy. And when the outer sock wears out, which they do, you can either strip it off and use it in the middle of a new dryer ball, or you can just roll it back around the ball and stuff it in a new holy sock. So these things last AGES.
I use about 6 dryer balls in my dryer at any given time, and I make new ones every time hubby cleans out his sock drawer. They may not look beautiful, but you could always needle felt them, or wrap them in something pretty. If you wanted to give them as gifts, you could quite easily make little bags out of printed cotton and stick them inside.
I just love a good project that’s completely free, that performs some valuable service around the house, don’t you?