Ursula, I put the item in a zippered pillowcase or such (to keep the fluff out of the washer drain pipe). In the same bag put 3 clean tennis balls, zip it closed. Run the hottest water into the machine, add a pair of old jeans, and a few drops of olive oil or other cooking oil, plus a little bit of detergent. Allow to agitate until they reach desired size/stiffness etc. WARNING CHECK AFTER ABOUT 5 MINUTES. YOU CAN'T UN-FELT IF IT GOES TOO FAR. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW FAST YOUR YARN WILL FELT UP SO YOU CHECK AS YOU GO ALONG. Your cycle may finish and try to rinse and spin. Stop it and check the felting before. If it's not enough-then run the hot water cycle more. Don't let items spin dry. Just roll in a nice towel to remove excess water. Shape to the form you want - stuff with plastic bags or something like that to hold the shpae while it dries. Be sure to dry thoroughly.