How you dry your clothes can affect how they look and how long they last. Here are suggestions for how to make the most of your clothes dryer and when to opt for air-drying instead.
To Dry or Not to Dry
As general rule of thumb, clothing items laundered in a permanent-press or regular cycle in the washing machine can also be dried in the clothes dryer. But it's always best to check the clothing care label. When in doubt, air-dry. This option saves money on fuel bills, extends the longevity of clothes, and reduces concerns about ruining certain clothing.
Preparing Clothes for the Dryer
Give just-washed clothes a glance and a shake. Glance at them to see if the washing machine did its part in removing stains. If stains remain, take another shot at treating them. If a stained garment goes into the dryer, the stain will likely become permanent. Shake out garments or linens before putting them in the dryer to remove hidden items (such as socks), help items dry faster, and help reduce wrinkles.
Sorting your clothes actually begins before the wash cycle. Separate wash loads by texture (which produce lint, which attract it), fabric (put clothing items of similar materials together), soil (separate heavily soiled from lightly soiled), and color (whites, lights, darks, items that bleed). This will serve you well as you sort clothes for drying. But in a nutshell, separate clothes for drying by weight. Mixing heavier items with lighter items might mean one comes out overdried and the other still damp.
Avoiding Overloading Issues
You might think you're saving time and energy by packing as much into your dryer as possible. In reality, the clothes will take longer to dry and will likely come out looking much like they did when they were first stuffed in -- wrinkled and misshapen. Keep the dryer load small enough to tumble easily and freely in the dryer drum. It's also helpful to readjust large loads, such as sheets and blankets, during their cycle so they dry faster and more evenly.
Always check the clothing care label to make sure you're doing what's best for the fabric. If no care label exists, follow these suggestions.
Consider the benefits of air-drying clothing rather than using a clothes dryer.
Whether you air-dry clothes from a clothesline inside or outside, each type of item should be hung in a particular way so it ends up looking its best.
Pants: Match the inner leg seams of pants, and clothespin the hems of the legs to the line, with the waist hanging down.
Shirts and tops: Shirts and tops should be pinned to the line from the bottom hem at the side seams.
Socks: Hang socks in pairs, pinning by the toes and letting the top opening hang down.
Bed linens: Fold sheets or blankets in half and pin each end to the line. Leave room between the items, if possible, for maximum drying.
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