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How to Dry Clothes

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Dry laundry the right way

Drying your laundry correctly helps your clothes last longer and can help you save on water and electricity costs. Follow our tips below on how to dry laundry like a pro.

Before you throw your clothes into the dryer…

Make sure to remove your wet clothes from the washing machine as soon as possible after the wash cycle has ended. This prevents wet laundry from developing unpleasant odors. Immediately drying your washing also prevents unnecessary wrinkling and makes it easier to iron.

Once you’ve removed your clothes from the washer, make sure your stain removal pre-treatment has worked and that the stains you pre-treated have come out in the wash. Drying laundry with stains will cause the stains to set.

Sort your washing into clothes that should go into the dryer (like cottons, linens, jeans, sheets, or towels) and those that should be hung up to dry (like bras, stockings and other delicates, silk, wool, clothes with beading, or work-out clothing). When in doubt, just check the garment care tag (the label with all the laundry symbols on it). As you’re sorting through, double-check any pockets for items like money, phones, or wallets.

Dry laundry in the tumble dryer

For better or worse, every dryer is a bit different and comes with its own settings. However, most will have permanent press, regular, and delicate or gentle cycles.

Most of your dryer-safe clothing can be dried using the “permanent press” setting, which uses a medium amount of heat, finished off with a ten-minute cool air cycle to reduce wrinkles.

The “regular cycle” is a high heat setting and should only be used on your most durable fabrics (like towels, sheets, and jeans).

Settings labeled “gentle” or “delicate” are used for clothing that can only be dried at low heat.

Here are some more tips for drying your clothes in the dryer:

  • Don’t over-dry your laundry. Exposing your clothes to too much heat will only end up damaging the fabric.
  • Dry in full loads, but don’t overload the dryer. This will lead to unnecessary wrinkles and may prevent your clothes from drying completely.
  • Clean the lint filter after every load. This improves the effectiveness of your dryer. Uncleaned filters also pose a fire hazard.
  • It’s best to dry similarly heavy items together. Drying very lightweight items together with heavy ones like towels may end up damaging the more delicate fabric

Dry laundry without a dryer

With that said, you don’t necessarily need a clothes dryer to dry your washing – you can use a clothesline instead. If you want to dry laundry faster, using a dryer is still your best bet. However, air-drying your clothing is a great way to save on energy and water costs, and is of course much more eco-friendly. Plus, when you dry laundry outside, the sun can help to brighten your whites too.

If you’re line drying your laundry, hang it out as soon as possible after washing. Again, this helps prevent wet laundry from developing unpleasant odors from being left in the washing machine for too long.

Smooth the items out and pull them into shape when hanging them out, as this will make ironing easier. Wool or silk garments will likely need to be shaped and dried flat. If in doubt, check the care tag.