10 tips to make the best use of your clothes dryer

Like the washing machine, the automatic dryer has made life much easier for modern families. Dryers mean dry clothes in winter, on rainy days and in crowded cities, where line space is at a premium. Drying your clothes on a clothesline is certainly better for the environment, but when you do need to use the dryer, there are tricks that can help you dry clothes without wrinkling or damaging them.

10 tips to make the best use of your clothes dryer

1. Check clothes for stains before drying

  • If you overlook a stain that the washing machine didn't remove, you could set it permanently by drying it.
  • If you find a stain, treat the stain and re-wash.

2. Shake damp pieces before drying

  • This loosens them and helps them dry faster and more completely.
  • Pull out anything that you want to hang on the clothesline.

3. Don't overload the dryer

  • A dryer needs airflow to do its work properly.
  • Clothes that are bunched up in a dryer will take longer to dry and will wrinkle more easily.

4. Don't under-load the dryer

  • Believe it or not, a nearly empty dryer doesn't work as well as one that is fuller (but not too full).
  • The tumbling effect is reduced in dryers with small loads, and that prolongs the drying period.
  • If you must dry a small load, find a few towels that are already clean and dry and of a colour similar to the wet clothes, and throw them into the dryer to improve the process.

5. Use the right setting

Most dryers have automatic settings:

Regular for loads made up mostly of all-cotton fabrics.

Permanent press for synthetics.

Cool or Low for lingerie, hand washables, washable woolens, and heat-sensitive items marked 'tumble dry Low'. The permanent press cycle typically features a cool-down period after the drying is completed to reduce wrinkling.

6. Avoid over-drying

  • Leaving clothes in the dryer too long causes shrinkage, static build-up and wrinkling.
  • Over drying actually sets wrinkles, making them hard to remove.

7. To reduce wrinkling

  • Remove items from the dryer as soon as they are dry.
  • And don't let them lie in a heap in the basket. Hang them up or fold them as soon as possible.
  • Remove permanent press items while they are damp and hang them on a rustproof hanger.
  • Close buttons and press-studs, straighten creases and brush out any wrinkles.

8. Clean the lint filter after each use

This not only improves airflow, which makes the dryer work better (and less drying time means you use less electricity), but it also reduces the chance of a dryer fire.

9. Use a laundry bag for drying nylon hosiery

It will protect those delicate items from getting ladders and holes.

10. For items that call for flat drying

  • Squeeze out excess water (but don't wring, or you may cause wrinkling).
  • Roll the garment in a clean, dry towel to absorb water.
  • Then shape and lay out flat on a dry towel or drying rack.
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