Home Maintenance For Dummies
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Drying your clothes in a clothes dryer saves time, but it takes more than just shoving your clothes in and turning the machine on. You need to read the care labels on the clothing and know what kind of heat the fabric can take. Otherwise, you'll end up with shrunken clothes or damaged fibers. Your clothes won't last as long, and you'll end up spending money to replace damaged items.

Always clean out the lint trap (or the lint screen) before you start loading the dryer. The dryer will work more efficiently, and you'll reduce any chance of fire. (Dryer lint is very combustible!)

  1. Shake out each item as you take it out of the washing machine.

    Shaking out your stuff before you throw it into the dryer might seem like a waste of time, but this really does help prevent wrinkles and cut down on drying time.

    Don't overload the dryer thinking that you'll save time — it'll have the opposite effect. Instead, your clothes will take longer to dry and get more wrinkled because there's not enough room in the dryer for the clothes to fluff out.

  2. Add a dryer sheet to the dryer — if you didn't use a liquid fabric softener during the wash cycle.

    The dryer sheets not only help to soften your clothes, they also reduce static cling. Note that using dryer sheets on towels can make towels a bit less absorbable, so if that's important to you, then forgo the drer sheet.

  3. Choose the right setting, or cycle, for your clothes:

    Cotton: High heat for towels, jeans, sweats, and other heavy fabrics

    Permanent press: Medium heat for synthetic fabrics

    Gentle: Low heat for delicate items like lingerie and workout clothes

    Air dry: No heat — great for fluffing pillows or refreshing clothes

  4. Remove your clothes from the dryer as soon as possible to prevent wrinkles from setting in.

    Shake out your stuff, neatly fold them, or hang anything you want to be wrinkle-free.

Denim jeans that have been put in the dryer will shrink a bit, but if you stretch and pull them as soon as you take them out of the dryer, while they're still hot, you can generally restore them to their proper size.

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