What's Really Happening Inside Your Washer and Dryer?
Tip 1 Sort wet clothes into slow-drying (jeans, sweatshirts) and quick-drying (khakis, dress shirts) loads. Otherwise, the lightweight items will tumble longer than they need to and end up “over-dried,” which will cause garments to prematurely wear, fray and lose elasticity.
Tip 2 Untangle clothes and add each item to the dryer separately, filling up the drum no more than three-quarters of the way for normal loads and halfway for permanent press ones. Trying to dry a boulder-size wad of wet material, or overcrowding the machine, slows down the process and causes things to wrinkle.
Tip 3 Don’t use dryer sheets (or liquid fabric softener) in every load. These deposit a waxy coating on the lint screen which, when it builds up, prevents air from circulating properly and slows drying. Use a half- or quarter-sheet per load (follow the same ratios when measuring liquid) and periodically wash the screen with dish detergent and a scrub brush to remove film. You’ll know it’s time when lint no longer sticks to the screen, but peels off in one big piece.
Tip 4 Clean out the exhaust duct, which runs from the back of the machine to a vent outside, every two years. A buildup of lint inside the duct restricts airflow, leading to longer drying times and wrinkling—it’s also a pretty serious fire hazard.