Monday, October 27, 2014

Laundry Day: Dryer Tips

I love to hang my laundry outside to dry. ESPECIALLY MY BED LINENS. But many of you simply don't have that option.

Maybe you live in a city apartment, you use a laundromat or share a laundry room. Perhaps your home has a small yard, with no room for clotheslines. Or maybe your work schedule precludes hanging laundry outside. I can sympathize because I've been there!

However -- if you live in a neighborhood which has is a COVENANT against having an outside clothesline -- that's a bad choice you made. It's a Pretty Woman kind of mistake -- HUGE. It's right up there with investing your life savings in Enron or having your boyfriend's name tattooed on your ass...

What were you thinking?
I always dry my sheets out on the line. But most of my other laundry gets the indoor treatment...
I have a gas dryer (my husband is an electrician and he says an electric dryer would be prohibitively expensive). Like all of you -- I use my clothes dryer every day. But almost NEVER in the way the manufacturer recommends.

When it comes to laundry -- water is your best friend and your worst enemy. Of course, we use water to WASH our clothes. But, you must completely DRY your clothes -- or they will develop mildew. (mildew is a battle you will never win.

My first big tip is simple: Use your clothes dryer AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. If you listen to me (and why wouldn't you?) -- you'll be happier with the results and SAVE MONEY! Remember -- LESS is MORE...

I have six clotheslines strung the width of my basement. Until I started to write this post, I never realized the importance my indoor lines.

If you don't have your own basement, or cannot string lines inside -- you need a drying rack. The first website I checked out was the Vermont Country Store -- and sure enough -- they had beautiful wooden drying racks in two different sizes that can be used indoors or outdoors and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM.

Here's how I handle my laundry and my clothesdryer:

TOWELS: John believes he has a god-given right to use a fresh, new towel WITH EVERY SHOWER. (When he had hair -- he required TWO towels daily.) Years ago, I decided if you can't beat em -- join em. So I wash several loads of towels every week. Towels are only thing I really put into the dryer to go the distance. They are too heavy to hang on the line, and I love the soft feel of them when they come out of the dryer. BUT -- even after they seem completely dry, I always hang my towels over my indoor clotheslines to finish them off. If you fold them when they are still HOT OUT OF THE DRYER -- the moisture will condense -- and they will develop that unpleasant faint mildewy/sour odor...(you know what I'm talking about)...

But -- except for towels -- mostly I use the dryer as a pre-treat for drying my clothes. For example:

KNIT CLOTHES:This is a major part of my weekly laundry. I do four or five loads a week (my tops, John's shirts, my dresses, skirts, etc.) And, as far as I'm concerned, the whole point of KNITS is that you should NEVER HAVE TO IRON THEM. So -- here's what I do. I wash a load of knits, then put them in the dryer and set the timer for 15 minutes. My dryer has a loud beep -- and I am usually working in the basement when I'm doing this. After 15 minutes, I take them out (still wet damp) and hang them on plastic hangers. The 15 minutes in the dryer is just enough time to take the wrinkles out...but finishing the drying process on hangers prevents shrinking and fading.

JACKETS: I may add some knit shirts to the load -- just to give a single jacket something to agitate against during the washing process. Then, I follow my basic procedure. 15 minutes in the dryer to take the wrinkles out. Hang the jacket on a hanger to finish it off. If it's a heavy jacket -- or one of those puffy coats -- turn the sleeves inside out after the first overnight.

SWEATERS: These should NEVER be put in the dryer. After washing, you should lay them on a flat surface and block them to make sure they dry in their original shape and size. I lay them on a bath towel on top of my chest freezer.

These small drying racks are great for sweaters.

UNMENTIONABLES:  NOTHING WILL RUIN ELASTIC and/or lycra quicker than the heat of a clothes dryer. And -- hey -- bras cost $30 -- so I want them to last AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. So I NEVER, ever, ever put them in the dryer. I ALWAYS hang bras, underwear and socks over the lines to dry. They dry very quickly and TRUST ME -- socks and bras will last twice as long if you stop putting them in the dryer...


I can't believe these Monday laundry blogs are still going on. Apparently, I have A LOT TO SAY about this subject.

Next week, I'm going to write about fabric softeners and those dryer sheets...and another Ya Ya laundry/dryer/tip...

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