What Does Perm Press Mean With a Dryer?

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Dryers come with all types of features and multiple settings that can make using them confusing. One setting you'll likely see on your clothes dryer is "perm press" or "permanent press," which is a medium heat setting designed to prevent wrinkles in your clothes. Learn more about what permanent press means and when you might need it to take better care of your clothes.

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What Is Permanent Press?

The permanent press cycle on your dryer uses a medium level of heat with a cool-down at the end. The cycle tends to be a little shorter than a normal cycle as well. This can cut down on clothing shrinkage, and it also helps to get rid of wrinkles or prevent more wrinkles from forming in clothes that are prone to wrinkling. You might see a similar cycle called casual, wrinkle control, or a similar name.

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Permanent Press on a Washer

Washing machines typically have a permanent press cycle as well. This cycle has the same goal of keeping clothes from wrinkling. When you choose this washer cycle, the machine uses warm water to wash and cold water to rinse with slower spin cycles, which helps eliminate wrinkles and prevent more wrinkles from forming.

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Benefits of Permanent Press

Because permanent press cycles avoid high heat, they're often gentler on your clothes. They can prevent damage and premature wear to your laundry. The lower heat also reduces your energy use slightly compared to hot water or high-heat settings.

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If you take the clothes out of the dryer at the end of the permanent press cycle, they should come out relatively wrinkle-free. Using this setting can eliminate the need for ironing, or it can make ironing easier due to fewer wrinkles.

When to Use Permanent Press

Permanent press is a good in-between option for clothing. It's not too harsh, but it's powerful enough to get clothes clean. However, the permanent press cycle in the washing machine might not be strong enough for items that need a more powerful clean, such as towels and bedding or clothes that are very dirty. Some loads, such as items you want to be sanitized, might need hot water. In the washer and dryer, the permanent press cycle can be too harsh for delicates, and it might not be hot enough or run for long enough to fully dry heavier items in one cycle.

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Prime candidates for the permanent press cycle include clothes made of synthetic fibers that are more likely to wrinkle. Natural fibers can also work with the permanent press cycle. This option is usually ideal for casual clothing or work clothes that don't require dry cleaning or the delicate cycle. Check the tag for clothes that say "permanent press" or "tumble dry" to identify whether permanent press is a good setting for them.

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How to Use Permanent Press

On your dryer, choose the permanent press setting. You might also need to select the load size. Add your freshly washed clothes, being careful not to overload the dryer. Putting too many clothes in the dryer can prevent them from fully drying. It also doesn't allow the perm press cycle to remove wrinkles as easily.

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Put in your normal dryer sheets and other additions. The dryer will do the rest. The clothes should be dry after one cycle. Check as soon as the cycle ends to prevent wrinkles from forming after the clothes are dry.

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