The world of laundry has made significant progress through the 21st century. Washers and dryers today are more energy efficient, stylish and give users an abundance of choices. When it comes to choices with dryer settings, some may find that they have more choices than they know what to do with.
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Manufacturers label many fabrics today for drying (and washing) with "permanent press" care settings. Take advantage of this capability with your machines. By washing and drying with the permanent press cycle, clothes like jeans and t-shirts will come out softer and feel more comfortable when you put them on. Laundry will also have fewer wrinkles if you remove the items from the drier as soon as they are dry. The permanent press can also come in handy for use on linens and towels so you can minimize or even eliminate the need for ironing.
If the item you are washing does not say "permanent press" on the label, or indicate some other setting such as "cool," it is more than likely fine to dry with the "regular" or "normal" dryer setting. However, always read the label on the fabric for care instructions and recommendations. The regular setting runs at a higher temperature than the permanent press drying cycle. Find out about the fiber content of the item you are washing. As a rule, the higher the cotton content, the more heat-tolerant it will be. Baby diapers, underwear, and cotton linens and towels are examples of items that can be dried on the regular or normal setting because they are typically made of 100 percent cotton.
Permanent Press Considerations
Get to know which cycles work best with your particular dryer model. If you have a newer, high efficiency dryer, experiment with different settings to see which ones are most effective. Use the timing setting in conjunction with the permanent press setting to keep laundry from getting too dry and to prevent shrinking. If you have a newer dryer with digital memory and a "favorites" setting, use this to store the settings you like best and eliminate guesswork. You'll know exactly when and why to use permanent press or the regular setting every time you do laundry.
Regular Setting Considerations
Because the heat will be hotter with the regular setting, watch out for keeping laundry in the dryer for too long. This can cause fading, scorching, and dull colors. Adjust the timer on your dryer to a shorter time span and remove multicolored and solid items as soon as they are dry. If your dryer has a "cool down" or "wrinkle free" setting, use this in combination with the regular setting. The drum will continue to tumble to keep your laundry from wrinkling and allow the clothes to cool down. Add the "speed dry" capability (if your dryer has it) along with a regular setting to dry a single item, such as a garment you want to wear or similar items such as a load of towels or diapers.
Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.