If you are in the market for a new dryer, read my Dryer 101 which includes buying tips as well as general care information. And you'll also find more fabric care articles: Laundry and Fabric Care. For more information when it comes to buying a washer and dryer: Best Washer and Dryer Videos.
1. Clean the Lint Filter & Area Regularly
Lint filters are usually positioned for easy access, sometimes on top of the dryer on some models, or at the front edge just inside the door. It's also imperative that you occasionally clean the area in, around and directly under the filter, because lint will also accumulate in this area.
There's also a risk of fire with too much dryer lint. A lint accumulation can cause a fire, so there's also a safety reason for regularly keeping your dryer clear of lint.
Cleaning the Dryer Lint Filter Can Save You Money
Dryer Lint Safety Concern
Why You Should Keep a Waste Basket in the Laundry Room
2. Keep the Dryer Interior Clean
Another thing that causes your dryer interior to be dirty is pocket debris that stays in clothing and makes it through the wash cycle. Lint from tissues left in pockets can be messy to clean out and it clings to dried clothing. Or a pen that explodes and leaks ink on a dryer load. Avoid these messes by always checking all pockets before washing. Clothing care is money saved.
3. Exhaust a Dryer Properly
Be proactive and occasionally check your dryer connection to ensure connections are good and it exhausts properly. A venting kit like the one shown is handy for quick connecting/disconnecting when cleaning.
There are special vent deflectors for those who purposely want to return that hot humid air to the room and many do this to save on heating. While the concept is good, it also can release a certain amount of dust to the area, if there is insufficient lint filtering. And you need to ensure that adding humidity to the room is advisable depending on your particular home moisture and climate. Laundry areas tend to have higher humidity levels than other areas of the home, so this kind of diversion is not always advisable.
And while on the subject of dryer installation, are your laundry appliances installed to make your workflow as you do laundry, more convenient and efficient? Read: How to Install a Washer and Dryer for Best Convenience.
4. Clean Out the Exterior Vent as Needed
How to Clear the Exterior Dryer Vent
5. Appropriate Drying Time Can Save You Money
Some dryers have default time settings which are often way too long, so bypass those and select what makes sense for your load. My dryer even defaults to medium heat when I turn it on, which is too low for many of my loads and they take a long time to dry, so defaults aren't always the best for every load.
If your dryer takes 45 minutes or longer to dry a regular size load, that's way too long. It's time to invest in either a new washer which will better spin the water out of the laundry for quicker drying, or a more efficient dryer. For example, I can dry a load with three pairs of jeans and other articles, or a load of towels in about 24 minutes; sheets and tea towels in about 17 minutes and permanent press clothing ready to be hung to finish drying in about 12 minutes.
Note that newer frontload washers tend to spin much faster and do a better job of removing water from the washload, than the traditional style of washing machine. When more water is extracted in the washer, the load takes a shorter time to dry.
Multiple dryer settings can be very confusing, but take a moment to review your manual and find the few settings you're more likely to use on a regular basis, and then decide on an appropriate average time frame based on the load type. Don't assume that the factory defaults are what you'll need for every load. One dryer feature that can be very handy to avoid excess energy use, is a dry more sensor setting.
Compare Prices of Dryers
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6. Wrinkle-free Can Cost You More in Energy
That means the dryer keeps cycling for a few minutes every now and then, until you clear it which might be a few hours later, and that translates into wasted energy. Use this setting as needed and then turn it off. An audible signal that the cycle is done, does save on wrinkles and can help you stay on top of things and finish your laundry tasks.
7. Choose the Proper Dryer Settings to Save Clothes and Energy
Whites, towels, sheets, socks and so on can be dried on a normal setting with higher heat. But permanent press clothing must be dried on a lower, medium heat if you don't want wrinkles to set in, fibers to burn and generally wreck your clothing. Delicates require low to no air, just a tumbling.
Very good clothing, wool blankets and especially items with spandex, should be hung to dry. In fact, if you hang dry dress clothing, it will generally have less static, hold its shape better and look nice longer.
Washing and drying instruction tags are very helpful for proper fabric care if you want to protect your clothing. The end result is money saved.
8. Always Dry Reasonable Size Loads
An overly heavy load can also cause dryer belt problems as the interior tub struggles to turn and that can translate into costly repairs. If your loads are very large, you should be using a dryer designed for large loads.
And keep in mind that the manufacturer's suggested dryer load capacities often don't make sense in practical use if you want the clothes to dry well. What might be used in their example of so many pairs of jeans, might be smaller sizes and the same can be true of bath towels, which might be much smaller than yours. Be kind to your dryer, dry reasonable size loads and use a dryer designed to meet your needs. A family dryer should be large to extra-large capacity.
9. Clean the Back of the Dryer
Though we don't often think of a laundry sorter as a dryer accessory, proper sorting and drying similar items together starts at the sorting stage. That helps to reduce pills or lint especially on dark clothing when the washload is sorted properly. A rack is also a handy accessory for hanging certain articles to dry to keep energy bills down, while protecting your clothing.
Some dryer models have optional pedestal bases or small cabinets that can be placed either underneath the appliances or between the washer and dryer to house things like fabric sheets, lint rollers and mesh laundry bags.
Compare Prices of Dryer Racks
Compare Prices of Laundry Sorters
Read More About Laundry Helpers
Best Closet Hangers and Organizers
Laundry Sorting - A Family Affair
An Ironing Board - Essential for Good Clothing Care
Laundry Mesh Bags - Affordable & Essential to Protect Clothing, Laundry Appliances
How to Assemble a Basic Sewing/Mending Kit
How to Dry Woolen Blankets
How to Buy a Clothes Iron