—Money and time wasted on long dry times? Clean the lint trap every load. I even empty it halfway through a load if I am nearby (see “split cycles” below). However cleaning the lint trap on your dryer is not enough. It takes more time to wait for clothes to dry in a machine with clogged vents than it does to check your vents and appliance to see if it is clogged or partially obstructed. Make note of the amount of lint in your dryer, remove the lint catching system sometimes and have a peak with a flashlight. You must open the machine and clean the lint in the internal (machine) ducting and the external (household) ducting. If you are unable to do this yourself it is good to get a cleaning company to do this. Look in the ends of the vent if you can. Find out where it leaves your home, the roof, the wall outside near the ground. If you know where it is you keep an eye out for things blocking it out there. If you are in a Condo or Townhouse you should find out how often your ducts are getting cleaned. If this is not checked or cleaned annually you could end up with a dryer fire or at the very least a higher electricity bill and longer dry times. This all leads to more wear and tear on your machine and risks a shorter lifespan for your appliance. The more lint in the duct, the slower the airflow. The slower the airflow, the more the moisture cools and condenses on the inside of the duct (taking the lint particles with it). This leads to slower flow and the cycle begins again (compounding).
—Make sure your dryer ducting is fireproof. Some people still have the out-dated white plastic kind, which is not up to code. The white plastic ducting is flammable. It should be shiny foil or best, solid metal ducting in case of a dryer fire. You can also wrap the duct in insulation to improve efficiency (especially if the duct is more than 10ft long). Ducts should be sealed at any seams or joints with FOIL tape NOT DUCT TAPE. Duct tape has thousands of uses unfortunately none of which are actually ducting. So it is not very aptly named tape. Foil tape has better adhesives and won’t dry out and fall off like duct tape does (making you do the same job twice).
—Dryer sheets. I personally do not use them. My concerns are the chemicals and perfumes, which they soak into our clothes (and then into our skin). Take into account the way our skin works, what touches our skin can end up inside our blood stream (like nicotine/birth control patches). Having head to toe fabric softener patches would not be such a good idea. Try the dryer balls that tumble around and massage the fabric with little fingers and soften the fabric (the same way the factory does to turn raw cotton into soft wearable material).
–How to clean your lint screen if you use dryer sheets. (video link) A test you can do yourself. If water cannot pass through the lint screen your clothes won’t dry. See what dryer sheets can do to your lint screen that could break your dryer and cost you hundreds of dollars to repair. I suggest you avoid using dryer sheets to prevent negative consequences to your health (chemicals absorb through skin into your blood stream) and prevent damage to your dryer. If you insist on using the sheets I suggest cleaning the screen regularly to prevent wasting electricity and time waiting for long dry cycles.
—Always remove your clothes from the dryer while they’re still warm. The longer they sit around in the drum of your machine, the more likely they will be to have wrinkles. Listening for the buzzer not only keeps the laundry process moving, but will prevent you further headaches after you fold.
—Too many people over dry these days. This leads to static cling and fabric damage (not to mention energy wasted). For automatic dryers or cycles use
“Damp Dry”. For timed dryers or cycles get to know how much time different fabrics or load sizes need. If you err on the side of less time you can always run another short cycle to finish off drying. Always read your care labels. Cotton clothing, as well as some blends, react better to certain temperatures or drying times. You can greatly reduce fabric damage that leads to wrinkling through correct care. Do not leave in the dryer too long. Take out when still slightly damp, the heat in the dryer ages fabrics. For jeans and other cottons we want the material to still be damp in the thick spots (like seam on legs, pockets etc. where material is doubled or tripled up). The moisture will wick away and evaporate off (especially if still hot/warm). Use the buzzer on the dryer so you can catch it right when its finished. Then the fabric is still warm (if not, then maybe its still too damp). This saves time too, then you are not waiting for clothes that are already dry and you can get the laundry transferred from the washer sooner and ultimately finish sooner. Turn dark clothes inside out and dry on the lowest heat. Fluffing down Comforters/Jackets: Put a couple of tennis balls or dryer balls in the dryer with them to reduce static.
—Run split cycles. Especially with material that makes a lot of lint. If I have items that I know take an hour to dry, I will set it to 30 minutes, then empty the lint trap and put them on for another 30 minutes (or less if I feel they are drying quickly). Having the lint screen clear improves efficiency and makes it dry faster. The lint usually comes off as things are just starting to get dry on the surface. This may be harder to do when using “auto-dry or “sensi-dry” cycles or machines. This advice is best used with “timed dry” cycles or machines.
—Square One Insurance on preventing dryer fires