The washer and dryer in your home are designed to work together. But in the balance of time, the dryer often takes longer than the washer when trying to move multiple loads of laundry through the machines. This is made all the more challenging if your dryer seems to have slowed down on how long it takes to dry clothes, or if clothes are not dry when a cycle is complete.
For modern sensing dryers that know when to stop, the right tactics can help to optimize your dryer’s drying speed. You can quick-dry damp clothes, fluff towels, and fully dry full loads from the washer all much more quickly once you make a few easy adjustments.
Clear the Lint Trap Before Every Cycle
The dryer heats and spins, but it also channels airflow. In order to make the clothes dry, they are warmed so the water evaporates into steam. However, for that moisture to leave the dryer, it needs to exit through a duct. As the steam rises, it carries lint with it through the lint trap and then out into the dryer vent and duct. The lint trap is the first obstacle for steam leaving the dryer. If it fills with lint, no more steam can pass and that moisture stays trapped in the dryer, preventing your clothes from drying.
The best way to keep your lint trap clear (and your drying time optimized) is to clean the lint trap before every single dryer load. Check the trap before you hit the button and if there’s enough to gather, clear it out, and then start the dryer.
Pull the Dryer Away from the Wall
After the lint trap, a cramped duct is the leading cause of dryers not drying. This happens for two reasons. The first that the dryer walks itself backward on wobbling legs, crushing the flexible duct that usually connects a dryer to the outside vent. The second is that someone pushes both the washer (which can back up to the wall) and the dryer (which can’t) both with their back panels touching the wall. This also crushes the flexible vent.
If the flexible vent is twisted, crushed, or pinched, then the damp air can’t flow through and therefore moisture can’t escape the dryer. Again, this prevents your clothes from drying.
Pull your dryer a few inches (6+) away from the wall and make sure the duct behind is looped in a way that does not pinch.
Choose the Right Drying Settings
It can be tempting to set your dryer to one setting and just hit ‘start’ every time. Instead, put a little thought into the settings for each load you dry. It’s smart to use high heat for towels, raising it from low or medium heat used for your everyday laundry. Have a sensing dryer or indicate the load size. If your dryer has subjective settings, let it know if you are drying heavy, normal, or delicate laundry with each load. This will help your dryer use the right balance of heat and airflow to most efficiently dry your laundry.
Clean the Dryer Vent and Duct
If your lint trap is clean and your duct is straightened out (or looped loosely) and you still have damp clothes after drying, it’s time for a little more hands-on action. You’ll want to clean the dryer duct and vents. Lint can build up on the inside of that flexible tube and the apertures at both ends. If a clog has occurred in the line, then your clothes can’t lose moisture and get dry.
Push the dryer away from the wall and loosen the screw on the ring-clamps connecting the flexible duct. Detach the duct at both ends and clean it with a brush, gloved hand, or a vacuum hose. Clean the lint out of the vent connectors on both sides of the duct as well. Then reconnect the duct using the available ring clamps. Tighten the screw to tighten the clamp.
Make Sure the Dryer Feet are Level
Appliances are often disadvantaged when they do not stand level. A washer will scrape and bang, but a dryer may walk itself to the point of blocking the duct. We mentioned this possibility earlier in the article. If your dryer’s feet are not even (or your dryer is sitting on uneven ground) it can wobble until the flexible duct is pinched.
This can cause repetitive problems with clothes not getting dry. Not to mention the need to constantly pull your dryer back out and check on the duct.
Most dryer feet are self-leveling. This means that they extend and retract when you twist them clockwise or counterclockwise.
Sort Laundry by Weight
You may have noticed if you put a heavy pair of jeans into a load of normal clothes, it takes the jeans and everything else much longer to dry. Be sure to sort your laundry by weight. Sort heavier items into a separate load or wash them with your towels instead. This way, things that dry at the same pace so that all clothing in the dryer is ready at the same time.
Throw In a Dry Towel
On the flip-side, you can also help to accelerate drying with a single heavy item. one dry towel in a load of wet clothes can help to absorb and disperse some of the moisture. This pulls moisture out of the clothes while only making the towel lightly damp, which is quickly solved by the dryer’s heated tumbling.
Prevent Tangling Scenarios
Long and stretchy clothes have their own potential for preventing a rapid drying speed. If leggings get wrapped around a few shirts or an elastic sheet wraps around the rest of a bedding-load, the whole lot stays wadded and damp instead of drying. Do what you can to prevent this kind of tangling to prevent damp knots at the end of the drying cycle. Pantyhose, for example, is often washed in a mesh bag to keep them safe and prevent dryer tangling.
Make Sure Your Washer is Spinning Properly
Last but not least, listen. If your dryer isn’t spinning or if it isn’t heating properly, then the speed of drying will naturally be slowed. Pay attention to determine if your dryer is functioning normally or if it is in need of repairs. For more information or to schedule a dryer repair service, contact us today!