Best practices for drying clothing

Best Practices for Drying Garments

I thought it would be beneficial for those of us who handle our own garment care, to write a quick article about what I have found to be the most effective approach to drying apparel. Please note that for obvious reasons this article won’t be covering dry clean only garments.

I have come to realize a hard truth, following the care instructions on the clothing tag is not always what is best for the garment. For example, when a shirt tag recommends tumble dry it rarely is the best option, though it usually is the quickest.

In fact, the choice way to dry a shirt is to hang or lay flat on a drying rack. Once the shirt is dried, if it’s wrinkled and the tag says it’s okay, a quick tumble dry for a couple minutes or a warm iron should do the trick. This way takes a small amount of additional effort but significantly increases the life of the garment, allowing it to hold its original color and shape longer.

For pants and shorts made from twill or denim I prefer to tumble dry them as it is easiest and the styles I wear hold their shape well, despite the harshness of the heat. If you regularly dry jeans you can expect for them to shrink in length about 1-2 inches depending on the brand. My Levi’s shrink exactly 2 inches, literally every pair I’ve ever owned, so I plan accordingly.

This means that as a hobbit, I need a size 30 inseam so I will buy my jeans with a 32 inseam and roll the legs up until they shrink and the roll is not necessary. This strategy works perfect for me because I prefer to hang dry the majority of my shirts but I don’t have the time to hang dry all of my clothes. It's worth noting that a garment can continue to shrink even if it has gone thru the dryer numerous times.

Although it sounds super weird and unnecessarily tedious, hosiery is best left out of the dryer. Aside from the mysterious disappearance of my socks once they enter the dryer, using a drying rack for my hosiery has allowed them to remain comfortable, hold their shape and color as well as remain durable. Nothing is worse than a toe poking through a sock or an unintended tear in the undies. I recommend if you are washing them at home, use a drying rack but anywhere else, avoid the awkward conversation and just run them through the dryer.

Keep in mind that these are what I have found to be best practices for myself but everybody is different. I will leave you with this rule of thumb; if a garment fits perfectly off the rack, even if it is preshrunk, avoid putting it through the dryer.

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