Reading time: 480 words, 1 to 2 minutes

Do you use a dryer to dry your clothes? If so, you may be shortening the life of clothes by drying them too long. Much of clothing wear and tear happens when clothes tumble into each other in the dryer. Wet clothes wear less than dry clothes so the longer your clothes tumble, and the dryer they get, the more they wear.

The lint in the lint trap is an indicator of wear and tear. Lint is not “dust”. Dirt and dust are removed in the washer. Lint is the fiber torn away from clothes. The more lint, the more you are wearing out your clothes.

I’m a life-long, high-rise hermit often using shared laundry facilities and many of my neighbors have shown me what NOT to do. Occasionally, someone forgets to clean the lint trap after drying. I’ve seen some real horror stories: lint an inch thick! That’s from clothes being beaten by tumbling too long.

I make my clothes last by removing them before they’re perfectly dry and then air drying them back in my suite. Ideally, clothes should be slightly cool when removed. Seems can even be a bit damp. Warm clothes usually mean more lint. HOT clothes means they’ve been left in the dryer WAY too long and create lots of lint. I can dry three loads of laundry with barely any lint on the lint trap.

Not only that but heat weakens and breaks fiber; the hotter, the more damage. Broken fiber rips easier and is more apt to turn into lint next time you dry them.

In Grandma’s day, they made clothes last a lot longer. That’s not just because they we made of superior cloth. It’s because clothes were hung on a clothes line to dry where they weren’t slamming into each other. They may have flapped in the breeze but that wasn’t nearly as damaging as over-heated clothes slamming into each other in an electric dryer. Incidentally, clothes-line drying also killed germs and bacteria with Mother Nature’s own bleach: sunlight.

You won’t find clothing manufacturers warning you about this. Why would they? They want you to prematurely wear out your clothes so you’ll buy more. By air-drying, not only do you save money making clothes last longer; you use less electricity.

The only downside to apartment air-drying is the bedroom is a mess for a couple hours with slightly damp clothes hanging from dresser drawers, draped on the bed, hanging from open closet folding-doors & handles and on hangers here and there while they finish drying. Hint: be careful with damp clothes on wooden furniture. I’ve lined the top of dresser drawers with clear packing tape to prevent moisture damaging the finish.

Believe it or not, but I still have an Arrow shirt I wore in grade 11. That was forty years ago. Too bad it doesn’t fit anymore …

November 19, 2011

About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I'm back in stocks. I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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