(To the users of E2, this node also applies to laundromat users, or anyone who has access to two or more dryers. I just use a college student because, I am one, and when I was inspired to write this, the target was a college student. Thank you, please read on.)
Welcome, dear college student. I see you are preparing to plop your wet laundry into that dryer machine. Yes, I see that you have your quarters ready and everything. I caution you, dear college student, there are things about that dryer that you need to know. Yes, yes, there are buttons on the top. No, I don’t really know what they do. But! You have more control than those mere buttons. Open that sucker up!
Take a look inside. See that? That’s a lint trap. Lift it out. Yes, just like that. Now, you see that pattern on there? How the lint is all washed-out looking and doesn’t really cover the whole trap, not even half of it, I’d say. Now. Let’s look at one of the other dryers. Don’t put that first lint trap back in yet. We’re here to compare! Now, pull out that second lint trap. See how the lint in the second trap is thicker, fuller, and covers more area of the lint trap? That’s our first sign. This second dryer just might be better!
Now, lay those lint traps on top of their respective machines. We’re going to look at the space the lint traps were covering. See that hole that the lint trap was covering? That’s the air duct for the air in the machine to escape through. See how the lint is really built up in the first one? And how the lint is not so built up in the second one? The air is going to have a hard time getting out if it has to pass through all that lint. That’s our second sign, now we’re on a roll!
Ah, don’t put those traps back in just yet! There’s yet another part of this machine that needs examining. See that grill covering where the lint trap was? It’s there to keep the clothing off the trap during the spin cycles. Now, do you see even more lint built up that thing? That’s probably one of the main reasons that so little of the trap in the first dryer was covered with lint. The air just couldn’t pass through the parts of the grill that were clogged with lint.
Here, take this pencil. Get a good grip on it, and poke it around in the grill and dislodge as much of that lint build up as you can. Now, can you stick your hand down into the lint space? Ahh, I see you can’t. Well, use that pencil to knock off as much of that lint build up down there as you can. Careful now, wouldn’t want to lose the pencil!
Yes, now you can clean off the lint traps and stick them back in.
So, what have we learned here?
The second machine has less lint built up in it. This will facilitate better air flow, meaning a better chance your clothes get dry. We have some slight control over the lint build up, but not much.
Speaking of clothes… that load is huge! It’s simply too much, my friend. If you put that much clothes in the dryer, your clothes will almost certainly come out damp. I recommend that you fill the dryer, at most, a little over half full. Any more and the air just wont be moving through. And that, again, does not lead to dry clothes.
Now we’re ready! Clothes in, quarters in, a dryer sheet; if you dare. Turn it on, and… 45 minutes later, your clothes just might be dry!
These tips are of my own devising. I have based them off my experience with dryers over the span of one year, which ones worked, which ones didn't, and how I think dryers work.
The clothes dryer works by blowing hot air into a rotating cylinder. The rotation tumbles the clothes and gives the air a better chance of hitting more surfaces on the clothing in the dryer. The now cooler, damper air has to get out or it will slow down the drying process. This is where the lint trap comes in. The lint trap seems to be an attempt at keeping lint from building up in the air duct when the air escapes. Instead, the majority of the lint is supposed to get trapped in the lint trap so that the user can easily remove it. When dryers see heavy use, as in a laundromat or at a college, the lint builds up no matter what.
All of the washing and drying machines in my dorm are owned by some off-campus corporation. This means that all of the innards are, for all intents and purposes, sealed off tight.
So how does the enterprising college student make sure that their dryer is working right? Well, you can't. Not until you use it, anyways. You can, however, give yourself a chance of picking the better of several dryers by using the tips I described above.
Once again, remember the load size. Do not fill up the dryer. If you do so, there will be no air circulation at all and your clothes will dry very little, if at all. At home, you can probably get away with larger loads because you dont have to deal with the extreme numbers of people who use them at a laundromat.
momomom says: consider hanging up clothes while still somewhat damp to reduce wrinkles AND cost of drying.
I definitely agree with momomom on this. Often I have found the clothes to be nearly dry when they come out of the dryer, and not worth the effort of putting them through the dryer again. I usually spread them across my bed and shelves with a fan blowing on them to finish up the drying, if I need to.
MALTP says re clothes dryer: Lying clothes flat on a bed is a pretty slow way to dry them out -- better to drape them over a chair or table, or even hang them from hangers stuck in weird places around your room, so air can circulate around them.