Dry Wisely

Clothes dryers use more energy on average than any other appliance, even your refrigerator. Follow a few simple tips on how to dry your clothes wisely and you can save money and extend the life of your clothes.

Easy
Households: 0 completed, 1 committed
180
Points ?
$10
Annual Savings
$0 - $0
Upfront Cost
These are estimates
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Energy and water savings

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0
kWh Electricity
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10
Therms Natural Gas
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0
Gallons Gas
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0
Gallons Water
  • Save 5-20% on energy costs for clothes drying
  • Reduce wear and tear and prolong the life of your clothes
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

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Overview

The Action
We will check out our dryer settings and dry wisely.
Is this action for me?
Yes!  This action is for everyone.
When and Who?
This action can be done any time by anyone.
How long will it take?
Quick - just a bit of time to review your dryer's settings and follow a few tips.
What is the cost?
There is no cost for this action!

Benefits

  • Save 5-20% on energy costs for clothes drying

  • Reduce wear and tear and prolong the life of your clothes

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Resources

Information

Best Practices on Washing and Drying from ENERGY STAR.

The Basics

There are a number of easy ways to use your dryer more efficiently and effectively to save energy and money and extend the life of your clothes.

Checklist

Think about whether it needs to be washed
Make sure your washer is completing the spin cycle
Get to know your dryer’s settings
Dry full loads
Dry just enough
Maintain and set up your dryer properly
Share the info with others
Post a list of actions

Wash Less

Did you know many people actually over wash and over dry their clothes? Before you wash & dry your next load of clothes take a minute and think about whether your clothes are actually dirty. If your clothes have only been worn once they might not need to be washed.  Of course for underwear, socks or workout clothes, you want to wash them every time. But for dress shirts, sweaters and pants and particularly jeans, you can wear them a few times before washing unless you were sweating or they are stained.  Bottom line - if they don’t pass the smell test, they need to be washed.  Check out the Consumer Reports recommended list of How Often to Wash some common items.

Dry Just Enough

Check out your dryer's settings for more efficient options.  If your dryer offers a "less dry" setting choose this option whenever possible.  For most dryers this setting will dry the clothes 95% and your clothes will feel dry. This saves both energy and is better for your clothes.   Using the low heat setting also saves energy.  It takes a bit longer to dry your clothes, but will also save both on your bill and reduce wear and tear on your clothes.  

Finally check to see if your dryer has a moisture sensor (you can find this by looking at the dryer manual or searching online for your dryer manual with your make and model number).  A moisture sensor tells the dryer when your clothes are dry and when to stop drying.  If your clothes dryer does not have a moisture sensor, it is likely over drying your clothes by up to 20-30 minutes. This wastes energy, money and puts extra wear and tear on your clothes.  If you don’t have a moisture sensor, consider upgrading to a new dryer, learn more on the Upgrade Clothes Dryer action page.  If you’re not ready to upgrade, to correct this you can check your dryer loads 20-30 minutes before the cycle finishes and stop the load early if clothes are dry.

Spin & Fill it Up

Other factors that affect how much energy is used in drying include how wet the clothes are and how full loads are. Making sure your clothes washer is working properly and completing the spin cycle reduces water before drying. Drying full loads makes better use of the energy used for drying.  You can also save energy by drying similar types of clothes at the same time and drying two or more loads in a row to take advantage of the dryer's retained heat.

Nuts & Bolts

Maintaining your dryer and making sure it is installed properly will also help keep energy use and costs down.  Cleaning your filter regularly improves air circulation and keeps drying times down.  It is also an important safety measure.  Make sure your dryer is vented properly.  Check your dryer’s manual for more information.  Finally think about where your dryer is located.  Installing it in a heated space will keep it from having to work extra hard to heat up and dry your clothes.

Post a Note

Once you have figured out the best tips and settings for your dryer, share the information with others in your household.  Post a list of actions near the dryer as a reminder.

Let the Sun Shine In

Finally, consider line drying your clothes. Line drying extends the lifetime of clothes and is the best way to save money, energy and emissions on drying!  Learn more on the Line Dry action page.