Tumble dryers are not quite up there among true kitchen essentials, but the technology in these machines has reached a point where they are quiet, convenient and not the drain on the power that they once were. There are options out there to suit all tastes, such as combi models that incorporate tumble drying technology into a washing machine and even smart tumble dryers that can be activated remotely with a mobile app. Regardless of which model you choose, we have brought together 10 fantastic tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of the dryer.
1. Only Position Tumble Dryers in a Ventilated Room
If you are short on space but determined to get a tumble dryer, it can be tempting to put it in an unconventional location like the garage. While space may be plentiful, so are the extremes of temperatures, and ventilation in such rooms is never great. Condenser dryers rely on a consistent temperature on the outside to work effectively, and that is something that can only be guaranteed in a garage with correct insulation. A vented dryer may be an option if there is an exit point for the vent to reach, but you should expect moisture build-up in the room if the temperature drops.
2. Clean the Filter Regularly
Your tumble dryer’s filter is not just there to collect lint and dirt that may make its way into the machine. It is also part of the air circulation within the device, and blocking it makes your dryer need to work harder to achieve the same results. There is even a safety aspect to regular cleaning, especially on older models, as if this lint comes into contact with heaters in the dryer, it can lead to a fire. Ideally, you will clean the filter after each drying cycle. Some models have sensors on the filters and will alert the user when the filter needs cleaning urgently.
3. Use the Various Programs
There are numerous settings on most tumble dryers, and the differences between each one are more significant than you may assume. The dryer runs different cycles depending on fabrics and materials, and this makes it imperative to attempt not to mix loads. Doing so will result in some clothes still being wet when they come out, defeating the purpose of the cycle.
4. Be Aware of Load Sizes
Tumble dryers prefer a happy medium with load sizes and putting too little or too much in the machine can affect drying quality. The manual for your dryer will give a good idea of the ideal weight of each load, and even then, it is a good idea to distribute that weight equally for an even clean. This is particularly pertinent on washer dryers, as most models cannot dry as much as they can wash.
5. Supervise the Dryer
Thanks to modern technology, fire risks that were once associated with tumble dryers are minimal. However, these machines are still more of a risk than anything else in the kitchen, and it is crucial to keep an eye on them while they work. Obviously, if you smell burning or see smoke, unplug the machine immediately, hopefully preventing any further issues before they have the chance to manifest.
6. Avoid Drying Anything Flammable
In line with the tip above, it is essential not to add anything particularly flammable to a tumble dryer. Most washing machines are useless for getting oil out of clothes, and oil is a naturally flammable substance. If the worst does happen and there is a chance of ignition, the last thing you want to do is to feed the flames.
7. Be Sensible with Clothing
You never want a tumble dryer to work harder than it has to, as it can draw more power and lead to uneven drying. If clothing is particularly wet when the cycle starts or tangled together into a single mass of material, it will require your dryer to work harder. Manually separating items on their way into the machine will take care of the latter. Most washing machines finish on a high-speed spin cycle to remove excess water from clothes, so make use of that to ease the drying process.
8. Empty the Water Regularly on Non-Plumbed Dryers
In many cases, it is unsuitable to plumb a dryer into the water supply. This means that excess water collected during the drying cycle must be removed manually. Most machines will keep working even when the water tank is full, and that water still needs to go somewhere. Take it from us when we say that the favoured destination is all over the floor, so regular emptying is often the lesser inconvenience.
9. Avoid Tumble Drying Some Items
At the core of tumble dryer functions are high temperatures and fast spin speeds. That is great for getting most clothes clean, but wholly unsuitable for others. As a general rule, any item of clothing with decoration or functionality that can be shrunk in high heat, like swimming costumes and trainers, should be avoided. Large items like bedding should be left to air dry too, as they are too large for all but the highest-capacity tumble dryers and will reduce airflow and still be wet at the end of the cycle.
10. Wait for the Cycle to Complete
Much as with a washing machine, every part of a tumble dryer cycle has been designed with quality and ease of use in mind. However, some people think that when the drying cycle is complete and the cooling scheme kicks in, that is a good time to remove the clothing. It is there for a reason, and impatience can lead to burning yourself on zips and buttons, while fabrics that are susceptible to ignition are at their most vulnerable point.