You tried on five different sweaters before choosing the one that was just perfect. After wearing it once, you wash and dry it to keep it in great condition. The only problem is you missed the instructions that said you weren't supposed to put your new sweater in the dryer and now it's two sizes smaller and no longer fits you. That's disheartening, but there are steps you can take to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

Should You Use the Clothes Dryer or the Clothesline?

If you washed your clothes using the regular or permanent press settings on your wash machine, it's usually okay to put them in the clothes dryer afterwards. However, there are certain types of clothing that should never go in the dryer. These include:

  • Wool
  • Lined items
  • Sweaters
  • Delicate fabrics

These items are likely to shrink, lose buttons or other decorative pieces, or become frayed due to the high heat of the drying cycle. You should also exercise caution and consider using the dryer on a case-by-case basis for these items:

  • Synthetic fabrics
  • Clothing with elastic
  • Undergarments with wires
  • Fabrics containing sheer or mesh

How to Get the Best Results

If your clothes are safe to put in the dryer, be sure to look them over one last time before making the transfer. It's possible that the wash machine didn't do a thorough job of removing stains that could then set in during the drying cycle. Be sure to clean the lint trap before or after each use, select the proper settings, and not overload the dryer.

Hanging your clothes out to dry also has several benefits. Some of these include:

  • Eliminates static cling
  • Gives your clothes that fresh breeze smell
  • Conserves energy
  • Prolongs the life of your clothes dryer

Just remember to evaluate each type of clothing individually and your clothes should retain their color and cleanness for months or years to come.