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Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Secrets To Make Clothes Look Better and Last Longer

Mary Hunt on

You should see the big wad of lint I just plucked from the trap of my clothes dryer. Ack! Where does all of that come from? I know I emptied all pockets, and I'm certain I did not wash a bag of pillow stuffing.

I'll tell you what it is, and I am not happy about this: It's visual proof the dryer is wearing out our clothes. Those fibers were neatly woven into these clothes only 30 minutes ago. For all the convenience a clothes dryer offers, it may come at the price of having to replace clothes much too often.

Overdrying clothes causes them to shrink, and not only the first time they're washed. Sleeves and pant legs continually get shorter and shorter when machine dried improperly.

There are tactics to counteract the abuse suffered in a clothes dryer, and you don't have to machine dry your clothes to death to end up with comfy jeans and fluffy, soft towels.


Residual detergent in fabrics causes them to feel rough. Measure carefully, erring on the side of too little detergent. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the last rinse. This will help remove the residual detergent from the fabrics. Even when air-dried, they will be softer.



Never machine dry clothes completely, especially jeans. Ten to 15 minutes is sufficient for most items to remove the major wrinkles. Then hang them from a clothesline, if you're lucky enough to have one, or an indoor clothes rack.


Remove partially dry jeans and all other pants from the dryer, and hang them by the hems on pant hangers equipped with clothespins or clamps. The weight of the pant will pull the fibers into place and keep the pants from getting shorter every time you launder them.


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