9 Dryer Mistakes To Avoid To Save Time And Money

dryer mistakes

Have you ever left your clothes in the dryer for more than an hour, only to find them still damp? Or maybe you’re tired of pulling shrunken or wrinkle-ridden clothes out of the dryer? If so, it could very well be a classic case of “user error!”

The unfortunate truth is that many of us are guilty of committing a variety of dryer mistakes (myself included!), but on the bright side, there is hope! Most of the problems that result from common dryer mistakes are 100% solvable, and I’ll be sharing those solutions with you in this post.

No matter what type of dryer dilemma you’re facing, learning to avoid these 9 dryer mistakes is sure to help you solve it!

No dryer? No problem! Check out these useful tips for air drying laundry.

9 Dryer Mistakes That Cost You Time And Money

dryer mistakes

1. You Don’t Use Dryer Balls

If you aren’t familiar with the magic of dryer balls, it’s time to give them a try! Wool dryer balls are the perfect eco-friendly way to save money on laundry. They speed up drying times, reduce wrinkles and static, and are far more sustainable than dryer sheets.

And you don’t just have to take my word for it! This is what OGT reader Nicole G. had to say about using dryer balls:

“I decided to try these felt dryer balls as a substitute for commercial dryer sheets. Boy, am I glad I did! They help dry my clothes and minimize wrinkles without heavy perfume. They will be a money saver as I won’t have to buy dryer sheets anymore.”

Because dryer balls separate items and help them dry faster, they save you money on energy. Unlike plastic dryer balls or tennis balls, wool dryer balls are quiet. Plus, you can add a drop of two of essential oils to the dryer balls to soften and scent your laundry without chemicals. They’re a total game-changer!


dryer mistakes

2. You Fill It Too Much (Or Not Enough)

Did you know that fabric expands as it dries? While it’s great for making your freshly laundered towels nice and fluffy, expansion means that oversized loads may not tumble correctly as they dry. Alternatively, clothes in an undersized load can clump together and increase drying time while wasting energy!

The solution? Split large loads into two smaller loads, and add a few lint-free towels to smaller loads to avoid problematic clumping. Once you find that “just right” load size for your dryer, your dryer will run much more efficiently and you’ll run into fewer problems!

dryer mistakes

3. You Don’t Take Advantage Of Residual Heat

Speaking of efficiency, there’s one very good reason to dedicate a whole day to doing laundry rather than doing one load every day throughout the week. When you dry a few loads back to back, you can take advantage of the residual heat left in the dryer from the previous load instead of starting from room temperature, which means faster drying!

dryer mistakes

4. You Let Your Clothes Sit In The Dryer

If your clothes are wrinkled when you take them out of the dryer, you may be letting them sit for too long. When you leave laundry sitting in the dryer for too long after it’s dried, wrinkles can set in and the clothes can even shrink in the residual heat!

To avoid these unfortunate effects, remove your laundry promptly after the drying cycle ends. And if you’re not ready to fold right away, shake the items out and lay them flat until you’re ready to fold them!

dryer mistakes

5. You Over-Dry

Similar to the way the heat from a blow dryer can damage your hair over time, excessive heat from dryer can damage your clothes and linens too. Set the timer on your dryer conservatively to avoid damage like yellowing, wrinkles, shrinking, loss of elasticity, and textural changes

You can always check your laundry at the end of the cycle to see whether it needs to dry a bit more, but you can’t reverse the effects of over-drying after the fact! (Pro Tip: Embrace the damp dry setting!)

dryer mistakes

6. You Don’t Empty The Lint Trap After Each Load

There are two main reasons you need to clean your lint trap regularly. The first is safety-related, because clogged lint traps can cause your dryer to overheat and potentially create a fire hazard.

The second reason is that it’s more economical. If your lint trap isn’t clean, the airflow in your dryer suffers, your clothes take longer to dry, and your dryer eats up more energy. So be safe and save energy by cleaning your lint trap before or after each and every cycle!

dryer mistakes

7. You Don’t Clean It

Much like cleaning out your lint trap regularly, it’s also important to deep clean your dryer once a month or so, including washing the lint trap with soap and water.

Regular cleanings keep your machine working efficiently and help prevent fires that can be caused by lint and residue buildup. (And who wants to throw their clean clothes in a dirty machine anyway?)

dryer mistakes

8. You Don’t Understand How All Your Dryer’s Functions Work

Many people only use one or two of their dryer’s programs, usually because they don’t understand what the other ones do or when to use them. But if you don’t know understand your dryer’s options, you may be missing out on some very useful functions!

To make sure you’re reaping all of your dryer’s benefits, master your machine by taking the time to read your dryer’s user manual. (If you threw it out, you can usually find them on the manufacturer’s website.)

dryer mistakes

9. You Open The Dryer Door Too Often

If you’re trying to increase efficiency, avoid opening the dryer door after you start a cycle to keep the hot air trapped inside. Every time you open the door, the dryer drum loses heat and adds time to the drying cycle.

What’s your best tip or trick for making the most of your dryer?

Read This Next

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • We purchased the largest capacity washer and dryer available years ago (LG) as I got tired of having to cart large bulky items (spreads and the like) into town to sketchy laundromats for laundering. On the dryer I only ever use the permanent press cycle, which is sensor controlled, so over drying is nonexistent. Also, the dryer even has a sensor that alerts you if the filter hasn’t been cleaned.

  • A couple of decades ago I got rid of all my laundry products and switched to using salt water in the bleach and fabric dispensers, just 1-2 tablespoons of unscented laundry powder, and wool dryer balls.

    It took 8-10 washings way back then to remove all the residues left by liquid laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and other laundry additives.

    My clothes are clean, soft, and supple, and don’t smell – as in, no smell at all. (N.B. There is a slight salt smell when clothes are wet. It completely disappears once dry.) The only other product I ever use is oxygen bleach in hottest water loads as needed. I don’t even budget for laundry products anymore, the savings is so huge.

    (To make saturated salt water, I put a couple of cups of plain salt in a gallon jug and fill with tap water. After a couple of days I pour the salt water off into quart bottles for ease of use, then add more salt and fill the jug with water again for next time. I use salt crystals designed for water softeners, one 50 lb bag for $8 from Home Depot lasts me several years.)

  • I occasionally will if I have one nearby put a dry towel in with loads that take longer to dry. It helps to speed things up by absorbing excess moisture.

  • That is what I grew up with my dad telling me. However, when I got out on my own, I have lived in places with electric everything and I have never noticed a big difference. That has been, oh…40 years now. I don’t really know how true that is today with energy-efficient products.

  • One of the very worst mistakes you can make with your drier is using that cheap flex hose to hook up your vent. Those hoses are the very worst at collecting lint and causing problems.

  • When you used the wool dryer balls, you do NOT used fabric softener nor dryer sheets?? Just the balls alone?

    How often should the balls be replaced? How many do you use at one time??

    Thanks everyone!!

    • Want to soften your clothes, remove detergent and softener residue and make the colors brighter? Ditch the liquid softener and dryer sheets and start using white vinegar in the softener dispenser in the washer. I did this a few months ago without telling my wife, and a few weeks ago she suddenly noticed how much brighter tha colors were on everything. And here’s another little fact that you didn’t know about. Did you know that an ingredient in fabric softener is paraffin (wax)? Rub your fingers on a dryer sheet and you’ll notice it. Know what paraffin does? It repels water. Now, think about what that does for your towels, and how that will build up on all your fabrics over time.

  • Great tips! On the fire safety side of things I’m glad you pointed out the lint trap & cleaning the hose. I’d like to point out one more from a fireman friend of ours. We were talking about a house fire he worked one day and I asked if they knew yet what caused it. The family had lost everything. The house had literally burned to the ground. Everyone was safe though! He said it was a dryer fire. I asked him other than keeping the lint trap cleaned out what other safety tips did we need to know. He said to clean the lint trap after every load, clean the vent hose regularly and NEVER open the dryer during a cycle because it can & does spark fires. I asked if that only pertained to gas dryers and he said no, that any dryer could spark and that it has a cool down function for a reason, so don’t try to grab something out mid cycle, always let it cool down & let the buzzer tell you when it’s ready to have the door opened. I’ve been scared to open the door while it was running ever since!!

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