How to Use a Dry Towel in the Dryer to Aid Drying

Lorna Hordos

By tossing a dry towel in with damp clothes you can significantly cut drying time. As it sounds, it's a relatively simple process, but with a few suggestions, such as towel type and load size, your laundry should come out less wrinkled too. This economical trick, however, is not for all fabric types or clothing items.

Loading Up

By overloading or under-loading the dryer, clothing can't tumble properly, and it's the tumbling action that partly aids drying and reduces wrinkling. Fill the dryer appropriately -- less full for heavy items, and fuller for lightweight clothing. Toss in a clean, dry towel, and set the dry time to about half that you normally would -- the towel acts as a thirsty sponge, reducing dry time. Begin checking the laundry when the dryer stops, increasing the time by 5 to 15 minutes, as needed.

Color Counts

Not only should the towel you use to aid drying be clean, it should be colorless. With a white towel, you don't have to worry about color transfer to the damp items that rub against it. On the flip side, color from dark or bright clothes can transfer to a white towel, so you may want to dedicate a towel just for this purpose.

Fabric Matters

It may be tempting to retire a worn, old, rough towel to drying-aid duty. But a rough towel can breakdown or damage delicate fabrics, and cause sheets or other bedding to pill. Although you shouldn't mix or launder any towel or towels with such items, it's best to use a soft, absorbent cotton towel to avoid unnecessary wear or fading even with durable clothing, such as jeans or other towels. Just don't use a new, unwashed towel; not only is color transfer a problem but lint is too.

Time is Energy

The longer the drier runs, the more energy wasted -- 25 percent more approximately, if you don't add a dry towel. Other ways to reduce drying time include regularly cleaning the lint filter for improved airflow -- and reduced fire danger. But if you over dry a load of clothes, or let them sit for too long after the dryer stops, a clean towel also comes in handy to take out wrinkles: Dampen the towel, toss it back in, and turn the drier on for another 15 minutes of so. The damp towel creates steam, which helps release the creases in the clothes.