Dear Home-Ec 101,
I love, love, love my sweaters! I anxiously await the autumn weather so I can wear them again.
When I dry them in the dryer (even without heat) they get beat up and often the seam (especially where a turtle-neck is attached) will begin to unravel and fray. I have attempted hanging the sweaters but the resulting unsightly pucker marks are unacceptable and the sweater will often fall hopelessly out of shape. (Not unlike the rest of us as we age!)
Of course, I know to lay them flat to dry. However, I live in a highly humid area and laying them flat to dry not only requires space I just don’t have but my sweaters will literally begin to mildew/sour. I can dry them with a fan, etc. but I seriously can only make room to lay out one or two sweaters at a time when I have many more.
So…..now that I have drawn out the whole story…..do you have any suggestions?
Damp in Durant
Dear Damp in Durant:
Washing sweaters is such a treat, no? Since they have to be treated gently and washed on the delicate or hand washing cycle, not all the water is extracted during the spin process. When you place the sweater on a flat surface to dry, the water that would drip away pools under the sweater, only to be wicked back up into the material. This fun little cycle creates the perfect condition for mildew growth, especially in humid climates. The only thing more fun than removing mildew from regular laundry is trying to get mildew out of your delicate laundry.
Drying Sweaters 101
A folding drying rack is one possibility. Typically they fold up small enough to slide between your washer and dryer or one of the appliances and a wall. There are also hanging drying racks that can be stored in a closet. I’m not saying run out and buy one, just tossing it out as an option for sweater lovers like yourself. If you do opt for a rack, choose one with screens, or heavier sweaters may sag between the rungs, distorting the garment’s shape.
My simple solution for quickly drying sweaters is to lay them flat on an absorbent bath towel.
The towel wicks up a lot of the moisture preventing the sweater from sitting in a pool of water. And yes, running a fan in the room significantly cuts the drying time when you live in a humid area. If the sweater is especially thick or heavy, I often swap out the towel with a fresh one partway through the drying process.
You’ll find that drying your sweaters flat will also help them keep their shape.
Since the towels have only touched clean laundry, I hang them for later use rather than tossing them into the hamper and adding to this household’s laundry — with eight people — we don’t need any. more. laundry.
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