You love your favorite t-shirt. To make it last as many movie nights and lunch dates as possible, it’s important to use the right settings come laundry day. Choosing the correct dryer settings will protect your clothing from shrinking, fading, and wrinkling and the energy savings may mean a little more movie money.

Dryer settings for dummies infographic

Dryer Settings for Dummies

Air Fluff

This cycle doesn’t use heat. Throw in a dryer sheet to add freshness and remove wrinkles, dust, and lint. Good for: clothing that has been in storage, dry-clean-only items between cleanings.

Permanent Press

Perm press applies medium heat and can be used for almost any article of clothing from dry-clean-only garments and delicates. It's best to dry colors on this setting, because the heat of regular cycles will fade them.

Delicates / Gentle

This cycle will do for women’s delicates if you’re in a pinch. All loose-weave sweaters and exercise clothing should be dried on this cycle as well as any silk, rayon, or embellished garment.

Regular / Heavy

The high heat of these settings dry clothes quickly, but will also fade colors and damage embellishments. Only use this setting to dry whites and durable items like towels and sheets.

Automatic / Timed Dry

Setting your dryer to automatic or timed dry will apply the same high temperatures as a regular/heavy cycle. Heat is harsh on clothing, so only choose these settings for thick, durable fabrics.

Steam Cycle

The steam cycle is optimal for freshening up clothing that shouldn’t or doesn’t need to be washed. Running a steam cycle after a drying cycle will help prevent clothes left in the dryer from wrinkling.

Using the correct dryer settings will make your home more energy efficient, but if you really want to trim down your power bill, try running the dryer less often. Your dryer requires a lot of energy on any setting, so line drying clothes will reduce energy output significantly. Collapsible drying racks make this possible in apartments and condos. If you must use the dryer, remember to keep your lint screen clean, as this will allow your dryer to run most efficiently.