The Fix: How to Dry Delicates and Other Stuff

Style expert Kim Johnson Gross tells an iVillage member how to efficiently dry her garments

Q: Okay, so today is laundry day, and I just spent about 20 minutes hanging clothes to dry in my kitchen. (I have one of those drying racks.) I hang jeans, bras, T-shirts and sweaters, and a few button-down shirts. Most of my clothes are pretty new since I've lost so much weight, and I don't want to shrink or ruin them. So, do you have clothes that you air dry for any reason, or am I being too picky? ladyinpublic

A: Congratulations on losing weight and respecting your new clothes!

You are saving wear and tear on your clothes, not to mentions money, by hang-drying, but you could speed up the drying process by placing them in the dryer, but on a tumble, low-heat, gentle cycle. This works best for slow-drying clothes like cottons and denim. That being said, ALWAYS read the clothing labels for recommendations on how to clean the garment. They err on the conservative, which is good news for your concern.

The clothes that I always air-dry are bras and undies, and anything with lots of stretch, like workout clothes, anything in microfiber and also delicate fabrics like wool, cashmere, linen and washable silk.

Another good tip for prolonging the life of your clothes is to wash them on a cold water cycle. It preserves their color and size and it saves energy. Also, machine-wash all of your clothes inside out to protect the outside finish, and place delicate articles in perforated wash bags for added protection.

Use gentle soaps without fragrance. I particularly like those that are safe for the environment and meant for babies and young children.

If you do use a dryer, do not use dryer sheets. They simply release nice smelling chemicals into your clothes. Use white vinegar in the rinsing process for fresh smelling, clean soft results.

If you need fashion advice, just ask us on our message boards!

Kim Johnson Gross co-founded 'Chic Simple,' a book series selling over 1.5 million copies, which has helped women dress for every stage of their lives. Read her latest book, 'What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life' -- it will change your life! Got a question for Kim? Visit her expert page and ask away!

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