The Case of the Dryer Dilemna

So I am waiting for a pair of pants to dry before I leave on a trip.

I have heard it said that adding a dry towel to the wet item while running the dryer will decrease the ammount of time it takes for the wet item to dry.

On the surface, it seems to me, that this is what we do when we get out of the shower - run a dry towel over our wet selves. We are also adding dry surface area for the wet thing to rub against.

Now the old meteorologist in me thinks that while the relative humidity of the pants might lower, the absolute humidity of the contents of the dryer is what counts here, i.e. neither item will be entirely dry until they both are, and thats what counts.

What I haven’t taken into account is the rate of moisture transfer from wet pants to dry towel, and the relative evaporative rate of each item. And frankly, I don’t want to think about it right now. That’s what you guys are here for.

So, what’s the Straight Dope on the dryer dilemna?

You’re in Boulder for God’s sake! Put yer clothes outside to dry! It’s ecological! You save energy! You exercise while doing it! Plus, spandex only takes a few minute to dry, and that’s what all you Boulderites wear, right?

Permanent press fabric has been designed to be tumble-dried so as to shake out the wrinkles.

No. You must not spend much time doing large family-size loads of laundry. It’s quite common to discover (at least, with an ordinary non-dryness-sensor-equipped dryer) that one item in a load, like a heavier t-shirt or polo shirt, isn’t completely dry, especially on the collar, while the rest of the load of t-shirts is fine.

A garment that is merely damp dries in about half the time (WAG) as a garment that is just-out-of-the-washer wet. So when you put a dry and very absorbent item in with a garment that is just-out-of-the-washer wet, some of the water is soaked up by the dry and very absorbent item, changing the garment that is just-out-of-the-washer wet into one that is merely damp. Add to that the fact that thin polyester dries faster than thick cotton, and you end up with a pair of pants that are dry while the towel is still slightly damp.

Meteorology, in my experience, is only connected with dryers when the dryer breaks and you need to hang diapers out to dry on the back fence. Then you need to know whether it’s going to rain.