Can I get away with putting these "line dry" pants in the dryer?
April 7, 2010 11:49 AM   Subscribe

LaundryFilter: I recently bought some stretch cotton pants. According to the label, stretch cotton is defined as c. 97-98% cotton, with the remainder being spandex. Unfortunately, that very same label informs me that I'm supposed to line dry these pants, which is enormously inconvenient for me. Could I get away with putting these through a few minutes in a regular dryer on the low dry/delicates setting or would that destroy the pants?

I suspect that the manufacturer is recommending an overly cautious approach here in order to protect itself from liability. But if I'm wrong, please let me know.

As always, many thanks in advance.
posted by jason's_planet to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh my gosh you're totally fine. I have many pants identical to that and I dry the fuck out of all of them. No harm done at all. They fit tighter at first but I like them that way anyway.
posted by kthxbi at 11:53 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

And by dry the fuck I mean I throw all my clothes together in the dryer one the hottest setting until they're all completely dry. You're fine.
posted by kthxbi at 11:54 AM on April 7, 2010

posted by kthxbi at 11:54 AM on April 7, 2010

Best answer: When I don't have a clothesline I dry those same pants in a hot dryer because what am I made of, quarters? but a cool dryer should not be a problem. basically, high heat is your enemy, not air blowing on them.

Here are the potential problems:

the pants could shrink - they usually shrink upward (like the hems will rise)

the pants could shred - not literally, you just might notice them getting "hairy" on the surface from breaks in the spandex fibers. they will not fit as well (mold as smoothly) after that happens.

the pants could warp - if the thread used in assembly is not preshrunk, drying in a hot dryer will make your seams shrink and pucker, or shrink and twist around your legs in spirals.

but if you are drying cool, shouldn't be any problem. do NOT use a hot dryer even for a few minutes, because the damage occurs right away. maybe dry them on low until they're not soggy, then hang them over a hanger someplace ventilated?

/former retail apparel wage slave
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:55 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I mean "do NOT" in the sense of if these pants mean the world to you, and you personally could not live with them being up to 1/8 inch shorter, a little fuzzy on the surface and with slightly wrappy seams, do NOT.

but if you're worried about the laundromat catching fire, your pants is, to be honest, the least of your worries.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:58 AM on April 7, 2010

I would toss them in on a low/fluff cycle.

You can improvise line drying by getting some hangers with a horizontal cross bar & hanging them from your shower curtain rod. Or, if your shower curtain rod isn't dusty, just tossing them over your shower curtain rod.
posted by MesoFilter at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2010

Best answer: I am overly cautious about putting things in the dryer; I've had too many T-shirts emerge too short to wear to leave anything up to chance.

You can just throw the pants over the cross bar of a hanger and leave them somewhere they can get a little air. They should be dry in a few hours or overnight.

toodleydoodley outlined why the dryer might not be your best friend here.
posted by AtomicBee at 12:11 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would dry them for 10-15 min on low and then hang on a rack in the bathtub.
posted by matildaben at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2010

I agree that you can dry the fuck out of these pants, and that I too am not made of quarters. But I just wanted to meekly add that cotton stretch pants usually air dry pretty quickly, is my experience. And I live in a very humid climate.

Have you tried yet draping them over a hanger and just hanging them in the closet or over the shower curtain rod for the night? I totally understand the inconvenience, but it will help them last longer to be air dried. And if you haven't tried it yet, it might not be as inconvenient as you think it will be.
posted by ErikaB at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2010

Best answer: Drying fabrics with spandex hastens the degradation of the spandex fibers, but a low heat setting shouldn't be too big of a deal, unless these are expensive investment-grade pants.
posted by padraigin at 12:14 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just a quick note in praise of line-drying:

I air-dry all of my knits and most of my pants-- basically, I air-dry all the garments that I care about. It's not a big deal. I hang stuff on drip-dry hangers in the bathroom, and I have a bunch of these. It makes a huge difference. I've got three-year-old jersey cardigans that look more-or-less new, and I've had tissue tees that lasted about that long, despite pretty heavy wear. As others have said, you probably won't ruin your pants by putting them in the dryer-- but if you really like their look and fit, air drying's your best bet.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:16 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding padraigin. It's not the cotton you have to worry about; it's the spandex. Heat kills elastic/rubbery things. For the same reason, you really shouldn't put bras and panties in the dryer.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:19 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

And as you can see, my tried and true method of being a lazy college student has been SHOT DOWN by the masses. Oh well. I'll continue drying my pants in the dryer tyvm.
posted by kthxbi at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2010

Best answer: Seriously, just drape them over a chair for a day and you'll be good to go. It's not worth potentially ruining your pants. "Line dry" doesn't mean you need an actual "line."
posted by chowflap at 2:51 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a rack for when I have lots of stuff to hang-dry, otherwise stuff goes over the back of chairs. Works just fine.
posted by Billegible at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all of your prompt responses. I posted this question on my break, went down to the deli to get some gum and had well-thought-out responses by the time I got back.

I ultimately chose to line-dry them. An apartment-dweller's version of line-drying, at the very least. It worked pretty well, although it took longer than I would have liked.

Anyway, thanks again!
posted by jason's_planet at 7:58 AM on April 13, 2010

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