How well do you have to dry clothes ?
September 14, 2006 4:35 AM   Subscribe

How well do you have to dry clothes ?

My family seem obsessed with drying clothes properly after they have been washed.

So even the garments would left drying on a radiator for a couple of hours and totally dry to touch - I am met by
"those clothes need more airing"

Is it true that you can get arthritis later in life from wearing clothes that still have moisture in them?
posted by jacobean to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I doubt that arthritis is caused by damp clothing, but IANAD. Damp clothing generally leads to mildew, which can have a characteristically sour smell. Clothing that is dried by radiant heat will often retain significant moisture at seams, pockets, waistbands, plackets, and belt loops, where the fabric is folded many times, and these are places where mildew will take hold. Is it possible your family complains about the smell?
posted by paulsc at 4:49 AM on September 14, 2006

As an example of the opposite, I have an AGE dryer that have several settings for keeping clothes damp coming out of the dryer. Some are for ironing, but one is called "closet dry", which is every so slightly damper than "Extra dry". The idea is the over-drying clothes is hard on them and causes them to wear faster. I often use "cupboard dry" and I've never had any mildew issues.
posted by GuyZero at 4:56 AM on September 14, 2006

I frequently put on clothing that is almost dry, and let it dry whilst I am wearing it. And on rainy days, I'll be a little damp after my short cycle ride in to the lab, allowing my clothes to dry for the next hour or so on my back (although on really rainy days, I change). On holiday, I have frequently emerged from the sea, and sat on a beach wearing a damp swimsuit and have sometimes even compounded the offence by going back into the sea and repeating the exercise. I have also rushed to the yard to get clothes off the line in a rain shower, and put a garment straight on my back (although only if it's something I really want to wear).

I do not yet show any signs of arthritis, and have never heard of this risk before.

Properly aired clothes smell better, but that's only going to happen outside (or on an airer, I guess) and not on a radiator.
posted by handee at 4:59 AM on September 14, 2006

No, arthritis is not caused by wearing damp clothes -- I say this as someone who frequently rides a motorcycle through torrential rainstorms. Perhaps your family is transforming a perfectly rational fear of mold & mildew into an irrational fear of arthritis.
posted by scratch at 6:05 AM on September 14, 2006

If the seams on a garment aren't dry, it will take it forever to air dry as you're wearing it. If you have something that needs to be worn immediately, but it's still damp, try ironing the seams.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:46 AM on September 14, 2006

You want to get it down below 15% so that mould doesn't grow.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 AM on September 14, 2006

It would also depend upon the level of humidity in the air. If the humidity is high enough clothing won't completely dry on its own.
posted by Carbolic at 9:12 AM on September 14, 2006

There's absolutely no truth to that. It's an irrational fear that you should be glad you don't have. Overdrying is hard on clothes, and also predisposes them to wrinkling.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2006

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