No, it’s not a robber in your basement, it’s merely your washing machine’s next stage of evolution – fledgeling attempt to ambulate across the room. And of course, it sucks to hear the buzz of the dryer, go and open the door, and be greeted with a tangled mass of fabric still damp in the middle. Thankfully, this need not be a repeating problem; in fact, just a few points of laundry 101 can help reduce the dreaded sheet-ball phenomena.
1.Make sure there is adequate room in the dryer. Do not overfill.
As you’ve probably noticed, the dryer tends to be less effective the fuller it gets. Aside from lowering the air/clothing ratio, having more items in the dryer mean the sheets won’t be able to flop around as freely, increasing their chances of getting tangled up with other clothing. This is even more an issue if you have larger sheets.
Yes this may mean more quarters spend on laundry, or more natural gas used to dry up your kingsize silken bedding, but spinning the load again is going to cost you the same as splitting it up into smaller, more manageable loads first.
2.Toss a small object like a tennis ball into the dryer with the sheets.
My mom always put a shoe in the dryer when we washed our sleeping bags. The logic was that the shoe would break up clumps of down and result in a properly fluffed sleeping bag at the end of the cycle. Well, a shoe is probably a bit more rough on your clothing then necessary, but a tennis ball or similar object will do just fine. The ball will knock the sheet around and should help prevent it from folding in on itself.
3.Make sure the sheet is untangled before you put it in the dryer.
This may seem obvious, but do you simply throw the damp mass of clothing from the washer straight into the dryer without a second thought? I know I do this.
The fact is, that the dryer could have a hard time undoing the twists imparted by the washing machine (can silk sheets be machine washed?), leading to less then satisfactory drying. In order to prevent this, when you’re removing your sheets and other large fabrics from the washer, take a moment to open them up, untwist them, and separate any other bits of clothing that may be stuck to them. When you put it in the dryer, take care to avoid folding or twisting up the sheet, so that it can turn and tumble as freely as possible.
To summarize, the moral of the story is to reduce the load, so that you don’t have to recycle the dryer. And throw in a tennis ball. Because who doesn’t like having a ball between the sheets?:)