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Most damage that occurs to clothing during drying can be eliminated with proper supervision, training, and attention to detail. The major causes of damage to clothing during the drying cycle include the following:

Incorrect temperature settings

No cool-down period


Overloading or improperly loading the dryer

Lack of training in the proper operation of the dryer

As a supervisor, make sure all laundry personnel follow the safety precautions and operating instructions outlined below and discussed in Ship's Serviceman Third Class, NAVEDTRA 10176, and the equipment technical manual.

Set the temperature controls on the dryer between 140 to 160 degrees. When drying different types of clothing, you should keep a close watch on the temperature gauges to make sure the dryers do not overheat. Set the timer on the dryer for 20 to 25 minutes and cool-down time for 10 to 15 minutes so the alarm will sound to alert you to check the load. Do not overload the tumbler dryer so that adequate tumbling action is allowed for wrinkle removal. Drying time varies with the clothing mix and size of load, but items containing synthetics or a high percentage of synthetic blends dry much faster than (similar) 100 percent cotton items.

Do not overload dryers. Overloading dryers only extends drying time and causes overdrying. Always separate lightweight items from heavy items. Lighter weight items in an overloaded dryer have a tendency to dry quickly. By the time your heavier items are dried, your lighter items may be at the point of combustion.

Hang dry dungaree shirts that have freshly ironed-on patches. When the ink from these freshly ironed-on patches comes in contact with dryer heat, it becomes a sticky solution that imprints on other clothing in the dryer. However, the patch ages after a couple of washes and can be dried in the normal manner. Do not dry the shirt separately or the ink will ruin the shirt itself.


Laundries aboard ship are not normally seen as a major fire hazard, but they are just as hazardous as other spaces aboard ship. Clogged lint filters, unattended clothes in the dryers, faulty thermostats and timers, lack of PMS, and operator error are some of the causes of laundry dryer fires.

Laundry dryer fires can have effects far beyond a load of scorched and burned clothes. Vital electrical, piping, and ventilation systems can be damaged, jeopardizing a ship's safety and degrading its mission capability. While the ship undergoes repairs, operational plans and schedules are disrupted.

The principal cause of shipboard laundry fires is spontaneous combustion of residual soil in clothing (particularly paint and drying edible oils) and/or polymeric elastic waistband materials. In the majority of fires, the Navy reports clothing or linen has been left in the dryer unattended. The reason for this is that, in each case, the laundry personnel have not followed proper procedures. A Prevent Laundry Dryer Fires laminated placard will be placed on the front of each dryer. These placards are available from local servmarts or from the supply system. To prevent laundry fires, you should make sure all laundry personnel understand the information contained on this placard and follow the safety precautions outlined in the Ship's Serviceman Third Class, NAVEDTRA 10176.


Improper padding on presses is the major cause of damage to clothing on the press deck. The supply department is responsible for padding these presses. The laundry supervisor should be actively involved in the maintenance operations to make sure the adjustment on these presses meets laundry requirements. Time should always be allowed for the planned maintenance of all equipment. Laundry requirements for press head pressure is discussed in Ship's Serviceman Third Class, NAVEDTRA 10176.

Never allow the press head to remain on the clothing too long. A one-operator station consists of two 54-inch presses and one 36-inch press. This allows the operator between 20 to 30 seconds between lays depending on the laundryman's ability. A laundry man should not try to operate more than one operator station at a time.

Clothes that are properly washed eliminate most chances of scorching during pressing. Improperly washed clothes may scorch because of chemicals left on the garments after extraction. The supervisor should make sure clothes are properly washed and extracted before delivering them to the press deck.

Laundry personnel are responsible for changing pads and covers on the presses. Improper padding of presses can cause broken buttons and a dull-looking product after pressing. The presses should be padded according to the instructions in Ship's Serviceman Third Class, NAVEDTRA 10176. If proper padding does not eliminate the broken button problem, have the engineering department check the head adjustments. You can check the adjustment of the press by placing a bed sheet in it, leaving a portion of the sheet exposed. Close the press, and then try to pull the sheet out of the press. The sheet should not slip out; it should remain contained in all areas.

Items that normally require dry cleaning should not be pressed on a hot head press, but on a dry-cleaning press with an air vacuum. If you do not have a dry-cleaning press, give the item a light drying and promptly remove it from the dryer and hang it. Usually, these types of clothing are suitable for wear without pressing.

Always be sure that there are no foreign articles in the clothing. Foreign articles may possibly make their way through the receiving, washing, and drying process without being noticed. If the clothing is pressed with gum, hard candy, and so forth, in the pockets, it will cause stains that may never be removed. If stains do occur, use the stain removal procedures as outlined in Ship's Serviceman Third Class, NAVEDTRA 10176.

Remember, damage to clothing during pressing may be caused by the following conditions: . Improper adjustment of press heads

. Unclean press heads . Press head on fabric too long . Improper washing or extraction . Improper padding on presses

. Foreign articles left in clothing

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