- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: What is the acceptable percentage of water retained on terry towels after extraction? What is the recommended drying time and temperature?
Answer: The amount of water extraction can vary, but an average washer extractor reduces retained moisture by approximately 50 percent. Cotton terry towels will have a saturation point of .3 gallons per pound, or approximately 2.5 pounds of water per pound of cotton. Most often one refers to the retained water as moisture retention when discussing extraction efficiency. An example would be a 100 lb. load of clean dried cotton terry towels which would hold approximately 30 gallons of water, or 250 pounds, for a total of 350 pounds. Extraction reduces the retained water by approximately 2 pounds of water per pound of cotton, leaving 50 pounds of water to be removed in the drying process. In general, extraction is better when the last bath water is 110 degrees or more, and a good fabric softener is utilized to lubricate the cotton fibers.
There are a number of variables in regard to drying time for cotton terry towels, depending on the equipment being used. Some dryers have programmable inlet and outlet temperatures, whereas others simply have adjustable outlet temperatures. In general, dryers can be set for cotton at outlet temperatures of 180-210 degrees without worrying about scorch from temperatures that are too high. The size of the load will also have an effect on drying time. If one puts the correct poundage into the dryer and it is operating correctly, one should be able to dry the cotton towels in less than 30 minutes. Remember, a dryer should have good fresh air to burn correctly, and the dryer lint filters should be kept clean.
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