Urban Myth about Fabric Softener Sheets
Occasionally a concerned customer will ask about water not going thru the lint filter of their dryer. They'll notice this while cleaning the filter. There is an urban myth stating that the reason water will not pass thru the filter is due to the use of fabric sftener sheets. You can dismiss this as inaccurate and ease your customer's concerns by reviewing the actual operation of the unit and the use of fabric softener sheets.First, let's look at the dryer.
The lint filter is constructed of a tight mesh to pick up minute particles or fibers from the clothing being laundered. This mesh can be compared to the mesh used on a window screeen found in any home. Due to the density of water, it does not easily pass thru the mesh unless forced. During a rainstorm, rain will cling to the outside of the screen and not enter the house unless forced by an external force such as wind. Using this example, water which is run across a filter will not penetrate nor pass thru due to the density and surface tension of the water. The water would have to be forced thru the filter for penetration.Again, explain to the customer that the tight mesh constuction is to allow air flow, and to capture small particles that are in the laundered load.Next, discuss the fabric softener sheet and the dryer operation.
Most fabric softener sheets use a low temperature paraffin wax or similar substance to coat the surface of the clothing upon contact. This micro-thin layer prevents static electricity transfer between articles of clothing. The myth alleges that the fabric softener sheet contacts the lint filter and coats the mesh. Most lint filters are located in a housing that protects the filter from contacting the clothing being dried, that includes the fabric softener sheets. The only way a fabric softener sheet could contact a lint filter during the drying process would be if the filter was not fully seated in the housing and the fabricsoftener sheet was drawn down into the housing. If this were the case, secondary problems such as slow drying, noisy blower operation and/or vibrations may occur with the softener sheet being in the blower/filter housing.
So just a little common knowledge about the construction and operation of the dryer and the proper useage of the fabric softener sheets can dispel this myth.