Dear Matt: I bought a comforter for my bed the other day and was reading the care instructions on the label. It says I'm supposed to dry the thing in a “larger-capacity dryer with a tennis shoe.” Huh? I don't think I have to spell out the question for you. — Sonia, San Diego
With no technical details, comforter-wise, we consulted a commercial laundry to see what they thought of throwing shoes in with your bedding. Unfazed, they suggested that a heavy, wet, polyester-filled spread whirling solo in a dryer would probably clump up and finally emerge in a damp and winkled ball. The secret of the professionals is a good mix of large and small, heavy and light to keep the dryer load agitated. Our source opines that a sneaker would stir things up and kick some comforter butt, especially if the bedding is “cheap and thin” (ooooh —his words, not ours, Sonia). Of course, this means you’d also have to wash the sneakers first. Or buy a pair just for drying your bedspread. Forget it. Exchange the comforter for a large dog.