A dryer is one of those home appliances that doesn’t only save you time, but also space. Instead of having wet clothes hanging all around your house or flat-drying on every surface, your dryer gives you perfectly clean and dry garments in a matter of hours.
However, if you don’t know what items to put in a dryer and which ones to air-dry, your dryer experience can quickly turn disastrous. This is why we’re here to explain exactly what items you can safely put in the dryer.
What materials should you NOT put in the dryer?
Let’s take a look first at the items and materials you should never dry in a dryer.
1. Items that use spandex (bras, gym clothes, swimwear etc.)
Spandex and other elastic materials are great for wearing comfort, but they often don’t do that well in a dryer. The high temperatures can damage the material, breaking it down and ruining the shape of your clothes.
With swimwear, high dryer temperatures can also damage the waterproof properties (the same holds true for waterproof jackets). For such materials, if you absolutely need to dry them quickly, use your dryer’s lowest-temperature setting and take out the clothes while they’re still damp.
2. Silk and other delicate fabrics
“Can I put silk in the dryer” is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to dryer use. And the answer is no. And along with your bras and silk underwear, it’s best you don’t put any other lingerie or stockings in the dryer either.
These materials may shrink or become wrinkly because of the high temperatures inside the dryer, and it’s next to impossible to reverse such damage. They may also snag on something, creating a hole.
3. Leather, fake leather and suede
It doesn’t matter whether that leather jacket is made of genuine leather or fake – if you happen to get caught in the rain and get soaked while wearing it, you should leave it to dry away from the sun.
Never let such materials make their way into the dryer, since they will lose their shape and may even crack from the heat. The same, incidentally, goes for fur, whether real or faux.
With wool, it pays to be extra careful when it comes to drying. Make sure to check your wool garment’s tag to see whether it’s approved for tumble drying. If it isn’t, the dryer heat may make the yarn shrink.
Even if an item is approved for use in the dryer, it’s best to use a dryer that is Woolmark-Approved. Many Electrolux dryers are, and feature special programs for wool garments.
5. Clothes with sequins, beads or other glued-on parts
Shirts, trousers or dresses with flashy accents or sequins can be a real eye-catcher, but these embellishments are often glued on.
In a dryer, the high temperatures can easily dissolve the glue and make these decorations fall off. Not only does this ruin the sequined or otherwise decorated garments, it may also damage any other clothes in your dryer at that time.
What materials can you safely put in the dryer?
Now that we’re clear on some items and materials that should not see the inside of a dryer, let’s take a look at the items you can tumble dry without concern.
1. Jeans and other denim items
Denim, the material of which jeans are made, was originally created for its rugged durability, so it’s hardly surprising that jeans are some of the most heat-tolerant garments out there.
When it comes to jeans, there’s usually no reason to be extra careful when it comes to tumble drying, but use your best judgment.
Many jeans these days have added stretch materials, which may be affected by heat like the spandex items mentioned earlier. But if your jeans are 100% cotton, there’s no need to worry.
2. Cotton garments
Will cotton shrink in the dryer? The answer is “no, but”. Clothes made from cotton are much more durable than those made from wool, for instance, but their durability – and the level of heat you should use on them – depends very much on how heavy they are.
Heavy cotton items like towels, sweaters or hoodies can be tumble dried at medium to high temperatures. Lighter garments such as t-shirts may benefit from lower temperatures to prevent shrinkage.
3. Polyester blends
Garments made from blends of materials that include polyester can be dried in a dryer, but should be kept at low temperatures. These materials often dry quite quickly, so it’s a good idea to choose a shorter drying cycle if you’re drying garments with polyester-cotton or other polyester blends.
4. Bedsheets and pillows
Your bedclothes benefit from going into the dryer thanks to the sanitizing effects of the heat. The heat inside your tumble dryer kills dust mites and will give your sheets and feather pillows a fresh and clean smell. Check out our tips on how to dry your bedding items in the dryer.
Tips to choose the best dryer for your home
Having a high-quality dryer in your laundry room is not only a time-saver, but can also help you to protect and keep your favorite garments. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing one.
- If your family owns a lot of wool clothes, consider choosing a Woolmark-approved dryer. These appliances have programs specially designed to protect the extremely heat-sensitive wool fibers in your favourite clothes and save you the effort of flat-drying every wool garment.
- If you want to use your dryer for delicate fabrics, some modern dryers also have special programs for these materials. For instance, many Electrolux dryers use the DelicateCare system, which uses extra care with materials such as silk and wool. In tests, the DelicateCare system caused no loss of shape in clothes when compared to flat drying.
- If you want to make an especially environmentally conscious choice in your dryer purchase, consider buying a heat pump dryer. These appliances can dry your clothes at lower temperatures, with up to 50% less energy used.
- If you’re worried about over-drying your garments, opt for a dryer that uses intelligent sensor technology to make sure your dryer cycle stops when your clothes are dry. In Electrolux dryers, the SensiCare system measures temperature and humidity inside the appliance to adjust cycle times. This reduces wear and tear on your clothes so you can enjoy your favorite garments for longer. Read our Dryer Buying Guide for more tips to choose a clothes dryer for your home.
Read more: Can you wash shoes in the washing machine? Easy tips and tricks
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