Can You Put Wet Clothes in the Dryer

One common household question that often arises is whether it’s safe to put wet clothes in the dryer. While it may seem like a straightforward task, there are some important considerations to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your clothes and your dryer. This article explores the dos and don’ts of putting wet clothes in the dryer.

Understanding Your Dryer


a. Check the care label: Always check the care label on your clothing. Most clothing items come with care instructions that specify whether they can be machine-dried and at what temperature. Following these guidelines is vital to prevent damage to your clothes.

b. Separate fabrics: Sort your laundry by fabric type and weight. Lightweight and delicate fabrics may require lower heat settings or air drying to avoid damage.

c. Remove excess moisture: Before placing your clothes in the dryer, give them a good shake to remove any excess water. This step can help reduce drying time and energy consumption.

Fabrics That Shouldn’t Go in the Dryer

Certain fabrics are not suitable for machine drying. These include:

a. Wool: Wool garments can shrink and lose their shape when exposed to high heat. Always air dry wool items.

b. Silk: Silk is delicate and can be damaged by the heat of a dryer. Hang silk clothing to air dry.

c. Leather: Leather items should never go in the dryer, as the heat can cause them to crack and lose their luster.

d. Delicates: Delicate fabrics like lace or lingerie should be hand-washed or air-dried to avoid damage.

Safety Precautions

a. Check for foreign objects: Before loading the dryer, double-check for any foreign objects like coins, buttons, or small toys in the pockets of your clothing. These items can damage both your clothes and the dryer.

b. Clean the lint filter: A clogged lint filter reduces the dryer’s efficiency and can be a fire hazard. Clean it before every load.

c. Avoid overloading: Overloading the dryer can lead to uneven drying and increased wear and tear on the appliance.

Special Considerations

a. Shoes and sneakers: Wet shoes should not be placed directly in the dryer. Instead, remove the insoles and laces, and allow them to air dry.

b. Waterproof clothing: Waterproof jackets and pants may have special care instructions. Check the label, but typically, it’s best to air dry them.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

a. Drying efficiency: The choice to put wet clothes in the dryer also impacts your energy consumption. Overusing the dryer can significantly increase your energy bills. Whenever possible, opt for air drying or use the dryer sparingly to reduce your environmental footprint.

b. Alternative drying methods: Consider alternative drying methods, such as line drying or using drying racks, particularly on sunny or breezy days. These methods are energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

Troubleshooting Common Drying Problems

a. Clothes not drying evenly: If you notice that some clothes in the dryer are not drying as well as others, it could be due to overloading or uneven distribution. Rearrange the items in the dryer for more balanced drying.

b. Shrinking clothes: If your clothes shrink in the dryer, it may be due to excessive heat. Lower the drying temperature or use a gentler cycle to prevent this issue.

c. Static cling: Static electricity can be a problem in dryers. Using dryer sheets or wool dryer balls can help reduce static cling and make your clothes feel softer.

Fabric Types and Dryer Suitability

Fabric TypeDryer Safe?Recommended SettingsPrecautionsDrying Time
CottonYesMedium HeatCheck for stains30-40 minutes
PolyesterYesLow HeatRemove lint20-30 minutes
WoolNoAir Dry OnlyAvoid shrinking60+ minutes
SilkNoAir Dry OnlyPrevent damage45-60 minutes
DenimYesHigh HeatZip up zippers40-50 minutes
RayonYesLow HeatUse a laundry bag25-35 minutes
LinenYesMedium HeatSmooth wrinkles30-40 minutes
NylonYesLow HeatUse a garment bag20-30 minutes
AcrylicYesLow HeatAvoid overheating25-35 minutes
FleeceYesLow HeatShake out20-30 minutes

Types of Clothes for Dryer

Fabric TypeSafe for Dryer?PrecautionsDrying TimeRecommended Settings
CottonYesCheck for shrinkageMediumLow heat
PolyesterYesAvoid high heatLowDelicate cycle
DenimYesMay fade slightlyHighRegular cycle
NylonYesUse low heatLowGentle cycle
RayonNoHigh heat may damage fibersAir dryDo not use dryer
WoolNoCan shrink and deformAir dryDo not use dryer

Clothes Drying Tips

SituationDryer Suitable?RecommendationAlternativeNotes
Wet Rainy ClothesYesShake off excess water before placing in the dryerSpin dryCan reduce drying time
Delicate FabricsYesUse low heat and gentle cycleAir dryMesh bags can prevent tangling
Heavily Soiled ClothesYesPre-treat stains before dryingIncrease wash cycleAvoid heat-setting stains
Mixed Fabric LoadsYesFollow instructions for the most delicate fabric in the loadSeparate by fabricPrevent damage to sensitive fabrics
Extra-Large LoadsYesDivide into smaller loads to ensure even dryingAir dryLarge loads can lead to uneven drying

Potential Risks and Solutions

RiskSolutionPrecautionImpact of IgnoringAlternative
ShrinkageUse low heat and avoid over-dryingCheck clothing labels for care instructionsClothes may not fit properlyAir drying
Color FadingDry similar colors together, use lower heat settingsSeparate by colorColors may become dull or unevenShade drying
Fabric DamageUse appropriate settings for fabric type, avoid high heatTest a small area before full dryingFabric may weaken or tearLine drying
WrinklingRemove clothes promptly when the cycle endsUse anti-wrinkle settings if availableClothes may require ironingTumble drying with balls or towels
Lint AccumulationClean lint filter regularly, avoid overloading the dryerClear lint after each cycleReduced drying efficiencyLint brush or roller

Clothing Label Symbols

CircleSuitable for dryerFollow fabric type instructionsDifferent dots may indicate heat levels
Circle with CrossDo not tumble dryAir dry or line dryHigh heat can damage fabric
SquareUse low heatSelect lowest heat settingPrevents excessive heat damage
TriangleBleaching instructionsAvoid using bleach or harsh chemicalsCan impact fabric color or integrity
IronIroning instructionsFollow recommended ironing temperatureExcessive heat can damage fabric

Special Garments and Items

ItemDryer Suitable?RecommendationAlternative Drying MethodNotes
SneakersNoAir dryStuff with newspaperHeat can damage the shoes
Down JacketsYesUse low heat and tennis balls for fluffingAir dryProper drying maintains loft
BrasNoAir dry or flat dryAvoid high heatHeat can damage elastic and fabric
Silk GarmentsNoAir dry or flat dryAvoid heat and frictionHeat and agitation can damage silk
Stuffed AnimalsNoAir dry or gentle cycle with careHand wash and air dryHeat can damage materials and stuffing

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, you can put wet clothes in the dryer, but it’s crucial to do so with care and consideration for the fabric type, care labels, and the proper operation of your dryer. Understanding the unique needs of different fabrics and taking steps to prevent damage will help you keep your clothes in good condition and extend the lifespan of your dryer. Additionally, being mindful of energy efficiency and considering alternative drying methods can benefit both your wallet and the environment. By following these guidelines and best practices, you can ensure that your clothes come out of the dryer looking and feeling their best.


Can You Put Wet Clothes in the Dryer

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