Which Fabrics Go In The Dryer? Which Fabrics Should Be On A Special Setting?

After our last article about how often you should be washing your clothes, you may be wondering if drying your clothes can also have a negative effect.

First, check your clothes tag and see what it says. 


The level on your tag is actually the roughest level you should go on your clothes.  Meaning, if it says use a low heat for drying, you should consider hang drying it.  And you definitely wouldn’t do it on regular or high heat.

The biggest thing people do not realize is the damage you are doing to your clothes each time you wash and dry them.  When clothes colors start to fade and look more dull over time, that is a direct result of either using the wrong detergent when you wash them, or due to your dryer.

Most of us are aware that cotton and cotton blends can shrink in the dryer, but is there anything we can really do about that?  Do we just have to guesstimate how much we think we will lose and hope for the best?


Well, some clothes come pre-shrunk.  If you are buying clothes that are labeled as pre-shrunk, they put it through the process, and you are taken care of.

Another fabric that shrinks a lot is wool.  Thankfully pure wool clothes are not as popular anymore.  However, if you plan on washing that ugly wool Christmas sweater that your grandma got you, be careful, even hot water in the wash can cause it to shrink.  You should need to wash it in cold water, and should hang dry it.


Rayon will not only shrink, it is also weak and easily torn in dryers.

With linen, you not only have to be careful of shrinking, you must beware of over-drying linen too.

Fabrics that should be on a low heat setting: microfibers, nylon, polyester, cotton, linen.

Fabrics that are best kept out of the dryer: silk, spandex, rubber, acrylic.

And then there are delicates.  Delicate items do not typically shrink, but you better believe delicate clothing will be damaged in a dryer.  Your delicates (intricate items, or silky, lacey items, or items with beads or anything attached to it) sometimes are even too fragile for the washer.

Even though these days most items have a setting for delicate clothing, that is more of a marketing ploy.  Air dry your delicates, no matter what the dryer salesman says.

Additionally, if you have something with an iron-on transfer, you should always hang dry it.  If you are in a pinch, flip the shirt inside out on a low heat in the dryer.  Your iron on transfer picture will get ruined and will crack very quickly from just a few dryer runs.

Although it has become the style in to have a worn out looking design on your shirt, that is just damage that is going to exponentially get worse until  you see it peeling off.

That being said, leaving your clothes to air dry is a lot better for them in the long run.  Unless you are in a particularly cold or damp region, there is no real worry that mold will form before the clothes dry (assuming you lay the clothes flat and do not stack them on each other).

Many people worry about it looking tacky hanging up clothes outside.  This is not necessary.  Many cultures even hang their clothes to dry inside their house with little ventilation, and the clothes dry just fine.  An indoor clothes drying rack is very inexpensive and will not only extend the life of your clothes, but will also save you on electricity.

Do you guys have any questions?  Let us know!

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