Can You Tumble Dry Different Colours Together? (what you need to know)

In many cases it is OK to tumble dry different colours together, however, wet clothes are more likely to bleed colours onto other wet clothes.

Which means if you’re not sure whether the colours are likely to run, you’ll be better off separating the colours before putting them in the tumble dryer.

As with all things connected to washing and drying clothes, you need to check the care labels first.

Many brightly coloured clothes are likely to bleed on the first few washes. Which would make them an absolute no-no when it comes to mixing them in the tumble dryer.

If you consider the conditions that allow colours to bleed in the washing machine – Moisture and heat added with the tumbling action of the clothes.

These are the exact same conditions found in a tumble dryer – Heat and wet clothes. Add non-colour fast clothes into that mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

However, clothes that have been washed a number of times and clothes that do not bleed colour, are OK to be tumble dried together as long as the care label says it’s OK to tumble dry them.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On Clothes

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

Below is a list of all the symbols you’re likely to find on any of your clothes relating to tumble dryers. 

  • Square With White Circle – This symbol indicates that you can tumble dry the item.
  • Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle – This indicates you can dry the item on the low heat setting.
  • Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle – This indicates you can dry the item on the medium heat setting.
  • Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – This indicates that the item can be tumble dried on the high heat setting.
  • Square With Black Circle – This symbol means you can dry the item using no heat.
  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top – This symbol is used to indicate that the item should not be tumble dried.

How To Dry Different Colours Without A Tumble Dryer

If you decide not to risk tumble drying your mixed colours, you will need to find an alternative way of drying them.

Air drying is always a great alternative to tumble drying your clothes. It costs nothing and doesn’t damage the environment either.

Air Drying Mixed Colours On A Washing Line

You can air dry your different coloured clothes outdoors on a washing line, rotary line or a retractable clothesline.

If you are worried about the colours bleeding, ensure a space between each item of clothing when hanging on the line.

SEE ALSO: The Best Retractable Clotheslines For Your Home

Using An Airer To Dry Mix Coloured Clothes

You can use an airer indoors or outside on warm days. Indoors, you can place the airer in front of a radiator (not too close) to help to dry the clothes faster.

Using An Airing Cupboard To Dry Different Colours

If you’re fortunate enough to have an airing cupboard it can be used for drying mixed colours.

Take care where you place your wet clothes as they could still potentially bleed colours one to another.

Reduce Indoor Drying Times Using An Electric Fan

You can speed up drying times indoors by placing an electric fan in the same room as the drying clothes.

This works particularly well if you have an open window in the same room. The open window allows the air to flow better which will definitely help to dry the clothes faster if used in conjunction with the electric fan.

SEE ALSO: The Best Bladeless Fans On The Market Today

Speed Up Indoor Drying Using A Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air which allows the washing to dry faster.

Place the dehumidifier in the same room as the drying washing to speed up the drying times considerably.

SEE ALSO: The Best Dehumidifiers For Drying Laundry

What Happens If You Tumble Dry Different Colours Together?

Always check the wash care labels

Whether you abide by the advice given on the wash care label is your choice but failing to do so could lead to any of the following.

Colour Bleed

In the hot moist atmosphere of the tumble dryer colours are likely to bleed if different colour items tumble together.

Light coloured items could become spotted with dark reds, blues and blacks.

Colour Pilling

Pilling is the technical term for those little balls that form on some items of clothing. They are caused by fabrics rubbing together particularly in the tumble dryer.

Colour pilling is where fabrics of different colours rub together in the tumble dryer. This causes the fabric of one item to transfer to the fabric of the other item.

If these garments are different colours you are likely to get colour pilling. Or the transference of one colour material onto another colour material in the shape of little balls or pills.

Material Damage

It’s not just different colours that need to be sorted when tumble drying, it’s different fabrics too.

If you tumble dry a mixed fabric load you run the risk of damaging the more delicate fibres of some items. This can cause the fabric to wear out faster as well as lose its colour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put different colours in a tumble dryer?

As a general rule, you should not dry different colours in the tumble dryer together. If you do, you run the risk of the colours running.

Can colours bleed in the dryer?

Colours can definitely bleed in the dryer. If they are likely to bleed in the washing machine, they are also likely to do so in the tumble dryer.

Is grey light or dark for laundry?

Grey is considered to be dark when it comes to laundry and should be washed in with the other dark clothes.

How can I dry different colours without a tumble dryer?

The best way to dry different coloured washing without a tumble dryer is air drying on a washing line outdoors or on an airer indoors.

Can you tumble dry darks and lights together?

If the darks and lights are of similar materials, and have been washed together before without any colour bleeding, then they can usually be tumble dried together.

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