Can You Tumble Dry Towels? (is it safe or will they shrink)

You can dry towels in a tumble dryer, in fact it is the recommended way to dry them. However, over drying your towels in a tumble dryer will result in them becoming hard and scratchy.

The best way to dry towels is to get them 75% dry in the tumble dryer and then air dry them completely dry. Either on a washing line outdoors or an airer indoors with a window open.

How To Make Your Towels Dry Fluffy

The secret to fluffy towels is all in the drying technique. All you need to do is place your towel in the tumble dryer for around 20 minutes on a high heat setting with a couple of clean tennis balls.

As the towel tumbles, the tennis balls will help bring the fluffiness back to your towel.

After the dryer has finished, air dry your towel until it feels dry enough to pack away.

You should never use dryer sheets when tumble drying towels because they can reduce your towels absorbency if used regularly. 

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On Towels

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

All garments should have a wash care label which will indicate how to wash and dry the item and whether it can be ironed or not. 

Below we have listed all of the symbols related to tumble dryers that you’re likely to ever find on any item.

Not all of them will apply to drying towels but all are included for your information.

  • Square With White Circle – This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried. This is almost certainly one of the symbols you could find on the care label of your towels.
  • Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle –  This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried on a low heat setting. Some towels will carry this symbol.
  • Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle – This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried on a medium heat setting, some towels could carry this symbol.
  • Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – This is the symbol that indicates that the item can be tumble dried using the high heat setting, this symbol is often found on towels.
  • Square With Black Circle – This is the symbol used to indicate that the item can be tumble dried using no heat, there are some towels which carry this symbol on the care label.
  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top –  This is the symbol that indicates that the item cannot be tumble dried. You are likely to find this symbol on microfiber towels but not usually on hand or bath towels.

How To Dry Towels Without A Tumble Dryer

There are several ways to dry towels without using a tumble dryer these include;

Air Drying Towels Outdoors On A Washing Line

If the weather permits, towels can be hung on a washing line, rotary line or retractable clothesline to dry in the air. 

  • White towels should be hung in direct sunlight to allow the sun’s rays to naturally bleach the whites even whiter.
  • Coloured or patterned towels should be air dried in indirect sunlight or shade to prevent the patterns or colours fading.

Air Drying Towels Using An Airer

You can drape your towels over the bars of an airer to air dry them outdoors or indoors on bad weather days. 

The airer can be placed in front of a radiator to help decrease the drying time during really bad weather.

Using A Heated Airer

Heated airers look exactly like airers except they have an electric heating element which heats the bars of the airer. 

These can be used to dry your towels but remember to remove the towel from the heated airer before the towel is fully dry to ensure the towel remains fluffy.

Using An Airing Cupboard To Dry Towels

If you are fortunate enough to have an airing cupboard it is the perfect place to dry your towels.

To ensure your towels maintain their fluffiness they should be removed from the airing cupboard before they are fully dry and allowed to air dry naturally.

Achieve Faster Drying Times Indoors Using An Electric Fan

You can shorten the amount of time your towels take to dry indoors by placing an electric fan close to the towels as they dry.

Make sure you open a window to allow an adequate air flow to ensure excess moisture can escape.

SEE ALSO: Bladeless Electric Fans That We Absolutely Love!

Reduce Drying Times With A Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from rooms which makes them a useful appliance to speed up the drying time of your towels. Place the dehumidifier in the same room as your drying towels to help decrease drying times.

As the air becomes dryer in the room, the towel can exude more moisture at a faster rate. 

SEE ALSO: The Top Dehumidifiers For Drying Towels

Why You Should Always Read The Wash Care Label On Towels

Always check the wash care labels

Most towels can be dried in a tumble drier but there are some exceptions. You should always read the wash care labels on your towels to prevent;

Shrinking Towels

100% cotton can shrink if it is exposed to high heats like the heat found in tumble dryers.

Many of the microfiber towels are made from synthetic materials which will shrink if exposed to high temperatures.

You should always check the care label before placing a towel in the tumble dryer to prevent any issue with shrinkage.

Melting Towels

Those same synthetic materials can melt at high temperatures. This can result in the loss of the towel and damage to your tumble dryer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to air dry or tumble dry towels?

The best way to dry towels is a combination of air drying and tumble drying. You should place the towel in the tumble dryer with a couple of clean tennis balls until it is around 75% dry. Then air dry the towel until it is dry.

Is it safe to put a towel in a tumble dryer?

It is safe to put a towel in a tumble dryer, but over drying will cause the towel to lose its fluffiness. It is best to remove the towel from the tumble dryer before it is fully dry and finish drying it naturally.

How long should I tumble dry towels for?

Depending on the make and model of your tumble dryer, a single bath towel should take anywhere between 20-30 minutes to dry. A full wash load of towels will take around 50-60 minutes to dry in a tumble dryer.

How can I dry a towel without a tumble dryer?

To dry your towels without a tumble dryer you can, hang the towels on a washing line, rotary line or even a retractable clothesline, or place the towels on an airer or use an airing cupboard.

How do you dry towels so they stay soft?

To keep your towels feeling soft don’t over dry them in the tumble dryer. They should be around ¾ dry when they are removed from the tumble dryer and then allowed to dry in the air.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *