How Long Do Towels Take To Dry In A Tumble Dryer? (read this first)

It can take as little as 15 minutes to dry a single towel in a tumble dryer. However, we said it can take as little as 15 minutes. This is because there are several factors that can influence the amount of time it takes to dry a towel.

What Affects How Long A Towel Needs To Dry In A Tumble Dryer?

When it comes to getting anything dry, there are certain things that can influence the length of time needed to dry them. Things like;

  • How Thick The Towel Is
    Good drying towels tend to be thick and thick towels will absorb more water than thin towels. Which means thick towels will take longer to dry than thin towels.
  • How Wet The Towel Is
    The amount of moisture contained in the towel will also affect the amount of time it takes to dry.
  • How Big The Towel Is
    Obviously, bath towels will take longer to dry than hand towels because of the larger surface area there is to dry.
  • How Full The Drum Is
    The more items in the drum of the tumble dryer, the longer it will take to dry the items. This is because there is extra moisture to be removed and the wet towels will be continuously rubbing against each other transferring moisture from one to another.
  • Which Type Of Dryer You’re Using
    The type of tumble dryer you’re using matters because heat pump tumble dryers will take longer to dry towels than regular tumble dryers.
  • The Heat Setting Selected
    If you have selected the low heat setting, it will take longer to dry your towel than the high heat setting would take. Having said that, it is recommended that you dry towels on a low or medium heat setting to prevent any damage.

Due to the number of variables that can affect the time needed to dry a towel, it makes it very difficult to give an accurate answer. The usual time needed to dry a standard wash load in a tumble dryer is around ¾ to 1 hour. However thicker items like denim jeans and towels will take longer.

We recommend around 60 to 90 minutes to dry a full load of towels in a tumble dryer on a medium heat setting.

The very nature of a towel is to dry things. It does this by absorbing moisture and it’s for this reason that towels take so long to dry. They become so full of water especially when washed and rinsed in a washing machine.

Ways To Get Towels Dry Faster


Washing and rinsing towels causes them to absorb copious amounts of water which could mean they’ll take an absolute age to get dry in the dryer. But there are a few ways to reduce this drying time which include;

Running An Extra Spin Cycle

Most wash programmes include a spin cycle to finish with which should remove much of the water. 

However, running an extra spin cycle after the programme has finished will remove even more water which will decrease the amount of time needed to get the towel(s) dry in the tumble dryer.

Shaking Before Tumble Drying

Giving towels a good shake before placing them in the tumble dryer, can loosen the fibres which helps to remove excess moisture. This can potentially speed up drying times.

Dry Towels Separately

To get towels dry faster in the dryer, they should always be dried on their own or with other towels. If you dry towels in with other heavy or thick items like bedding for example, the towels are not likely to get dry all over.

Ensure The Lint Filter Is Empty

One of the main reasons why towels take a long time to dry in the tumble dryer is because the lint filter is clogged. 

You should get into the habit of cleaning the lint filter after every use.

Never Overfill The Drum

The more wet towels in the drum, the harder the dryer has to work to get them dry. If you overfill the drum, those towels have less chance of getting dry in one cycle.

As the towels get agitated in the drum, they brush against each other and transfer moisture to each other. The less towels in the dryer, the easier it will be to get them dry and the less chance of them transferring wet onto each other.

The empty spaces between each towel as they tumble, allows hot air to circulate freely. This in turn, gets the towels dryer faster.

Use Wool Dryer Balls And Don’t Use Fabric Softener

Wool dryer balls are designed to bounce around in the drum and collide with the towels as they travel. These collisions help to soften the towels and reduce drying time by around 25%.

If you don’t have wool dryer balls, you can use clean tennis balls, they’ll serve the same purpose. Using dryer balls in the tumble dryer is a great natural way to get your towels dry fast and keep them feeling soft and comfortable to the touch.

We recommend using dryer balls instead of using fabric softener which can be harmful to towels. If you regularly use fabric softener, it can coat the fibres of the towel and dry on them.

This can lead to the towels feeling harsh and scratchy and, over time, the dried softener builds up and prevents the towel from absorbing moisture. Which makes a towel of not much use at all.

Add A Dry Towel

This one sounds silly but it does work to some degree. The idea is you place a dry towel in with the wet ones. As it brushes past the wet towels it absorbs some moisture from them.

You then remove the once dry, but now wet towel from the drum and allow the rest to carry on drying. The theory is that as you have removed some moisture, the towels will need less time to dry.

However, you’re still going to be left with a wet or at least damp towel at the end.

Air Drying

On bright, breezy days, you can get your towels dry faster on a clothesline. It can take as little as 15 to 30 minutes under the right climatic conditions to get towels dry on a line.

This saves energy and money and the towels will smell fresher too. However, towels always dry fluffier if dried in a tumble dryer using dryer balls.

How To Keep Towels Feeling Fluffy

Tumble Dryer

Nothing beats that new towel feeling, soft, fluffy and absorbent. To prevent your towels losing that new towel fluffiness, there are a few things you can do. These include;

  • Don’t Use Fabric Softener
    As we just said, fabric softener builds up on the fibres of the towels and actually makes them hard and stiff. Towels will also lose their absorbency if there’s too much of a softener buildup.
  • Don’t Iron
    Ironing towels damages the fibres and makes the towels lose their fluffiness.
  • Wash Regularly
    Towels should be washed at least once a week to prevent a buildup of germs, bacteria and dirt. Regular washing removes all of these and keeps your towels feeling soft and fluffy.
  • Dry Properly
    Towels dried in a tumble dryer are less likely to become stiff and scratchy. This is because when line dried, towels get small water molecules trapped just below the surface which form a hard bond with the fabric. Tumble drying breaks that bond and keeps the towels feeling soft.
  • Shake After Drying
    After removing towels from the dryer, you should shake them to help restore their fluffiness.

SEE ALSO: How to Soften Hard Towels: Easy Solutions!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do towels take so long to dry in a tumble dryer?

There are several factors that contribute to the amount of time it takes towels to dry in a tumble dryer. These include; How wet the towel is, its thickness, its size, the type of dryer you’re using and the heat setting.

How do you make towels dry faster in the dryer?

You can get towels dry faster in the dryer by adding wool dryer balls. These balls bounce around the drum and speed up drying times by around 25% as well as softening the towels at the same time.

What is the best dryer setting for towels?

It is recommended that you dry towels in the dryer on the low or medium heat setting. The hot setting is too harsh and will leave towels feeling hard and scratchy and in some cases the towels can get burnt on high heat.

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