How Long Does It Take To Dry Clothes With A Hair Dryer?

You can successfully dry clothes using a hair dryer and although it takes a bit of time, the results are pretty good. As to how long it takes to dry clothes using a hair dryer, it’s difficult to give any accurate timings. 

This is because there are too many variables, with that said it is possible to get some items completely dry in under 15 minutes.

In this article we are going to explain the best ways to use a hair dryer to dry clothes, when you should and shouldn’t use it, the time it takes to dry different types of clothes and even suggest a few alternative ways to dry your clothes fast.

What Affects How Long It Takes To Dry Clothes Using A Hair Dryer?

There are several things that affect the drying time of any items and these also apply to using a hair dryer to dry clothes. These include;

  • How Wet The Garment Is
    The amount of moisture left in the fabric will determine how long it takes to dry. If the garment is soaking wet, it will take forever to dry with a hair dryer. On the other hand, if the garment is only slightly damp, it will dry way quicker.
  • The Material The Garment Is Made From
    Some fabrics like denim or thick cotton absorb more water when being washed and will take longer to dry than lighter fabrics. However, you need to be careful with some lighter fabrics as delicate items like silk for example can get damaged really easily.
  • The Style Of The Garment
    If the item of clothing has lots of pockets, zippers, flaps, tassels etc it will take longer to ensure all of these bits and pieces are dried properly.

Is There A Right Way To Dry Clothes Using A Hair Dryer?

Hair Dryer

As with most things in life, technique is everything. The way you use the hair dryer will have an impact on the speed at which the items get fully dried.

Firstly, it’s important to remove as much moisture as possible before attempting to dry with a hair dryer. We go into the best ways to remove moisture below in more detail.

You should position the hair dryer so that the nozzle is at least a hand’s length away from the fabric. However, it’s not just the distance away from the fabric that’s important.

You also need to keep the nozzle constantly moving to and fro on the fabric and never concentrate on one area for too long. This will ensure that the clothing gets evenly dried and doesn’t get scorched or burnt either.

You should also not be wearing the item as you dry it because your skin will prevent the evaporated water vapour from leaving the fabric.

Hair dryers are not designed to be running for long periods of time and can easily become overheated. Stopping every few minutes is a good idea to prevent the appliance from overheating. 

Many hair dryers have safety cut outs that will turn the appliance off if it starts to overheat. This would slow down your progress, so it’s always better to let it cool down for a few minutes before continuing. And it’s safer too!

Please Note: hair dryers are powered by electricity and you should exercise caution when using electrical equipment around any sources of water.

How To Remove As Much Excess Moisture As Possible

person wringing clothes by hand

To ensure that you can get the item dry quickly using a hair dryer, you will need to remove as much water as possible beforehand. There are a few ways to do this which include;

Running An Extra Spin Cycle

Most washing machine programmes finish with a spin cycle but depending on the fabric most will benefit from an extra spin cycle to remove even more moisture.

Wringing The Water Out

Many robust fabrics can stand to be wrung. This involves twisting the garment in both hands to literally squeeze the water from the fabric. You will need to take care using this method as some fabrics are too delicate to withstand this kind of harsh treatment.

Towel Rolling

For those more delicate items or if you don’t have a particularly strong grip, this method works well. Lay a towel on a flat surface and place the garment flat on top of the towel. 

Then roll the towel up like a burrito, once rolled apply gentle pressure up and down the length of the towel. This forces the moisture from the garment which is then absorbed by the towel.

How To Dry Clothes Using A Hair Dryer

Once you are happy with how much water you have removed from the item, it’s time to get the hair dryer working. There are two different ways to do this, they both use the hair dryer but the technique is totally different.

You should always aim to use a medium heat setting when using a hair dryer to dry clothes. This should prevent the items getting scorched or burnt by too much heat.

If you’re worried about the effect using a hair dryer might have on a particular garment, it might be a good idea to test it out on a small inconspicuous area like somewhere on the inside of the garment.

Method 1: Flat Drying

Lay the garment on a flat surface and hold the hair dryer so that the nozzle is a hand’s length away from it. Turn the hair dryer onto a medium heat setting and start moving the nozzle over the surface of the garment.

Keep the nozzle constantly moving from side to side as you cover the whole of the garment. Turn the garment over and do the same to the other side.

Then turn it inside out and repeat on both sides.

Method 2: Drying With The Sink (small items only)

This method uses a sink and a towel as well as the hair dryer. All you need to do is place the damp item in the sink and place the towel over the sink to prevent any air escaping. 

Then turn the hair dryer on and poke it under the towel. You have now created a mini dryer. You will need to turn the garment over regularly which also will help prevent the hair dryer from overheating.

You need to check that there are no hairs caught in the hair dryer which could get too hot and catch fire in the enclosed space.

This method should only be used for small items because larger items will take too long to dry unless they’re spread out flat.

Protecting Your Home

At this point we feel it’s necessary to point out how there are certain things that you should do to prevent damage to your home from the effects of moisture.

The dampness from the clothes that the hot air from the hair dryer is forcing out, has to go somewhere. That somewhere is very often onto the walls, floors and surfaces of your room. 

This can lead to mould, mildew, wood rotting and in some cases, structural damage. Which is why you should ensure there is adequate ventilation. 

This means opening a window to allow the water filled air to escape. And if possible, operating a dehumidifier in the same room could remove a high percentage of that moisture before it has a chance to cause any damage.

As there is less moisture in the air, the clothes can release more moisture at a faster rate. Which means your clothes will get dryer faster.

Can Fabrics Get Damaged Using A Hair Dryer To Dry Them?

Always check the wash care labels

Yes, it is easy to damage fabrics when using a hair dryer to dry them. Which is why we cannot stress enough that you need to position the nozzle no closer to the garment than a hand’s length away.

It’s also why we said you need to keep the nozzle moving constantly so that no single spot gets overheated.

Plus you should always check the care label because it’s not a good idea to subject any of the following to the intense heat from a hair dryer;

  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Synthetic Fabrics
  • Lace
  • Satin

Can You Dry Jeans Using A Hair Dryer?

You can dry jeans using a hair dryer but it would take a long time. This is because the fabric is so thick and as jeans are made from denim which is a type of thick cotton, they absorb a lot of water.

To dry jeans you should start by blocking the bottom of one leg. Then. starting from the waist end, place the hair dryer into the leg and allow the hot air to blow down the leg. 

You should notice the leg filling up with air, this is normal and will eventually get the leg dry. Then repeat for the other leg.

Before turning your attention to the waistband, seams and bottoms of the legs. In all honesty it will take a fair while to get a pair of jeans dry using a hair dryer.

Can A Hair Dryer Get Clothes Dry In 15 Minutes?


You can get clothes dry in 15 minutes as long as you have extracted as much moisture from the clothes as possible first. It also depends on the fabric the clothes are made from. Thin cotton items that have had an extra spin cycle could very well be dry in 15 minutes using a hair dryer.

Can A Hair Dryer Get Clothes Dry In 30 Minutes?

It is possible to get two or three thin items or one thicker item dry in 30 minutes using a hair dryer. Once again, the items would need to have had as much moisture removed as possible beforehand. 

Given 30 minutes it is possible to dry thin denim jeans or a couple of cotton shirts.

Can You Dry Damp Clothes Using A Hair Dryer?

You can successfully dry damp clothes using a hair dryer. In fact you’ll have the most success drying damp clothes rather than soaking wet clothes using a hair dryer.

If the garments are too wet they will take too long to dry. And you will find that your arm would ache from moving the hair dryer around long before the clothes dried if they were soaked to begin with.

Could Clothes Shrink If Dried With A Hair Dryer?

The reality is many fabrics can shrink if they are dried incorrectly. Using a hair dryer could possibly make some of your clothes shrink.

Especially if you were to keep the nozzle pointed at one area for too long. It also depends on the fabric as many delicate fabrics could easily get shrunk using any form of drying but especially a hair dryer.

Silk, satin, wool etc, could all shrink if exposed to high temperatures.

Are There Any Fast Alternative Ways To Dry Clothes?

There are several other ways to get clothes dry fast without using a hair dryer. These include;

Tumble Drying

Using a tumble dryer for drying a few items can be a fast way to get them dry. Of course, you’ll need to check the wash care label to ensure the items can be tumble dried safely first.

Iron Drying

As long as the item has had as much moisture removed as possible, you can use an iron to get it dry. All you need to do is place a dry towel on a flat surface and lay the garment flat on top of the towel.

Then place another dry towel on top of the garment and iron over the top towel. Keep the iron constantly moving and never concentrate on just one spot for too long. The heat from the iron evaporates the water from the damp clothing and this moisture is absorbed by the towels.

This is an effective way to get a few items dry fast.

Using A Clothesline

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  • SUPER STRONG - Smith’s Steel Clothesline is the STRONGEST washing line in the world. Each clothes line has a pulling force of 250kg, & holds over 120kg, making it stronger than any other brand.
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Drying clothes outdoors on a bright, breezy day is a great fast way to get them dry. It costs nothing, dries clothes fast (a whole wash load could be dry in just 60 to 90 minutes) clothes smell fresh and feel soft too.

Using A Heated Airer

GlamHaus Electric Heated Clothes Airer Dryer Rack Aluminium with Cover Indoor - Folds Flat for Easy Storage - 3 Tier Design - Only 220W
  • The Glamhaus EcoDry heated clothes airer and cover provides you with a new, eco friendly way to dry your clothes - perfect for apartments and homes without a tumble dryer or washing line and is more energy efficient than tumble driers or placing laundry over your radiators which often leads to a build up of condensation in your home
  • Fully assembled and high quality superb lightweight design with versatile open-sided shelves that provide easier access allow you to make use of the full clothes dryer rack and even fold some of the shelves away when not required to take up even less space.

A heated airer is the same as a regular airer except it has an electrically powered heating element that heats up the bars. The laundry is placed on the racks and the heat evaporates moisture from the clothes.

If possible get a heated airer with a cover which will contain the heat and moisture. This gets the clothes dry faster and prevents moisture from forming damp patches on walls, wooden surfaces etc.

SEE ALSO: Air Drying Vs Tumble Drying Clothes: which is better?

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can you dry clothes with a hair dryer?

It’s difficult to be completely accurate when it comes to how long it takes to dry clothes with a hair dryer. It depends on how wet the item is, how thick the fabric is and whether it has pockets etc. However, you can get a thin cotton t-shirt dry in around 15 minutes and a cotton handkerchief in around 5 minutes.

Is it OK to dry clothes with a hair dryer?

It is OK to dry a few small items of clothes using a hair dryer. As long as the items are not soaking wet or too thick, and you make sure the nozzle is kept at least a hand’s length away from the fabric and is moving constantly.

How do you dry clothes with a hair dryer?

To dry clothes with a hair dryer firstly, you need to ensure that most of the water has been removed from the clothes. Then place the item on a flat surface and point the hair dryer towards it. Ensure the nozzle is at least a hand’s length away from the item. Turn the hair dryer onto a medium setting and ensure that the nozzle is moving constantly and not directed at one area for too long. You will need to dry both sides separately and then turn the item inside out and repeat.

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