Tumble dryer dos and don'ts

Before turning on the dryer, you might want to check if you can actually tumble dry your jeans or bedsheets.

Here’s our guide to safe tumble drying that won't leave you needing a repair

When it comes to tackling that growing pile of clothes washing, the tumble dryer can be a real lifesaver. But as you may have already found out the hard way, not everything in your wardrobe or linen cupboard likes to be tumble dried. In fact, some clothes quickly lose their shape and get damaged in the process of tumble drying. This brings us to the question, can you tumble-dry jeans without damaging them?

We’re here to help with all things tumble dryers, and how to get the best out of your machine and the garments that go in it.

Can you tumble dry jeans without damaging them?

In short? Yes, absolutely you can. But there’s a bit more to it than that — especially if you want to prolong the life of your best-loved Levi’s. The first thing to check is the label on each item of clothing. There you’ll find various helpful symbols about how to wash and dry your clothes, and they’re key to prolonging the quality, size, and shape of your garments and bedding.

And it’s worth taking the time to do. If you’ve paid good money for Egyptian cotton bedsheets, for instance, you don’t want to fray those lovely smooth threads on your first wash. So let’s take a look at some of the symbols to watch out for.

Important symbols for tumble drying

Probably top of the list is the box with a circle inside (the symbol for your tumble dryer) with a big ‘X’ over the top of it. This symbol means do not tumble dry! Instead, it’s best to hang your jeans out to dry on a clothes horse or washing line, or in the airing cupboard if you have one.

But if you want to avoid damage, don’t put these items anywhere near the tumble dryer. And if you see the same dryer symbol with the ‘X’ removed? That means safe to tumble dry!

Lastly, a tumble dryer with dots across the middle refers to the recommended temperature to dry at — three dots means tumble at the highest temperature, and one dot means the least high temperature.

When it comes to drying denim, we recommend always using a low-heat option as it’s kinder to the material and helps retain shape.

Other top tips for your tumbling

It’s also a good idea to turn the jeans inside out before washing and drying, which helps reduce fading in the wash and helps everything dry quicker in the tumble dryer. Woolen tumble dryer balls are also a great way to speed up the drying process and save energy.

Dryer balls help keep your jeans separate from other clothing, so everything dries more efficiently. And don’t forget to check your drying halfway through. This helps catch any deep folds or creases that are happening as they dry.

How full should your tumble dryer be?

As tempting as it may be, it’s worth remembering that drying too much can overwork your tumbler and shorten its working lifespan. It’s best to stick to around two-thirds full.

Anything over that and you’re likely to put a strain on the drum belt and pulley — and that’s one of the leading causes of tumble dryer breakdowns. An overly-full dryer can cause wrinkled and damaged clothes, too. So keep the loads light and often to extend the life of your tumbler.

Safety tips

As with any of your other household appliances, it’s always a good idea to check in on occasion to make sure everything’s clean, dust free, and working as it should be. And here are a few things to remember with your tumbler. 

  1. Clean the dryer filter after every load — excess fluff and lint can cause overheating and, in some cases, can even cause breakdowns.
  2. Any clothing with oil on should be left to dry before you then wash and dry it. Oil’s extremely flammable, so make sure there’s no leftover residue. And any cloth used to wipe up spills in your kitchen or after DIY should be washed on a high-heat cycle to get rid of any residue before giving them a spin in your tumble dryer.
  3. Stop before the cool-down cycle is complete — you might be eager to get your laundry when it’s as warm and cosy as possible, but stopping your cycle early means you miss out on the cooling down built into each setting. This is important to avoid any burns (zips and buttons on clothing can retain heat) or overheating.

Last but not least

We hope you find the above information useful when it comes to drying jeans in the tumble dryer. Of course, the brand of machine you use, the temperature you dry at, and the load size will all play a part — but stick to these guidelines and you won’t go far wrong.

Don’t forget, it’s quick and easy to protect all your best-loved appliances — get a quick quote for up to 10 home appliances.

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