Using the dryer incorrectly can lead to damaged clothes, shrinkage, color fading, melting, and even a broken dryer. 

When using the dryer it is important to follow the instructions described on the garment’s care label. Group similar types of clothing together so that you can dry them using the same settings. 

The most important thing to identify when using the dryer is the tumble dry setting you wish to use. Tumble dry low is the most common setting, although tumble dry high and air dry both have their uses. 

Continue reading our article to find 10 extremely useful tips that you can implement today in order to do a better job drying your clothes. 

Table of Contents

how to use a dryer

How To Use A Dryer

Before drying your clothes you must wash them. It sounds simple enough, but each piece of clothing has its own little things that you need to look out for.

Also, if the task of cleaning and drying your clothes seems too daunting or time consuming you can instead take it to a local dry cleaner. These professional clothing cleaners will dry your clothes perfectly every time. Read more into how long a dry cleaner takes and how much does a dry cleaner cost.

Now,if your ready to conquer this yourself, use the following guidelines to use your dryer properly so that your clothes may look their best and maintain their quality for a longer period of time. 

1. Clean out the lint filter

Before using the dryer it is critical to clean out the lint filter first. Cleaning out the lint filter is important because it restricts the dryer’s ability to exhaust hot air from the drum, which can cause the dryer to become overheated, if left unkept. 

this is a photo of a lint filter being cleaned out

2. Shake clothes out

Before placing your clothes in the dryer, shake them out to make sure there is no dirt or debris entering the tumble dry cycle

this is a photo of tall paul shaking out a shirt

3. Clean stains off clothing

The heat used in the dryer will help to set stains in to clothing, so make sure that any type of stain has first been cleaned out of the garment. 

One of the best homemade stain removers can be made by mixing water together with either one part white vinegar or one part lemon juice. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and then spray it on the affected area and dab with a clean towel in order to draw the stain out of the fabric. 

this is a photo of stains being cleaned off clothing before going in the dryer

4. Choose the correct tumble dry setting

The tumble dry setting you dry your clothes on depends on the garment’s care label instructions. Check your garment’s care label for laundry symbols that relate the machine drying.

The care label will specify the type of tumble dry setting that should be used with the garment. The different tumble dry settings are:

Choose the Correct Tumble Dry Setting

The air dry setting uses no heat at all and is best suited for fluffing up items and refreshing clothes. 

Tumble dry low is meant for delicate items as well as items that are shrink prone. Garments made from cotton, polyester, and wool all need to be dried on tumble dry low. 

Learn more about polyester and, can you shrink polyester?

Tumble dry high is the setting to use when drying thick items such as towels, bathrobes, and sweaters (learn how hot does a dryer get.)

Always check the garment’s care label to find out which setting to use. If you do not know which setting to use, then use tumble dry low. 

Please be aware that some items are “do not tumble dry” and cannot ever be placed in the dryer. Garments made from suede, leather, silk, or fur for example, should never be placed in the dryer. 

5. No soaking wet clothes

Do not put soaking wet clothes that are dripping with water in the dryer. Clothes should be slightly damp when entering the dryer, not soaking wet. 

If your clothes are dripping with water, use the spin cycle setting on the washing machine to remove excess water and prepare the garment for the dryer. 

You can also lay your garment evenly on an absorbent towel, and then roll the towel (sushi roll style) to squeeze out excess water before putting it into the dryer. 

this is a photo of tall paul squeezing water out of a soaking clothe

6. Dry large items separately

Large items like beach towels and bed sheets should be washed separately, away from smaller items. 

When one large item is in the dryer with a bunch of small items, you will find that the small items never get dry and become tangled up in the large item. Try to group similar types of laundry together when doing a load in the dryer. 

Dry Large Items Separately

7. Set the appropriate time

The most common time settings on dryers are:

  • Timed 
  • Regular
  • Automatic
this is a photo of a washing machine

The regular or automatic settings are usually the best to use, since they use the moisture sensor to determine when the cycle has been completed.

Learn how long does a dryer take for general settings.

If you are looking to shrink your clothes then you may wish to use the timed setting so that the dryer runs for a longer period of time. 

8. Do not overfill the dryer

Leave enough room in the dryer so that the clothes can move and tumble throughout the drying cycle. Over filling the dryer will leave your clothes feeling moist and musty after the cycle is completed.

Do not Overfill the dryer

9. Check the ventilation

Make sure the ventilation system that removes the hot air from the dryer is clean, cleared, and working. If the ventilation system has a problem it will lead to a buildup of heat which means your clothes will never dry and the dryer may overheat because there will be too much moisture trapped in the drum.

this is a photo of a dryers ventilation

10. Be environmentally friendly

Newer dryers should come equipped with a moisture sensor, which helps prevent over-drying your garments, which means the dryer won’t unnecessarily waste electricity.  Save the planet and save on your electricity bill at the same time!

If you really want to help mother earth out, leave your dryer alone and dry your clothes without a dryer. Our planet needs all the help it can get, so if you have a a day to wait then let your clothes air dry.

The top choices I suggest are line dry and dry flat.

this is a photo of a towel air drying


  1. Clean the lint filter
  2. Clean the stains off your clothes
  3. Shake the clothes out
  4. Put the damp clothes in the dryer
  5. Choose the appropriate tumble dry setting
  6. Push start

Choose the correct tumble dry setting (air dry, Tumble Dry Low, tumble dry medium, tumble dry high), choose the time correct time duration (timed, regular, automatic) and push start. 

Check the instructions on your garment’s care label to find out which setting to use the dryer on. The most common and safe setting to use when drying close is Tumble Dry Low. 

First, check the garment’s care label to find out which tumble dry setting to use. Put the garment into the dryer and select the correct tumble dry setting and time duration, and proceed to push start.