Tall Mens Fashion Advice

Tumble Dry Low Meaning: Dry Your Clothes Properly

Learn the meaning of Tumble Dry Low and use it appropriately.

Tumble Dry Low Meaning

Low Temperature Laundry

The term Tumble Dry refers to the process of machine drying your clothes, as opposed to laying them flat or doing a line dry outside. This technique is referred to as tumble dry because the clothes tumble in the dryer, while using heat to evaporate the moisture and dry your clothes. 

This is Tumble Dry Low Meaning: Dry Your Clothes Properly.

Different types of clothing require different types of care. Use our article to learn the meaning of tumble dry low, while also learning what the symbols on your garment’s care label mean, and how they apply to the drying process. Applying the proper care to your clothes will help to maintain their condition for a longer period of time. 

Tumble Dry Low Meaning

Tumble Dry Low means you are using the dryer on a low heat setting. This process is best suited for delicate clothing items such as knit sweaters, lingerie, winter coats, and sheer fabrics. Athletic workout clothes made from materials such as rayon, spandex and lycra should also be machine dried using the tumble dry low setting.

Using low heat while you tumble dry will help to preserve these delicate fabrics from damage such as warping or fading. Some dryers may refer to their low heat setting as gentle or delicate.

Always carefully check the fabric tag on your clothing item before you use the washer or dryer to ensure you are using the correct settings and caring for your clothes properly.

After reading this article you may come to the conclusion that tumble dry low setting may be even too much for the fabric you are wanting to dry. If this happens then line dry, dry flat or learn about the other ways to dry your clothes without a dryer.

What are the Most Common Tumble Dry Settings?

Dryers have different heat settings, do you know how hot a dryer can get?

These are the most common tumble dry heat settings on drying machines, which will vary the heat:

  • No heat (Air Only)
  • Normal
  • Low (Delicate, Gentle)
  • Medium
  • Heavy Duty
  • Quick Dry

What does Tumble Dry Medium Mean?

If your clothes fabric tag instructs you to dry the item using a tumble dry medium method, then you should set your dryer to the medium heat setting before you start. Tumble dry medium is typically used for clothing items that are made from permanent press synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester.

Common clothing items that require a medium heat setting in the dryer include t-shirts and other garments made from light cotton or polyester, such as collared shirts and trouser pants.

What does Tumble Dry No Heat Mean?

Tumble Dry No Heat means to dry clothing while using zero heat. In some cases your dryer may refer to this setting as air only. This is a very light process used for very light and delicate clothing items. Tumble dry no heat will work to freshen and renew your clothing, but will also take a long time to complete, as the absence of heat dramatically reduces the speed of the drying process.

Tumble dry no heat should be used to dry clothing made from extremely delicate fabrics, or if you simply want to “fluff up” your blankets, pillows, or fluffy winter jackets.

Tumble Dry Care Laundry Symbols

Before you dry your precious clothing, take the time to check the fabric label to be sure you are using the correct processes.

Check the care labels on your laundry for the following dryer symbols:

Can be tumble dried care label symbol
Can be tumble dried
low heat tumble dry care label symbol
Can be tumble dried on a low heat setting
tumble dry on high heat care label symbol
Can be tumble dried on a high heat setting
Can NOT be tumble dried

Can All Types of Clothing Be Tumble Dried?

No, you cannot tumble dry any type of clothing. If your garment’s care label has the no tumble dry symbol then you should either lay the clothing flat to dry, or line dry the garment. Clothing items made from silk, suede, leather, wool, or cashmere fabrics should not be tumble dried.

Tumble Dry Tips and Advice

Follow these tumble dry tips to ensure you are caring for your clothing in the proper way. And learn how long does a dryer take!

1. Put Similar Clothes Together

Do not mix lightweight or delicate clothes with thick or abrasive clothing. Keep lightweight cotton sweatpants, t-shirts and shorts together, while keeping thick towels and denim separate for example.

2. No Soaking Wet Clothes

If your clothes come out of the washer and they are still soaking wet, return them to the washer for another spin cycle (how long does a washer take?). Drying soaking wet clothes will take too long and possibly cause damage to your clothes

3. Use a Dryer Sheet

Dryer sheets help to reduce static during the drying cycle, while also adding scents and softness to your garments.

4. Check the Fabric Care Label

Always carefully review the care label on your clothing item (especially if it is expensive!) to ensure that you are caring for your clothes in the proper manner.

5. Shake your Clothes Out

After your clothes come out of the washing machine it is recommended that you shake them out to make sure any excess debris is not included in the tumble dry process.

6. When in Doubt, Use Low Heat

If you are unsure which heat setting to use while using the drying machine, choose the low heat setting (also read our article on how to use a dryer.) This way you can be sure you won’t damage your clothing or over shrink it. If perhaps your clothing has stretched and you want to shrink it, you may want to read our article to find out the proper way to shrink your clothes.

If you find yourself confused and worried about ruining a certain piece of clothing, take it to the dry cleaners instead. A dry cleaner will take 1-2 business days, and the cost per piece dry cleaned is reasonable.

What are The Typical Temperatures Settings For A Dryer

The temperatures used in various tumble dry heat settings will vary from brand to brand, however, these are the approximate temperatures for low, medium, and high heat settings can be found below. 

  • LOW: Up to 125°F/55°C

  • MEDIUM: Up to 135°F/65°C 

  • HIGH: Up to 145°F/75°C 

Tumble Dry Low FAQ

Low tumble dry will have a temperature that rises to, but does not exceed 125°F or 55°C.

No, tumble dry low is NOT the same as air dry. Tumble dry low will use heat with temperatures rising to around 125°F or 55°C. Air dry is the same as NO HEAT. If your garment’s care tag calls for air dry then you should use the no heat setting during tumble dry, or consider using a line dry to remove moisture from your clothes.

To tumble dry in low heat simply set your dryer to the low heat setting. Some dryers will also refer to this as the gentle or delicate setting.

Yes, tumble dry low is the same as tumble dry delicate. Some dryers will refer to this setting as low, while some use the word delicate or gentle.

Do not tumble dry means that you should not use the dryer to dry your clothes. If your garment’s care tag says do not tumble dry then you should either lay your clothes flat to dry, or line dry them outdoors. Even a tumble dry low will do damage to clothing items that are meant to be line dried.

Written and reviewed by
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
Paul Marlow, standing at an impressive 6'7 (201cm) and weighing 225lb (102kg), is a mental health speaker, fashion expert, and ex-athlete who excels at helping tall men find well-fitting clothing and teaching them how to style it effectively. As a model in the fashion and film industries, Paul shares his expertise in tall men's fashion, offering valuable advice on measurements, tailoring, and alterations. In addition, he founded Never Alone, an organization that provides mental health and therapy inspiration, and started the Mental Growth Newsletter to support those facing mental health challenges, drawing from his own experiences.

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