What is Tumble Dry? (ANSWERED!)

Find out what tumble dry is by reading our detailed answer in this article.

What is Tumble Dry

Dryer Symbols

Tumble dry refers to the process of machine drying clothes in a dryer, as oppose to air drying clothes by hanging or laying flat on a drying rack. This process is named “tumble dry” because of the tumble action used to dry the clothes while in the dryer drum. The barrel of the dryer spins and tumbles the clothes, while using heat to remove moisture from the fabric of your garments. 

This is What is Tumble Dry? (ANSWERED!)

Tumble dry is simple, it is just the act using the dryer to dry your clothes. What is not so simple, are the settings. Tumble dry can refer to tumble dry low, tumble dry high, tumble dry not heat, and more. Using the wrong setting on your garment can have disastrous consequences, so use our article to learn all about tumble dry before you use the dryer. 

Take a few minutes to make sure you know how to use a dryer properly before you move on from here & understand how long does a dryer take.

Always check your garment’s care label before placing it into the washer or dryer. The type of fabric your garment is made from will determine the type of care it receives in the dryer as well as in the washing machine. 

If you find yourself always altering or shrinking your clothes, I suggest you leave this to your local dry cleaner. Find out how much dry cleaning costs and how long dry cleaning takes with our articles.

Your garment’s care label will have different symbols that refer to a specific tumble dry setting. To find out what these symbols mean, continue reading our article below. 

What is Tumble Dry?

Tumble dry refers to the process of machine drying clothes in a dryer, as oppose to air drying clothes by hanging, line drying or laying flat on a drying rack. You can learn more ways to dry your clothes without a dryer.

This process is named “tumble dry” because of the tumble action used to dry the clothes while in the dryer drum. The barrel of the dryer spins and tumbles the clothes, while using heat to remove moisture from the fabric of your garments (learn how hot does a dryer get.)

There are different ways to tumble dry clothes, which are related to the range of settings on the dryer. The most commonly used settings are tumble dry low, tumble dry high, and tumble dry no heat. Continue reading to learn about these dryer settings and more. 

Tumble Dry Laundry Symbols

Check your garment’s care label before you administer any type of washing or drying care. 

When reading your garment’s care instructions, look for the symbols below to find out which tumble dry setting you should use on your dryer. 

Always check your clothing’s care label before placing the items into the dryer.

dry tumble dry symbol

Dry

no heat tumble dry symbol

No Heat Tumble Dry

Tumble Dry Low (Low Heat)

tumble dry medium tumble dry symbol

Tumble Dry Medium (Medium Heat)

Tumble Dry High (High Heat)

Do Not Tumble Dry

Most Common Tumble Dry Settings

In order to maintain the quality of your clothes, you should understand the different tumble dry settings and how they work. 

Below are the 3 most commonly used tumble dry settings. Continue reading to understand how to use them, and which clothes should be dried using which setting.

1. Tumble Dry High

Tumble dry high is the highest heat setting on the dryer and is used for thick and heavy items that take a long time to dry. These items can include denim jeans, sweaters, robes, towels, and jackets. 

Be sure not to dry delicate items on tumble dry high, unless you are looking to shrink them. If you are looking to shrink your clothes please read our article how to shrink clothes

2. Tumble Dry Low

Tumble dry low is a low heat setting that is typically used for fabrics that are delicate or prone to shrinkage. 

Garments made from delicate or shrink prone fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen, or polyester (can you shrink polyester), should use the tumble dry low setting in the dryer. 

If you do not know which setting to use when drying your clothes in the dryer, you can use tumble dry low. Tumble dry low is a safe setting and will not shrink, melt, or damage, the majority of fibers and fabrics. 

3. Tumble Dry No Heat

Tumble dry no heat uses the say tumble action in the dryer, except this time with no additional heat. Using this option means that your clothes will take quite a long time to dry, but this setting is more often used with the objective being to simply remove dirt, lint, or hair from garment.

You will want to use this setting when you see do not tumble dry on your care label.

What is Tumble Dry FAQ

Tumble dry refers to using the dryer to dry your clothes. When your clothes are in the drum or barrel of the dryer, they are being thrown, tossed, and tumbled, in a high heat environment in order to remove moisture from the fabric. This process is referred to as tumble drying. 

Yes. Tumble dry low is a low heat setting. This setting should be used to dry garments made from fabrics such as cotton, polyester, wool, and linen.

Using the dryer to machine dry your clothes is considered tumble dry. Hanging or laying your clothes flat to dry is considered air dry. 

Tumble dry is when you use a machine to dry your clothes. Air dry is when you hag your clothes on a line or lay them flat on a drying rack to dry.

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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