12 Things You Should Never Put in the Dryer
If you're short on time and in a rush, it's easy to just throw everything in the dryer from the washer and call it a day—but there can be some major consequences for some of your clothing if you do that. So, we reached out to dryer experts to find out exactly what should never, ever end up in a dryer.
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According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2010 and 2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to almost 16,000 fires that involved dryers and washing machines. Of those statistics, dryers were the culprit of 92 percent of them. While it might seem obvious to never put anything that can catch on fire in your dryer, it’s easy to just toss those pants you spilled gas on in the dryer without thinking. First, it won’t completely clean out oil residues, setting up a situation where you can have flammable substances in a hot dryer. Hand washing with baking soda and dish soap are a more effective way of getting oil stains out of your clothes.
While tossing your activewear into the dryer won’t damage the machine itself, it could ruin your clothing. Since most activewear is sweat-wicking or even coated to protect from the sun’s rays, it’s definitely not dryer-friendly. Heat from the dryer can damage those fabrics and materials. Heat can also ruin the elastic properties and weaken the material, leading to poor fitting clothes with holes and tears. Instead, hang your clothes outside in the sun or lay your activewear flat to dry after washing it in a cold or delicate washing cycle.
As anyone who has tossed lingerie in the dryer might know, this greatly reduces its lifespan. Heat will wear down the materials like latex and lace. Instead, put bras and other undergarments in special lingerie bags to wash them on the delicate cycle, and hang them up to dry.
Sandy Towels and Beachwear
Warm sand might be nice to sit down and relax in when you’re at the beach, but it can be a pretty pesky nuisance if it ends up in your dryer. “Sand can get trapped between gaps in the drum,” according to James Peters, Kenmore Laundry Product Manager. “This adds an irritating sound when drying and can damage the dryer over time.”
Anyone who has a furry friend at home knows just how messy things can get—pet hair ends up everywhere. But one place where it should never, ever end up is in the dryer. If the hair builds up over time, it could begin combining with lint and debris around it, especially if the lint screen isn’t emptied before every load. “Excess dryer lint is a major fire hazard, can cause your dryer to become damaged, and also reduces the efficiency of your dryer,” according to Dave Lavalle, founder of Dryer Vent Wizard, the nation’s leader in dryer vent repair, cleaning, and maintenance. “To avoid a possible fire sparking, make sure to keep the areas around your dryer, including underneath and behind, free of extra pet hair, lint, and debris that might build up.”
While you’re probably not actively trying to dry your chewing gum, it does occasionally get thrown in there by accident. Unfortunately, by the time you notice, the damage has probably already been done. “Gum can have lasting damage if left in the pockets of your clothes,” says Josh Matteson, a writer for Lula, a home services on-demand company. “It can either permanently stick itself to clothes or fall out of the pocket and stretch all over the wall of your dryer.” There are better ways to get gum out of your clothing and other surfaces anyway.
If you really love that suede jacket or skirt, don’t put it in the dyer. Heat can shrink it or cause damage to the material. Most manufacturers recommend having your suede clothing dry cleaned.
Faux leather is another material that should never go in the dryer. The high temperatures can melt the plastic, ruining your clothes and quite possibly the dryer too. You should air dry these garments.
Tights or Pantyhose
If you’ve ever worn tights, you probably know how easy it is for them to rip and tear. And after a trip in the dryer, that little hole that wasn’t noticeable before is probably running down the entire leg. The material your tights are made out of might even cause them shrink when its exposed to high heat. “The best thing you can is to air dry them, but do NOT hang them! Hang drying tights will stretch out the material and even potentially ruin them,” says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “As an alternative, try rolling your freshly laundered tights into a dry towel and let them dry overnight.”
Lace is another delicate fabric that should never meet your dryer. In fact, according to thelaundress.com, you should really be avoiding machines altogether. Instead, lay your lace garment flat to dry so it doesn’t lose its natural shape or damage the fabric.
Unfortunately, you should probably find another way to dry your favorite sequined top. Sequins, gems, stones, or whatever other items that are embellished onto your garments can hook onto other items in the dryer, or even the dryer itself. This can potentially damage the garment itself and its surroundings.
You should avoid both the washer and dryer when it comes to your silk garments. Instead of adding your delicate silk clothing to your dryer load, the website suggests laying it flat to dry on a towel, then rolling it up inside of it to squeeze out excess moisture. After, repeat this process with a second towel.
Rubber-Backed Bath Mats
Putting a rubber-backed bath mat in the dryer can end up being pretty messy. The rubber can crumble, and the small particles that fall off can get caught in your dryer, which can be a fire hazard. In fact, you shouldn’t put bath mats in the washing machine either. The rubber backing will disintegrate in the washing machine too, potentially clogging up the drain pump and ruining the motor. Heavy mats can also cause the spin basket bearing to fail, something that could cost around $500 to fix.
Bonus: Try this stone bath mat if you dread having to clean your bath mats every other day.