Items You Should Never Put in Your Dryer

Did you know that certain clothes and accessories should not be dried in the dryer? Here’s a list of items you should never put in your dryer.

never put these items in your dryer

Due to lack of space, convenience, and time, clothes dryers have pretty much replaced outdoor clotheslines. Most of us are just too busy to take the time to hang clothes outside on a clothesline, wait for them to dry, then get them off the line.

I’m guilty of not hanging my clothes outside right now, too. Here’s my list of reasons why:

  • It’s too far away from my dryer. (The clothesline is about 50 steps from my dryer and I’m honestly just too lazy to walk that far in the heat of the sun.)
  • It’s halfway under an overgrown tree and I don’t want birds crapping on my fresh clean clothes.
  • I accidentally brought a bumblebee in the house once because it was hiding in the corner of a sheet and I don’t want that to happen again.
  • It’s too hot outside.
  • Or too cold outside.
  • It’s too much work. (Did I mention I was lazy?)

Okay, so none of these are good reasons. They’re all just poor excuses. Especially when I stop to think about what the clothes dryer is doing to my clothes. And to my energy bill.

And there are just some items you should never put in your dryer.

Items You Should Never Put in Your Dryer

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1. Bras

High temperatures break down the spandex and elastic in bras, causing them to lose their shape. It’s safer to wash delicate bras by hand and allow them to air dry.

2. Delicate Fabrics

Delicate fabrics (sheer, lace, and silk) should never be dried in the clothes dryer. A zipper can snag the fabric leaving a pull or even a hole. Also, the high heat can set in impossible to remove wrinkles.

3. Bags

This includes backpacks, lunch bags, purses, and reusable tote bags. Of course, these things can get pretty nasty inside (especially when your child leaves a few grapes in her backpack for a week). It’s okay to wash these in the washing machine, however, unless they are made of 100% cotton, they should never go in the dryer. The heat can cause the materials to melt and can actually destroy the liner of insulated lunch bags.

4. Leather

Never put any type of leather, including faux leather in a dryer. The high heat of the dryer can cause the fabric to crack or change shape. Instead, hang these items up to air-dry away from sunlight or heat.

5. Suede

Suede should not be washed in the washing machine or dried in the clothes dryer. Both can ruin the color, texture, and feel of the fabric.

6. Tennis Shoes

The high heat of the dryer can cause tennis shoe soles to separate and possibly change the shape of the shoe itself. It’s safe to wash them in the washing machine, but afterward, let them air-dry for 24 hours or longer. Need them quicker? Stuffing the shoes with crumpled up newspaper allows the pages to soak up the moisture, speeding up the drying time.

7. Activewear

Most of the activewear nowadays is made from a material that supports muscles and wicks away moisture. Avoid putting these items in the dryer because the heat can destroy their wicking qualities as well as change their shape. Allow them to air-dry.

8. Knitted Sweaters

I’ve been guilty of tossing my sweaters in the clothes dryer before. I learned my lesson after my favorite oversized sweater became a regular-sized sweater.

The heat from the dryer can cause the yarn to shrink or stretch and increase pilling. Instead, lay them flat if possible, to air-dry.

9. Bath Mats

Any rug with a rubber backing, such as a bath mat, should never be put in the dryer. The rubber backing can crumble and even melt.

10. Fur

High heat can cause natural fur to crack and fall out. It can also damage faux fur by causing the fibers to melt and tangle. It’s best to allow both natural and faux furs to air-dry after they get wet. For faux fur, use a wide-tooth comb to gently separate the fibers after drying.

11. Swimwear

Of course, swimwear needs to be washed after every wear. You have to get off all the sunscreen oils, sand, salt or chlorine, and sweat. However, after washing, lay it flat or hang to air-dry. Putting it in the dryer will cause the fabric to become extremely unshaped.

12. Beaded and Sequined Clothes

Never put clothes with beads or sequins in the dryer. If they are glued on, the heat can cause the glue to melt. Strings can be snagged on something causing them to break and the beads to fall off.

13. Wool Clothes

Wool is a natural fiber that comes from sheep or other animals. If exposed to excessive moisture and high heat, the outer layer (which contains interlocking scales) will shrink.

14. Rags Stained with Chemicals

Do not put any clothes or rags that have been stained with oil or chemicals in the dryer. Never put anything that has been splashed with gasoline in the dryer, either. The high heat can cause the oils in the fabric to combust and catch on fire. Oily materials can also get onto dryer surfaces and onto the next load of clothes.

15. Tights and Hosiery

Not only will these items become a tangled mess, but high heat from the dryer can cause tights and hosiery to shrink.

16. Lace

Putting lace in the dryer will cause the item to lose its delicate shape. Hang lightweight lace items on padded hangers to air-dry. For heavier lace items, allow to air-dry flat to avoid stretching and tearing. More delicate pieces may need to be reshaped during drying.

17. Silk

Silk should be handled with care at all times and should never go in the dryer. Instead, lay wet silk clothing flat on a clean towel and roll it up to get rid of some of the moisture. Unroll, and lay flat on a dry towel or drying rack to air-dry.

18. Velvet

In order to keep velvet feeling soft, lay flat to air-dry. The high heat of a dryer will cause velvet clothing to lose its luxurious texture.

19. Rayon

Rayon will definitely shrink in the dryer. Instead of tossing rayon clothing into the dryer, lay it flat to air-dry.

20. Gloves and Mittens

Damp gloves and mittens are a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. However, they shouldn’t be put in the dryer or even laid on a heater to dry. Instead, let them dry out in a warm, dry area.

21. Overalls

The heavy buckles and buttons on overalls can actually chip the inside of your dryer. However, if you simply can’t air-dry them, put them in a tied pillowcase to protect your dryer.

22. Baseball Caps

The high heat of the clothes dryer causes baseball caps to fade and lose their shape. After spot cleaning and soaking in soapy water, pat them dry with a towel. Then allow them to air-dry over a coffee can.

23. Throw Pillows

It’s tempting to toss throw pillows right into the dryer after washing. However, most of them contain delicate accents that have to be air-dried. Instead, remove the pillow cover and wash it on delicate; hang to dry.

24. Too Much Clothing at Once

Putting too much clothing into the dryer all at once can actually cause the entire machine to break. All those wet clothes are heavy and overwork the drum, bearings, and heating elements. Not to mention, more than likely you’re going to have to dry them twice because one cycle isn’t going to dry all those clothes.

Sometimes you might need an item quickly and, in that case, you can dry some of these items in the dryer with no heat. Use the air-only cycle and throw in a couple of clean, dry cotton towels. Allow the cycle to go for about 10 minutes.

Always check the care label before washing and drying any clothing because there are certain items you should never put in your dryer.

What has been your biggest clothes drying mistake?

Looking for more laundry hacks? I recommend reading these:
Laundry Hacks for Longer Lasting Clothes
Organizing Your Laundry Room on a Budget
Clean Your Dryer ASAP
Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean
Sorting Your Laundry for the Best Results

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items you should never put in your dryer

Thank you for sharing!
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45 thoughts on “Items You Should Never Put in Your Dryer”

  1. Michelle, this is a good list. Must confess I put my delicate underthings in washing bags in the dryer – then hang them up to finish drying. I also dry almost everything on low (except sheets & towels.) Thanks for your tips!!

  2. I literally never use the dryer because I either hang things outside in the summer or on a drying rack inside. But because of that, I had no idea what things I shouldn’t put in the dryer, so this post will stop me from making any mistakes in the future! There seems to be so many things that shouldn’t go in there!

  3. What a great post Michelle, and I have to laugh at the clothes line bit, I remember my mother hanging out clothes to dry, I always loved the way the smelled 🙂 Interesting my dryer came with an attachment that holds your tennis shoes so you can dry them, I never used it as a matter of fact I threw it out. Really enjoyed reading this xoxo

    1. Thank you! My mom never used a dryer up until December of last year when they moved. She always hung everything out unless we needed something right away. I love the way they smell, too after being outside. Especially sheets and towels. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed reading!

  4. Yes I’m also guilty of throwing everything in the dryer! No wonder my bras don’t last long! I never knew not to put dirty rags stained with chemicals in the dryer, I feel so stupid to not even think that would be a problem!!! xxx

  5. Great tips, Michelle!! I did know a few of these but definitely not all!! Pinning so I remember not to put my active wear and tennis shoes in the dryer!!?

  6. Such a fabulous post Michelle!

    Actually, I don’t have a dryer and I dry all my clothes on the wash line and summers are my best friend. I’m planning to invest in a good dryer and I’m well equipped by your helpful and handy list, I feel so safe. Thank you!

  7. ? Your intro, once again, cracked me up! Too hot? Too cold? Weeelllll… we’ll just go ahead and put these in the dryer! ? Funny! Love your honesty, Michelle. It’s very relatable!

    Remember how recently we were discussing our obsessions with soap and bubbles? Well, I also have a slight obsession with fabric softener and dryer sheets that help soften clothes. (Hence my biggest excuse for not drying outside!) It also means, though, that I could perhaps, maybe, be breaking a few of these guidelines? ?

    Your tip about drying shoes faster with newspaper was brilliant!! I had no idea! I’ll be using that one, thank you! I was also surprised by the active-wear. It makes sense when you think about it. Like you said, a lot of active clothing is made from special blends to help with moisture control, copper for inflammation, etc.

    Unfortunately, I share in your sad story about your favorite over-sized sweater. I did laugh at your description though! “I learned my lesson after my favorite over-sized sweater became a regular-sized sweater.” 😀

    Another amazing blog post from you, my friend! Thanks for always sharing the best tips! ♥ Sending my love, as always.

    1. I love it when my clothes are soft, too. And when I hang them outside they get so hard, especially jeans! But I’ll be sharing my recipe for homemade fabric softener soon and that does help a lot. 🙂

      Isn’t it terrible when your favorite sweater shrinks? Ugh! I just hate that because it’s so hard to find a good sweater!

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading and I’m super happy it made you laugh. 😀

  8. In the past I was so guilty of putting in overalls and then you’d hear them banging around and around! I’ve shrunk so many items in the dryer over the years, it’s embarrassing! But I’m proud to say I’ve gotten better ?.


    I have a drying rack right near my dryer for my clothes. I don’t put jeans or anything of mine in the dryer, except PJs and t-shirts so my clothes last a long time. I don’t care for shopping that much. 🙂

  10. I’m definitely bearing that one in mind for the future. It’s one of those lists it’s always good to have around the house. I get your point about convenience. I am the same. For me it’s that I don’t like being at the mercy of the elements. I guess ideally we’d all have a laundry room where we can actually hang clothes on lines indoor while having skylights we can open and close remotely at the click of a finger 🙂

  11. Great tips!!
    I remember back in college when I was clueless about washing clothes (actually a lot of things really?)….I’d wash towels and jeans together!!!?….it didn’t effect the jeans much but the towels sure took on a sloppy, worn look!!

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