How to stop clothes shrinking in the tumble dryer

 In Blog

Does tumble drying your clothes fill you with dread? Almost every person has experienced the horror of discovering an item of clothing that went into the tumble dryer perfectly fine but emerges a fraction of its original size.

Whether thanks to miserable weather or lack of radiator space, using the tumble dryer may be your only option. But how do you prevent shrinking your clothes in the process? In a bid to save your new outfit from Barbie’s wardrobe, our best cleaners in Nottingham have shared their five top tips to help stop clothes shrinking in tumble dryers.


Read your clothes labels

Although this may seem an obvious one, it is important to check your labels thoroughly to prevent you unwillingly gaining fun-sized fashion.

What works for natural cotton and wool, may not be the same for synthetic fabrics like satin and polyester. Make sure you are clued up on the kind of material you’re dealing with before you select the dryer setting. Natural fabrics tend to shrink more easily in hot temperatures because the heat gets rid of the moisture in the material. This means it’s best if these types of fabrics are dried on low heat.

Warning! Other fabrics, like silk, shouldn’t be tumble dried at all. If you see a crossed out tumble dryer on your clothing label, you’ll need to find an alternative drying method.

Tumble dry clothes on a low heat

Drying your clothes on a low heat may take longer, but it’s much better than drying your clothes on a high heat, which results in a bigger risk of them shrinking. The reason behind the shrink risk is because heat can damage the fibres. This affects some fabrics worse than others, which is why checking your labels is crucial.


Don’t over-dry your clothes in the tumble dryer

To help prevent your clothes from shrinking in the tumble dryer, make sure that you don’t over-dry them. Even once the dryer has stopped, damage can still be done. The longer your clothes are left in the heat, the higher chance they have of shrinking. Try to take your clothes out of the dryer as soon as it’s finished. If they’re still slightly damp, you can always hang them up outside your wardrobe to air.

Wash your clothes in cold water beforehand

If you know you’re going to put your clothes in the tumble dryer then, if possible, wash them in cold water first. Washing your clothes in warm water before sticking them straight into the tumble dryer could cause unwanted shrinkage. Cold water should help prevent your clothes from shrinking, as it’s less damaging to the fabric.


Try not to use your tumble dryer too often

Thanks to good old British weather, there will be times where the only way to dry your clothes is by chucking them into the tumble dryer. However, if you do have the opportunity to hang your washing out to dry on a washing line from time to time, or have space to drape them over a radiator or clothes horse, then do so. Air drying is a much gentler method of drying clothes. If you can switch out some of your tumble dries with the occasional air dry, then the dreaded shrinkage risk will be lessened. What’s more, air drying your clothes is better for the planet and your bank balance!

Let’s face it –  no one wants a load full of clothes that have shrunk so much they can no longer be worn. By following these tips on how to stop clothes shrinking, you should be able to prevent future mishaps.

Make your tumble dryer more efficient

Want to get the most of out of your tumble dryer? Follow these tips:

Spin your clothes for faster drying

Increase its efficiency by setting your washing machine to a higher speed spin. This will suck more of the moisture out of your clothes in the washing machine, so they aren’t as wet when you put them in the tumble dryer. If you put your clothes in soaking wet, they’ll take ages to dry. Spinning first makes the whole drying process much quicker.


Don’t overload it

You may think you’re being more efficient by putting one large load of washing in your tumble dryer but it’s counterproductive. Overloading your tumble dryer will put pressure on the motor and ultimately, reduce the lifespan of your machine. For best results, split your washing into smaller loads before tumble drying.

Organise your laundry by weight

Avoid drying heavy items like towels with lightweight items like blouses and shirts. The lightweight items will dry far quicker and one of two things could happen. Either your washing machine will sense the clothing is dry and switch itself off (leaving your towels still wet) or it will continue to dry the wet towels and over-dry (and potentially shrink) your blouses.


Clean tumble dryer filter

Your tumble dryer can’t do its job if it’s blocked up. Pull out the filter and give it a good old clean between each drying session.

Check the ventilation

Did you know that your tumble dryer will work more efficiently in a dry and warm room? Positioning your dryer in the kitchen, rather than a cold, damp garage will prevent it from having to work so hard to suck in air. Check the ventilation pipes to make sure they’re not blocked up with dust and debris.

Shake your washing

We know you’re busy but try and make time to quickly shake out your washing before bunging it into the tumble dryer. Your laundry will dry much quicker if it isn’t screwed up into a ball. And as a side tip – always fasten your duvet covers before tumble drying them to prevent wet socks and pants from getting stuck inside!

How to clean a tumble dryer

Cleaning your tumble dryer will make your machine more effective. Wondering how to do it? Follow these easy tips.

Remove lint from the filter

Pull out the filter in your tumble dryer (usually located at the front of the machine) and remove any fluff or lint. You should be able to pull it out with your fingers and dispose in the bin. Give the filter a wash with warm water and leave to dry. Try and remember to do it after every drying session to prevent a build-up.

Clean the inside of your tumble dryer

Wipe out the inside of your machine’s drum, door rim and drying sensor, with a white vinegar solution. This will get rid of any dust and prevent it from sticking to your clothing. It’ll also help your machine to run more efficiently.

Empty the water tank

Don’t forget to empty the water tank if you have a heat-pump or condenser dryer. Although the water tank can usually hold enough water for more than one load of washing, it is good practice to empty it more regularly.

Appliance cleaning service

Here at NG1 City Cleaners, we ensure our customers receive a high quality and trustworthy service. Our domestic and commercial cleaning services are extremely flexible and suited to the needs and requirements of the customer. Need your washing machine or oven cleaning? We offer appliance cleaning as an add-on service for our domestic and end of tenancy cleans. To book our cleaning services, be sure to contact us on 0115 971 3157 or fill out our enquiry form.

Our usual phone number is undergoing maintenance, please use the following number to get through to the team

0115 905 7511