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Never Tumble Dry: 9 Items You Should Never Put in the Dryer

Never tumble dry these items unless you want to ruin them!

Let’s be honest, a lot of us are quick to tumble dry a lot of the items that we end up cleaning in the washing machine. Be it that we are talking about clothes, athletic wear, or the like of swimwear and shoes, or we go to the other side of items like bags, rugs, and the like that we throw in the washing machine to get clean, the most comfortable and easy-to-follow instinct is to use the tumble dryer to get them ready to use fast.

Despite this, tumble drying may not be the best choice for several items that we do not think twice about before using the dryer. Be it that the fabrics are not going to withstand the dry, that you are actually going to ruin the fabrics with the heat, or that you can unwantedly end up ripping certain items, the reasons can vary drastically from one item to another!

To make sure that you are not accidentally destroying your items or that you are not accidentally breaking your dyer in the process with some of these items, we brought you the most common items people tumble dry when they shouldn’t and explained why you should let them air dry instead!

Have you ever put any of these items in the dryer? What happened as a result? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

tumble dry
Image By Sean Locke Photography From Shutterstock

Reusable shopping bags, backpacks, or lung bags

This is one of the items that you would love to wash as frequently as possible, as it is obviously going to get dirty and grimy over time. Be it that you can end up spilling lunch into or onto the bag, that your shopping bags end up getting dirty as you keep on using them when you go shopping, or that your backpacks end up getting dirty due to use, you will want to wash them.

Whether you throw them in the washing machine or you decide to hand wash them, the problem arises as to how you are going to fry them. As a result, no matter if you need them fast or they can wait, it is only normal to want to throw them into the tumble dryer as they are similar to the clothes we wear.

Unfortunately, if you do that, you would be doing yourself a disservice, as this would end up ruining any sort of bag you would wash that is not made of 100% cotton. While it would be safe for you to wash these types of bags in the washing machine, the tumble dryer is extremely hot, and if the materials are not natural and made to be washed and dried in such a way as most clothes are, you are going to eventually ruin them.

The high heat can end up shrinking the material, wrapping it in a good scenario, or, in a bad one, melting it, which can in the long run cause issues with the machine or spoil the other items you are drying with them. Not to mention, in the case of the insulated lunch bags, you can overtly destroy the insulation and inner structure of the bag, rendering it useless.

So, if you do not want to end up ruining your items, just leave them out to air dry if you are not certain of their material composition!

Silk, lingerie, and delicate fabrics

We all know that delicates are hard to deal with when it comes to even washing, so when it comes to drying them, it becomes a whole new problem. After all, it would be all too easy to be able to throw the delicate fabrics we have, be it intimate garments or silk clothes, into the tumble dryer and call it a day.

If you have ever done something like this, you know that the results are something you cannot get a do-over with. Delicate fabrics and the like of silk and lace are going to be irreparable after being subjected to the high heat of the tumble dryer. Most of them are going to end up getting some really bad wrinkles that you will not be able to remove no matter what after the fact, and you will be left with virtually destroyed items as those types of wrinkles cannot be worn outside.

Even worse, you can accidentally end up completely ruining the item, as they could get snagged as they are spun by a zipper or even in the dryer and end up being ripped!

It is also a great idea to protect delicate fabrics by using a good garment bag. That way, you can protect any sort of fabric and delicates even when washing them in the washing machine if you are in a rush, and you can also skip the annoying part of having your machine eat your socks. These washing bags for delicates are our favorites, and you can buy as many or as few as you would need, for an amazing price!

Tennis shoes

When it comes to tennis shoes, a lot of us like to throw them in the washing machine and then in the tumble dryer, as it is the easiest way to get them dry so you can go out of the door faster. While it may seem like the easiest thing to do, this can actually lead to you ruining your tennis shoes.

Since this type of athletic shoe is generally made from canvas, it can be easy to believe you can dry them in the tumble dryer. However, that is not the only type of material used, and when you end up subjecting them to high temperatures, you may end up doing yourself a disservice.

Besides canvas, a lot of these types of sporty shoes can sometimes use leather, plastic, and sometimes even performance fabrics that are quite expensive to produce.

If you dry them, the heat can end up making the soles split from the rest of the shoe and distort the materials, and since they are generally not on the cheap side, it is better not to risk it with them. You can leave them out to air dry for about 24 hours and then wear them with no issue.

If you have tennis shoes or the Converse type show that is not made from any fancy materials and that you either trust not to get ruined in the tumble dryer or that you wouldn’t cry if they got ruined, you can go ahead and get them tumble dried.

To make the process faster, you can easily stuff the interior of the shoes with newspaper; the paper will soak up some of the moisture and get your footwear to dry faster.

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Image By Dmitry Naumov From Shutterstock

Leather, suede, and faux leather

This is one of the items that you may have been aware that it is a really bad idea to put in the dryer, but you may not know why. We all have that one acquaintance or family member who complains that their suede or leather coat has been ruined, but they do not know why. Next time you hear them, ask them if they made the mistake of purring it in the tumble dryer.

It is never a good idea to use these machines to dry any sort of leather, be it faux or natural, and definitely not suede. The high heat of the dryer will cause the fabric to either crack or distort, depending on the type, and it will leave you with a potentially previously really good (and at times expensive) coat, ruined because you wanted to expedite the drying process when it was not needed.

The best (and only) way that you should dry leather goods (yes, this also counts for leather shoes and other types of leather clothing items and accessories) is to leave them out to air-dry. In about 24 hours, you will have a completely dry item that is in perfect condition.

The only thing you need to make sure of is to not have them anywhere near direct heat or any direct sunlight, as it can end up causing problems with the fabric.


Yes, these intimate garments get their own section, despite a lot of us considering delicate garments. And while some types that are more akin to lingerie than everyday undergarments are definitely delicate fabrics, the same cannot be said for the everyday t-shirt bra. Despite this, they should also not be put in the tumble dryer for different reasons.

Since a lot of them end up using some percentage of elastic or spandex in their material composition so that they can provide support and stretch while also staying comfortable to wear, drying them with the tumble dryer is going to cause problems for the material.

The high temperature used to dry the items in these machines will cause the material to break, which will lead to a quick deterioration of the shape of the bra.

Not to mention, if you use the washing machine to clean the fabrics and you manage not to have any problems with the support wire while it tumble dries, it can end up popping out of place and damaging the garment, in addition to potentially breaking down your dryer.

Make sure you only wash your bras according to their instructions and that you leave them out to air dry so that you do not have any problems with the material or shape of the bra.

Gym wear

Since we have talked about lingerie and bras, it is only fitting that we also hit on the topic of gym wear. Whether we are talking about sports bras, general athletic wear, or sportswear, you should never dry these types of clothes in the tumble dryer.

Not only are these types of sportswear made with synthetic and high-tech fabrics specially designed to make dealing with excess moisture and sweat easier but they are also tightly woven to support your muscles as you work out.

Good active gear is known to lose its shape and qualities over time, no matter how many times you end up washing it, and if you make the mistake of throwing it in the tumble dryer, you will compromise the integrity of the fabric.

This will leave you with ill-fitting or loose gym wear that can no longer fulfill its purpose due to being subjected to high temperatures.

No matter if you wear them around the house or when you are working out, it is better to air-dry on the safe side and only air-dry your sportswear after washing it, avoiding the dryer at all costs.

tumble dry
Image By LIAL From Shutterstock

Faux or natural fur

In the case of fur clothes or fur-lined items, they follow the same type of pattern as leather clothes. No matter what happened or how wet the coat may be, putting it in the tumble dryer is like signing its life sentence.

The fur, no matter if it is synthetic or natural, is not made to withstand such excessive heat for prolonged periods of time.

If you end up placing your natural fur items in the tumble dryer to dry, you will end up getting them to crack, which will make your coat shed all the fur it has. The chances you have to take the item out of the dryer in decent condition are extremely slim, so it is best not to attempt to do this.

Likewise, the faux fur items are also going to suffer due to the drier temperatures. Since they are synthetic stands, the heat will make them melt and eventually tangle and become a single clump.

The best way to dry any sort of fur item is to leave them to air dry until they are completely void of moisture, away from any direct sunlight or heat sources, and if needed, you can also comb them afterward with a wide-toothed comb to carefully separate any tangled fibers.

Wool clothes

Wool clothes are another one of the fabrics that you have to be careful with, starting from the washing process and all the way to the drying one! There are a lot of types of wool that require you to only hand wash the garment, while others will let you clean them in the washing machine without being worried about doing something wrong to the fabric.

However, the tricky part comes when we reach the drying part: you should never place any wool items in the tumble dryer. This is because wool is a natural fabric, and when it comes to high heat, the outer layer of the fiber is going to react to the temperature; in this case, it is going to shrink due to the combination of moisture and heat.

Since the outer layer is made from tiny scales that will interlock higher, any wool garment that you put in the dryer will end up shrinking, and the chances of bringing it back to its original size are slim. This can also happen if you end up washing them at high temperatures.

Rubber-backed rugs and mats

It seems easy: you wash your bath mats in order to get rid of any stains and bacteria that have accumulated over time (you can easily get athlete’s foot from bacteria-filled bath mats or rugs), and the best way to disinfect them is to use hot water and detergent.

However, this does not mean that you have a free pass to throw them in the tumble dryer afterward, especially not when you plan to blast them with high heat in order to dry them faster.

No matter if they are bath mats or another type of rug, a lot of them have a rubber backing. When subjected to the high temperature of the dryer, the material will end up crumbling and even melting if you are truly unlucky. As we have mentioned before, the melting of the backing of the rugs can end up damaging not only your rug but also your tumble dryer.

Do yourself a favor and avoid drying these in the clothes dryer!

And while these are just the items that you should never tumble dry, there are also items you should never attempt to wash in the washing machine! Sure, some of them could overlap with the ones you should never put in the dryer, but there are a few items that will surprise you! Make sure you read our article on the matter and save yourself from ruining your clothes by simply cleaning them using the washing machine.

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