Blue laundry inside a washing machine drum.

Drying Clothes

Drying clothes appropriately can make all the difference to how they look and feel when you come to wear them. So should you tumble dry clothes or air dry them? This guide will give tips for drying clothes depending on the material, as well as advice on effective methods to use.

Before drying clothes, check to see if all stains have been removed in the wash. If not, repeat the stain removal process and wash again. The heat from the tumble dryer could set the stain and make it even harder to remove.  


Tips for drying clothes:

Different materials should be dried in different ways. Here’s how to dry acrylic knitwear, cotton, linen, delicates, and woollens:


Acrylic knitwear

Dry flat, away from direct heat, unless otherwise advised by the care label.


Cotton and linen

These can be dried on a hot setting in the dryer, or on a washing line.



Check the care labels to find out whether these are safe to go in the dryer, whether they should be hung on a line, or dried flat.



Woollens can lose their shape when hung up, so it is best to dry them flat, either on a special drying screen, or on a table on which you have first spread a towel. Dry away from direct heat or strong sunlight, which can cause yellowing in woollens. 


Effective methods for drying clothes:

Using a tumble dryer

Always check the garment care label for any specific instructions before tumble drying clothes. Tumble dryers are great for getting clothing dry quickly, but some fabrics are not suitable for tumble-drying and will need to be dried on a washing line or dried flat.

When using a tumble dryer, do not over load the machine as this will only mean the clothes will have less room to move around, and so will take longer to dry and will come out more wrinkled.

When setting the desired drying time, remember that you may want your clothes slightly damp if you are planning to iron them afterwards.

You should regularly remove any build-up of fluff from the lint tray of the machine.  


Line drying outside

Sunlight can cause colours to fade so dry bright / deep dyed colours in the shade, or where possible turn them inside out. It’s also best to use a colour care detergent like Persil Colour Care Washing Capsules to help maintain the vibrancy of your coloured clothes.

For white clothing, sunlight can actually be very beneficial, helping to keep whites bright and fade any lingering stains.  


Air drying clothes inside or outside

Where possible, it’s best to air dry your clothes. The not-so-great British weather means you can’t always put clothes out to dry on the washing line, but you can still air dry them on an indoor washing line or clothes horse. Air drying clothes has many benefits:

  • It uses less energy than a tumble dryer, which helps reduce your household bills and reduce your impact on the environment
  • It prevents static cling
  • It reduces wear and tear on clothes that the tumble dryer could cause

Drying clothes needn’t be a hassle when you know the right way, for the right fabric. For more tips on doing laundry check out the Washing Tips & Tricks section.

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