Tumble Dryer FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about tumble dryers.

Are tumble dryers safe? Can they catch fire?

Occasionally, tumble dryers can catch fire and there have been issues with particular models in the past. A fire safety notice has been issued for several models made by Whirlpool, who discovered that their tumble dryers could set on fire when fluff built up and came into contact with the heating element.

Switching the tumble dryer off at the wall when you’re not using it is always a good idea. However, there have been horror stories of some tumble dryers catching fire despite being turned off, so you definitely need to be careful to buy a tumble dryer with a flawless safety record.

Which have assembled a list of 113 models that pose a fire risk, which you can find here. The list was last updated in December 2015, so it’s not completely up to date. If you are concerned about your tumble dryer and can’t find any information online, contact the manufacturer directly.

Do tumble dryers turn off automatically?

Yes, almost all tumble dryers turn themselves off automatically once they’re done. You should check the instructions manual for specific details about how your machine works.

Do tumble dryer sheets work?

Tumble dryer sheets are small sheets of material treated with fabric softener that prevent clothes from picking up static while also softening them and helping them smell nice. They are usually effective at reducing static and giving your clothes a nice smell, but many contain harmful chemicals and allergens. Some manufacturers produce fragrance-free and organic tumble dryer sheets for people with sensitive skin or environmental concerns.

Do tumble dryers cause damp?

Vented tumble dryers that aren’t vented properly can cause substantial amounts of damp. They will pump out a lot of moisture, causing condensation and damp. They should be vented to the outside by hanging a vent pipe out of the window or using a purpose-made dryer vent. You could get a professional to create a dryer vent, or do it yourself if you’re good at DIY.

Condenser tumble dryers like the Beko DCY9316 are much better if you want to avoid damp, as they store the moisture in a bottle which you can empty down the drain. However, condenser tumble dryers aren’t always 100% efficient, so they might contribute partially to damp.

Can tumble dryers shrink clothes?

If you’re not careful, using a tumble dryer could shrink your clothes. To prevent this from happening, wash and dry your clothes at a low temperature. Using too much heat is the main culprit when it comes to shrinking.

Carefully check the care label on your clothes before washing and tumble drying them to make sure they can be safely machine washed and dried.

Can tumble dryers be used in the garage?

You can put your tumble dryer in the garage if it is warm enough, but you shouldn’t if your garage gets very cold in the winter. If it’s too cold, the dryer might stop working and it might not be covered by the warranty. If you heat your garage this shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s generally not advised to put a tumble dryer in the garage if it gets very cold.

A cold garage combined with a condensation-producing tumble dryer is also a recipe for rusty tools and damp, so if you’re using a vented tumble dryer, make sure it’s vented properly so the moisture is being pumped outside and not into the garage itself.

Are tumble dryers expensive to run?

The cost of running different tumble dryers varies greatly. To get an idea of how cheap a tumble dry will be to run, look at the energy efficiency rating. A dryer with an ‘A’ rating will cost about half as much to run as a dryer with a ‘C’ rating.

The most energy-efficient dryers are condenser dryers with heat pumps and gas-vented dryers, which typically cost around £30 a year to run. However, if you buy a standard vented or condenser tumble dryer, you will probably pay closer to £100 a year.

You should look for dryers with good energy efficiency ratings and smart features such as sensors to turn the dryer off when it’s done. You can also part-dry your clothes and then finish them off with air drying to save more money.

Are tumble dryers heavy?

The lightest tumble dryers weigh around 15 kg, but a regular tumble dryer will usually weigh around 25-30 kg.

Obviously, the weight of a tumble dryer increases when you put when clothes in it, and most dryers have a capacity of 3-9 kg.

Will tumble drying kill fleas and bed bugs?

Tumble dryers usually won’t kill fleas and bed bugs unless you use the hot setting for over 30 minutes. However, this might not be a good idea as you could shrink or damage your clothes by using the hottest setting.

Which tumble dryer should I buy?

The best tumble dryer for you depends on your needs and budget, though some tumble dryers will be good for most people. We’ve put together a roundup of the top 10 tumble dryers in the UK here.

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