Taking bed sheet out of tumble dryer

How Long Does It Take to Tumble Dry Bed Sheets?

When the weather is dry and sunny, air-drying your bedsheets outside under the sunshine is a great option. Those of us who live in a rainy climate often need a tumble dryer if we want to quickly dry our sheets.

But exactly how long does it take to tumble dry bed sheets?


How Long Does It Take to Tumble Dry Bed Sheets?

It largely depends on the fabric, but as a general rule, it’ll take about 40 minutes to one hour to tumble dry bed sheets.

Cotton, for example, will hold a lot more moisture than polyester and therefore will take longer to dry.

If you’re looking for a rapid drying time then it’s best to place your bed sheets in the dryer without any other fabrics or clothes. The fuller the dryer is, the longer it will take to dry everything.

Even at a low heat setting, you should not leave your bed sheets in a tumble dryer for longer than necessary. This is because of the negatives of tumble drying which are mainly shrinkage and damage to the fabric.

The level of risk of these downsides will depend on the material of the bed sheet which is why it’s always good to check instructions.

For this reason, many people suggest combining tumble drying with air drying. This means that you start by tumble drying the bed sheets, and then stop while the sheets are still slightly damp, then hang them outside on a line to complete the drying.

Many tumble dryers have sensors and will stop as soon as the drying process is complete. This reduces the risk of overdrying your clothes and causing damage.

sheets in dryer


Is it Safe to Tumble Dry Bed Sheets?

While you may want to try part-air drying your sheets, in truth, most bedsheets are fine to be tumble dried until all the moisture has been removed. You should only be concerned if you have wool, silk or rayon bedsheets.

Fabrics that are “tumble dryer friendly” are marked accordingly on their labels with a symbol of a circle inside a square. If you find this symbol on the label of any cloth, you can conveniently tumble dry them. So, check your bed sheets individually.

Wool isn’t ideal for a tumble dryer as it’s prone to being shrunk, and the same can be said for rayon. Silk won’t shrink like wool or rayon but it’s too delicate for a tumble dryer. Lace and leather can’t be tumble dried either but that won’t be a concern for bed sheets.

Bed sheets can be made from synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, and nylon. These are also fine for tumble drying but at the lowest possible heat setting.

These materials, especially polyester, dry very quickly so may be fine just going next to a radiator for an hour or two instead.


What Is the Right Temperature to Tumble Dry Bed Sheets?


Bed sheets often take longer to dry than other items. However, this does not mean that you should go for the highest heat setting in a bid to speed up drying.

When using the tumble dryer for bed sheets, it should be at a low heat setting not exceeding 55°C.

Tumble drying your clothes at a high temperature can cause wrinkles to form. Worse still, it can damage the fabric, and cause sheets to shrink.

For example, in sheets made from cotton, the fibres can become stiff and brittle breaking off to form lint on other clothing.

Synthetic fibres will even fare worse. Their heat tolerance is lower, so they can easily melt and leach chemicals.

Modern tumble dryers often have fabric-specific settings which allow you to turn them on without worrying too much about temperature.


Tips on How to Tumble Dry Your Bed Sheets

To get the best result when tumble drying your bed sheets, apply the following:

  1. After washing the bed sheets, run a spin cycle so that they are only slightly damp. If your sheets are too wet when they go into the tumble dryer, they’ll take longer to dry. A lot of washing machine cycles will automatically finish with a spin cycle.
  2. Ensure that you separate the sheets, removing those that are not tumble dry friendly.
  3. Empty the water tray and ensure the tumble dryer fluff/lint filter is cleaned. Not doing so can mean that the machine takes longer in drying your sheets.
  4. Set the dryer to the appropriate temperature, setting and time. If unsure, consult your manual.
  5. Don’t place any other items in the dryer with your bed sheets.


Final thoughts

It’s hard to specify an exact time for bed sheets to dry in a tumble dryer as some fabrics may be dry in 40 minutes and others up to 90 minutes.

This will still be much quicker than air drying so it is the perfect solution if you need to get those sheets back on your bed as soon as possible.