Soaking Wet Clothes in the Tumble Dryer

Can You Put Soaking Wet Clothes in the Tumble Dryer?

Say you’ve been caught out in a torrential downpour. You get home and your clothes are soaking wet to the point where putting them on a radiator won’t be enough. What’s the best way to dry them?

Can you put your soaking wet clothes directly in the tumble dryer? Read on to find out.


Can You Put Soaking Wet Clothes in the Tumble Dryer?

soaking wet clothes in tumble dryer

You ideally shouldn’t put soaking wet clothes in the tumble dryer. Doing so can overwork the machine, as it’s designed to deal with damp items rather than soaking wet.

Also, the extra weight from all the water can cause the dryer’s drum mechanisms to wear more quickly. Tumble dryers can be expensive to repair or replace, so it’s best to avoid putting strain on the components.

Considering a tumble dryer is built to dry clothes, it might come as a surprise that it won’t handle soaking wet clothes well.

But if you think about the clothes it’ll typically dry (from a washing machine), these won’t be soaking wet. Your washing machine finishes with a spin cycle to remove most of the excess water.

Another important factor is energy usage. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy – as does any electric heating device – and so it’ll shoot your energy bill up if you try to dry soaking wet clothes.

Tumble dryers work best when the warm air can circulate around the clothes, which isn’t possible when they’re soaking wet.


How Do You Dry Soaking Wet Clothes Fast?

So, what’s the most effective way to dry soaking wet clothes? Well, a tumble dryer is still the best option, but you’ll need to do a quick bit of prep first.

Wring out your clothes

wring out clothes

If it’s only a small amount of clothes (such as what you were wearing), simply wring them out over the sink. This should be enough to remove the necessary excess water before using the tumble dryer.

For a bit of extra help, either use dryer balls to aerate the clothes or add a towel for the first 5-10 minutes of the dryer cycle. It’ll help absorb a bit of water, but make sure you remove it so you’re not then also drying the towel.

Run a spin cycle

spin timer in washing machine

For more than a couple of items of clothing, chuck them in your washing machine on a spin only cycle. Every machine should have this setting, as it’s helpful for adding onto a full wash cycle.

A spin cycle on its own should only take 5-10 minutes. It’ll get your clothes dry enough for you to put them in the tumble dryer without any concerns about overworking the machine.


Final Thoughts

Treating your tumble dryer properly will keep it working for many years. One of the more basic bits of advice is not to use it for soaking wet clothes. Luckily, a quick spin in the washing machine or a wring out over the sink will get them dry enough for your dryer to do its thing.