clothes dryer time dry setting

What Does ‘Timed Dry’ Mean on a Tumble Dryer?

If you’ve recently bought a tumble dryer, you might not be familiar with all the symbols and programs yet! One option that might be giving you hassle is the ‘timed dry’ setting on the control panel.

So, what does ‘timed dry’ mean’?


What Does ‘Timed Dry’ Mean?

tumble dryer dial settings

In a nutshell, the ‘timed dry’ setting allows you to choose a specific amount of drying time for your load of laundry.

Usually, it doesn’t allow you to select what heat is used (it’s usually a hot temperature).

The duration is measured in minutes, and you tend to choose a figure between 10 minutes to 90 minutes.

So, instead of choosing an actual program or allowing the sensors inside the machine to determine the length of the cycle, you manually select the duration yourself, and the dryer runs for this period of time.

In most cases, the dryer will shut off automatically once it hits the duration time, and you can then remove the laundry from the machine.

It’s simple to use a ‘timed dry’ setting because all you need to do is turn the dial/press the button that states the duration you need to use.

The responsibility and control of the cycle are on the user when you choose a customisable ‘timed dry’ setting.

For some people, controlling exactly how long the machine runs for is exactly what they want from the appliance.

But you should err on the side of caution when using this type of setting because misusing or not understanding it in full will result in you damaging your laundry or not drying it effectively.

tumble dryer settings


When to Use Timed Dry

The ‘timed dry’ option is handy for multiple reasons, including:

  • You can choose a suitable drying time based on what you’re drying. A short drying time for slightly damp items, for example.
  • You can choose a shorter duration so you can prevent over-drying.
  • If you need to dry a single item, you could pop it on a ‘timed dry’ to dry it quickly. This could save you money and energy because you don’t have to run a full cycle on the machine.
  • If you know you need an item dried by a specific time, you could use the ‘timed dry’ setting and make sure your garment is dry by the time you need it.
  • It’s useful if you’ve run a load through the machine but the items aren’t quite dry and could do with another blast from the dryer! In this case, you could tell the machine to dry the laundry for a few extra minutes instead of making it run through an entire drying program again!


When Not to Use Timed Dry

When Not to Use Timed Dry

There are, of course, times when the ‘timed dry’ option isn’t very suitable, and these include the following.

When you’re not sure of what duration to choose

If you’re not sure what duration to choose, you should stick to using dedicated/named programs.

For example, if you wanted to dry wool, you could select the wool/delicate setting on the tumble dryer rather than choosing a specific amount of drying time.

If you don’t know how long a particular material should be dried for, you should skip the ‘timed dry’ option because you could choose the wrong time and damage your item. You’ll most likely shrink the garment in question!

If ever you’re unsure about what cycle to choose, read the clothes tag on your garment and stick to the instructions on there.


When drying clothes that might shrink

Avoid the ‘timed dry’ option if your garment is known for shrinking.

In this case, you shouldn’t use a ‘timed dry’ because if you choose the wrong duration, even by just a few minutes, you’d likely shrink your item.

You might be able to un-shrink it, but in the worst case, the garment might be ruined.

You should choose a named program that’s suitable for the material you need to dry. Or perhaps you could avoid using the tumble dryer and utilise another drying technique.


When drying clothes that can’t handle heat

If you know your garment shouldn’t be dried on a hot setting, don’t put it on a ‘timed dry’. Some garments should only be dried at a cool temperature, and given the fact that most ‘timed dry’ options run at a hot temperature, it would be unwise to dry said clothes in such a warm environment.

You’d probably end up causing some sort of damage to them, particularly if you chose an extra-long duration!

For more information on other symbols and options on your tumble dryer, see our guide to tumble dryer settings.