Cotton in the dryer - what do you have to consider?


Again and again there are ambiguities about what is allowed in the dryer and what not. Even with ordinary textiles made of cotton, there are always differences. If and when you can put cotton things in the dryer, and if not, this article tells you in detail.

Always pay attention to the care label

The care label is always the most reliable guide to when something is allowed in the dryer, and when not. The symbol for the tumble dryer is always the square on the care label. It is usually in second or third position on the label.

If the square is crossed out, the garment is not suitable for tumble drying. If it has a point in the middle, it may only be dried at a reduced temperature. Only at two points in the square is the garment fully dryable.

This also applies to cotton. There are always differences here as well.

Differences in the cotton

Often cotton is mixed with synthetic fibers. This combination is very common as it compensates for the drawbacks of pure cotton and also provides a more comfortable fit.

These textiles made of cotton blend fabric are very often fully dryable. This is still not true in all cases. Here you should check in any case before the care labels.

Even with pure cotton, there may be differences. Of two 100% pure cotton textiles, one may be suitable for tumble dryer while the other is not. Although the material is the same here, the processing method can be different.

For example, one distinguishes between mercirized and non-mercirized cotton. Also how the thread is spun and how the fabric was processed in total plays a role. It also depends on the post-treatment, and what material are the seams of the garment. All of these factors can speak for or against a dry suit.

cheap goods

Garments from low-cost manufacturers are disproportionately often not suitable for tumble dryer. As explained above, this depends on how the fabric is processed, rather than the quality of the material. For all cotton garments you should expect a slight shrinkage, regardless of how the fabric is processed.

Tips & Tricks

Under no circumstances should garments with sewn-in padding (shoulder pads, bras) be allowed into the dryer as there is a risk of fire here. Even plastic prints can melt in the dryer and ruin clothes.


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