Waiting for clothes to dry can be a daunting household chore, especially after finally remembering to switch over the laundry from the washing machine. Many people tend to think that dryers take longer to dry clothes than they actually do.
It takes an average of about 45 minutes to dry a full load in a clothes dryer. Many of this depends on how damp the clothing was before adding it to the dryer, whether it is gas or electric, and how old the dryer is. Longer dry times can also be a sign something is wrong with your washer or dryer.
Dryers come with different settings, so drying time will vary according to the setting that you use. Different articles of clothing will also have different dry times, especially considering the material they’re made of.
How Long Does it Take for a Shirt to Dry in the Dryer?
On average, it takes about ten to twenty minutes for your shirt to get dry. This also depends on if your shirt is made of cotton or a synthetic material. Synthetic shirts will take longer to dry than cotton shirts.
The average dry time based on shirt material doesn’t have much of a difference. Also, keep in mind, certain materials should never be put in the dryer, especially wool. This will cause the wool to shrink.
Dry Times for Other Pieces of Clothing
Most clothes will have different dry times if you’re only looking to dry specific clothing articles instead of a full load. Consult the tags on your clothing and linens before introducing them to the dryer. Some clothes will dry more efficiently in higher heat than others. The average dry times for these individual articles are as follows:
There really isn’t much of a time difference between drying full loads and just drying individual articles. The only thing that changes is the amount of time it takes to dry each load as a whole. If you have multiple pieces of clothing in one load, usually all of them will take about the same time to dry.
Many dryers nowadays have built-in sensors to measure the moisture in the machine. If needed, they will automatically shorten the dry time, so your machine doesn’t overwork itself while making the clothes too dry.
Why Does My Dryer Take so Long to Dry Clothes?
If you notice that your clothes are taking longer than the average dry time, several factors could be at play that could prolong the dry cycle.
First and foremost, you might not realize that your dryer does not actually dry the clothes; instead, it heats them up. Once the clothing gets hot enough, they begin to evaporate moisture from themselves. Some of the most common and easily fixable reasons a dryer is taking longer than average to dry clothes are:
- Uneven or too heavy a load of laundry. This happens when you have too many clothing items that absorb a lot of water in the washing machine, and rather than the moisture evaporating, it’s getting transferred.
- Drying abnormally shaped items like tennis shoes or stuffed animals
Factors That Affect Dry Time
Not every load of laundry will take the same amount of time to dry. Some loads will be shorter, others will be longer, depending on many factors. Normally, there should be no reason for concern if your dryer takes a bit longer than the average time to dry a load of laundry. You should be concerned if you notice the dryer is going for an hour or two after the average.
Some factors that will affect the dry time in the dryer that doesn’t cause much concern for the dryer itself are:
- The type of dryer you’re using. Gas and electric powered dryers generally have different dry times. Combination washer/dryers also have different dry times as well.
- Clothes density: The number of clothes you’re drying at one time generally won’t affect the dry time; however, heavier items will take longer to dry.
- Load size: With a normal load (check your dryer’s manufacturer’s guide to see how much it can handle), this shouldn’t affect the dry time. If you put more laundry than your dryer takes, it will increase the dry time.
- Dryer setting: Almost all dryers have different settings for the amount of heat being pushed through the machine. This will significantly affect the dry time.
- Clothing material: Certain fabrics will take longer to dry than others.
- Airflow in the dryer: All dryers need a certain amount of airflow to operate efficiently. Routine cleaning is required to optimize dry times.
- Drain and rinse cycle from the washer: How well the washing machine drains the clothes before being put in the dryer will significantly affect the dry time.
Gas or Electric Dryer
Normally when people ask “gas or electric?”, they’re referring to someone’s stove; however, dryers also come with the option of having a gas or electric unit.
On average, it takes longer for an electric dryer to dry clothes than for a gas dryer. This is because they take longer to heat up than gas dryers and won’t get as hot. Another reason electric dryers take longer to dry is that there isn’t an exit for the hot air and moisture, which a gas dryer has.
Another factor within the dryer itself affecting dry time is the age of the dryer. Most newer dryers have sensors that signal when it’s time to stop the tumbling action or turn off the heat entirely.
Older models still require users to activate these functions manually; many people simply use the automatic timer on these machines because it provides more even results than selecting “time dry” or “more dry.”
Many people, especially those who live in apartments, have opted to have a combination washer/dryer to save space. This works out very well for most people, especially if they have small loads of laundry. Combination machines tend to take significantly longer to dry because the moisture from the wash cycle is maintained in the machine.
If you put too many clothes inside the dryer, they will take longer to dry because of how dense they become and how much more surface area there is for the wetness to spread across.
Use less clothing per load so that each article has enough room to move around freely without being hindered by others.
Additionally, try not to throw your clothes into a tightly packed ball as this restricts space also. You should shake out your clothes before throwing them into the dryer.
A full load means that both the drum and tumbler inside a dryer are completely filled with clothing or other fabrics to be dried.
Medium loads follow a similar pattern but leave some room for expansion within the dryer drum, allowing air to circulate freely between items. Small loads mean a smaller amount of fabric has been placed inside the machine and, as such, will allow for more efficient drying than a larger load of items stuffed inside. Consult your dryer manual for proper load sizes.
If you overload your dryer with a much larger amount of clothing than it can handle at one time, then your clothes will take longer to dry since the dryer requires the clothes to have space to tumble freely and allow air to flow through the clothes.
Additionally, if your clothes are wetter than usual, try not putting in so many at once so that they each have enough room to spread out and get dried.
Different materials take longer to dry than others because of their densities. Wool is one of the slowest drying fabrics, while cotton is very fast drying. Synthetic fabrics can be either fast or slow depending on their thickness, but typically they fall somewhere in the middle since they’re denser than wool but not as dense as cotton.
To get faster drying times, stick with lighter weight clothing like polyester or lightweight cotton without many layers to make sure the heat has enough time getting through thoroughly.
Synthetic fabrics take longer to dry than natural fabrics because synthetic materials trap heat within their fibers–natural fibers let air pass through much more easily.
Of course, the setting you use will also determine whether your clothes dry quickly or take a long time. Warm heat is going to be much slower drying than hot heat because moisture is more likely to evaporate from warmer temperatures. If you want quick drying times, turn up the heat on your dryer. Just make sure that the high heat doesn’t risk your clothes shrinking.
You can adjust the heat setting on your machine based on how wet your clothes are and the material of your clothes. Generally speaking, low heat will help reduce the risk of shrinkage, while higher heat will help accelerate drying time.
Airflow In The Dryer
One of the biggest factors in how fast clothes will dry in a dryer is whether there’s enough airflow inside and outside of it. If you’re extremely packed into your dryer with lots of clothing, and the door won’t shut, then, of course, it’s not going to be able to get air flowing through all that material, and your clothes aren’t going to be able to
If you are experiencing excessively long drying times, your dryer vent may be clogged with lint, restricting airflow and preventing your clothes from drying properly.
Cleaning the dryer’s lint filter is not enough – check for kinks or clogs in the ventilation duct by removing or moving the flexible hosing that leads outside of the home to determine if an obstruction exists within that tubing. If there are no obstructions found, consider hiring a professional to clean the dryer vent system if necessary.
Drain Cycle From the Washer
Additionally, one should also consider how damp clothes coming from a washing machine may affect total drying time. If you lower the drain cycle speed, it will take longer for your clothes to dry.
Additionally, if you didn’t lower the drain cycle speed, but your clothes come out soaking wet and dripping, you may have a problem with the drain cycle on your washer. If this happens, let your clothes air dry until they are no longer dripping before putting them in the dryer and call your washer’s manufacturer for help.
How to Increase Dryer Efficiency
Even if your dryer is a little more than average or dries clothes in the average time, you may want to improve your dryer’s efficiency. There are some small things you can routinely do to improve how well your dryer works.
Using dryer balls in your dryer will help improve efficiency by helping keep clothes separate instead of bunching up in the machine. They also will prevent any static cling.
Keep your dryer vent clear and clean the lint trap after every load. Not only will this improve your dryer’s efficiency, but it will also make your home safer. Too much lint in a dryer is a fire hazard, so keep it clear to prevent any sparks from igniting a fire.
Learn more about washing clothes at night.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Washer and Dryer?
If you’re in the market for a new washing machine and dryer, the timing is essential. One of the best times to look for a new washer and dryer is when there are appliance sales at any time of the year. Check for sales around Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Another time that is good to look for a new washer and dryer is when the new models are coming out. Washers and dryers tend to come out in September and October. Start looking for sales and checking the regular price around August to make sure that the price won’t be raised to create the illusion of a sale as well.
The average dry time for a full load of laundry is forty-five minutes. Drying separate clothes will take less time, depending on what you’re drying. Many things can affect dry times, and hopefully, they are easily fixable and don’t require you having to purchase new machines.
Next, you can learn about how to clean your dryer’s filter.
I’m an expert organizer and a big laundry enthusiast. I’ve created this website and Organizing TV on YouTube to share practical guides about some of my favorite subjects; making clothes fit well, doing laundry and folding clothes effectively, and organizing wardrobes with a focus on saving space since I live in a home with limited space myself. You can learn more about me here.