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10 Things you should never put in the dryer

A close up of a clothes dryer's drum with dry clothes
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If you own one of the best clothes dryers, you will know the versatility and convenience that these machines provide. A full load of wet laundry straight from the washer can be dried and ready to wear in a single cycle — no fuss or effort required. The "tumbling" drying method has its benefits too; towels are left feeling soft and fluffy beyond compare, while ironing becomes a chore of the past. 

However, while you may heavily rely on your clothes dryer, there are certain items you should never dry in there. If you do, you could potentially damage these items or even the dryer itself, leading to costly repairs. Here are 10 things you should never put in the dryer. 

10 Things you should never put in the dryer 

A striped bikini laying on the sand

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1. Swimsuits — You should wash your swimwear after every use to remove all traces of chlorine and sunscreen. But, don’t be tempted to throw it in the dryer once clean. Swimwear is a big no-no for the dryer because the heat will damage the spandex, leaving it looking limp and saggy rather than fitted. It’s best to air-dry these items.  

2. Bras — For the same reason, bras shouldn’t go in the dryer either. These too contain elastic which can be damaged by the heat of the cycle. Ultimately, the fit and shape would be ruined as a result. See our guide on how to wash bras for more info. To dry your bras the right way, air-dry them flat with the cups facing upwards.  

Someone putting on a pair of pantyhose

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3. Pantyhose — Pantyhose, aka tights, are one of the most delicate items of clothing you can find. Even putting them on with too much vigor can result in a tear. So, it makes sense that a clothes dryer is too aggressive for the material. As well as leading to runs, pantyhose will shrink in the heat of a dryer, plus they can tangle up with everything, causing a lot of frustration. Air-dry them instead — they’re so thin it will take minutes. 

4. Wool — Wool is probably the most well-known mistake out there. We’ve all witnessed at least one mishap where a beautiful cashmere jumper has emerged from a dryer looking as if it would fit a teddy bear. Wool shrinks in the high heat of a dryer and it's very difficult to get it to return to its initial shape once it does. For this reason, don’t put anything made of wool in the dryer, air-dry it flat instead.  

A yellow bath mat next to a bath tub with a pair of slippers and a towel

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5. Rubber-backed bath mats — While some bath mats will be able to go in the clothes dryer, anything with a rubber-back shouldn’t. That’s because the high heat can melt and crumble the rubber and potentially lead to a fire. The same goes for any rubber-backed rugs as well. Always air-dry to keep the rubber-backing intact.     

6. Anything with sequins or beads — If you’ve got an embellished item, it’s naturally going to be tricky to launder. The high heat of a clothes dryer can melt any glue holding the embellishments in place, while the tumbling action can easily snag and damage the detail on this item as well as others. Keep sequins and beads out of the dryer to be safe and hang dry instead.  

A close up of a black leather jacket with zips

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7. Leather or faux leather — We shouldn’t really have to say it, but leather, whether real or faux, doesn’t belong in a tumble dryer. The heat will dry out and crack natural leather, while faux leather will shrink and warp. Hang dry these items instead, out of direct sunlight. 

8. Slippers — Slippers often have rubber on the underside for added grip. Just like the rubber-backed bath mats, this can melt and break away in the heat of a clothes dryer, not only ruining your slippers, but making them potentially slippery and dangerous to walk in. Rubber in the dryer can also lead to fires, so avoid this mistake at all costs.  

9. Shoes — Some shoes can go in the clothes dryer, while others can’t. Running shoes will generally be damaged by the heat — it can weaken the glue which holds the shoe together and wreck the cushioning. UGG boots also shouldn't go in the dryer — the sheepskin coating will shrink in the heat. Whereas tennis shoes (as long as they’re not professional grade) can go in the dryer with a couple of towels on the low heat setting. Refer to the care label if you're unsure, and always err on the side of caution.  

A pair of white shoes held over a red wall

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10. Anything that warns against it in the care label — If the care label says don’t dry in the clothes dryer, then don’t do it. The item will likely suffer damage in the appliance and could potentially be a fire hazard too, so don’t ignore it. See our guide on what do laundry symbols mean for more guidance. 


For more washing tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on the best washing machines, when you should and shouldn't use the quick wash setting and why you really shouldn't use your washing machine as a hamper.  


Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.