Why are some clothes not allowed to go in the dryer?

Somewhere deep down you know that your clothes shouldn’t go in the dryer, but why is that? It is only hot air right? Others also do it and their clothes look fine? It is secretly easy and fast? To tell you the truth, I also didn’t exactly know and that’s why I thought it is time to find out.

What does a dryer do exactly?

When you use a dryer you put your laundry in a big round tumble dryer. This tumble dryer spins around and centrifuges the laundry. The tumble dryer is powered by an electro motor. The dryer alternates between left and right spins to make sure your laundry doesn’t get entangeled (too) much. The speed of the tumble is often adjustable.

Simultaneously the dryer blows hot air through the tumble dryer. This hot air is drying your laundry while it tumbles. The air is heated by a heating element.

The tumble dryer also has all these holes on the side. These holes make sure that the moisture from your wet laundry can find its way out of the tumble dryer so your laundry can get dry. This can happen in 3 ways:

  • by means of an external flexible hose that lets the moisture out through the window;
  • a drain hose which is connected to the drainage system;
  • a moisturereservoir.

Why is a dryer bad for your clothes?

So a dryer actually does two things with your laundry, it spins it around and it warms it up. A washing machine also spins your clothes around so why is it bad? When clothes are spinning in the tumble dryer they are rubbing against other clothes and against themselves. Due to this process they loose tiny fibers every time. These fibers is what you find in the removable container after you use the dryer. The effect of your clothes loosing these fibers is actually the wear and tear of the clothes. By using the dryer this effect is accelerated because of the rubbing. If you hang your wash to dry you can prevent this additional wear and tear and you can enjoy your clothes longer.

The dryer also warms up your clothes. Not all clothing is resistant to this heat. Just like you can’t wash your clothes on high temperatures, you can also not dry them on a hot temperature. The clothes can shrink or deform. With most dryers you can choose the temperature to dry your clothes. This way you can adapt the temperature to the type of clothing you are drying.

Your clothes will last longer if you use the dryer less, but it doens’t mean that most of them can’t go in the dryer. Especially with adjustable temperatures you can use the dryer for many items (look at your washing label carefully).

Is a dryer bad for the environment?

As we discover earlier a dryer contains at least an electromotor and a heating element which use electricity. Depending on how long the dryer is tumbling, the temperature and the amount of laundry the dryer uses more electricity.

According to the Consumers Association the new type of dryers that work on a heat pump are more energy efficient than other, older types. They have calculated that when you use the dryer 100 times a year for cotton laundry and 25 times for synthetic laundry it would cost your around €30 a year (in The Netherlands) and with an other type of dryer around €65 a year. Your dryer will also give you an indication of how energie efficient it is. The highest energie efficiency is class A++ and the lowest is C.

However, they also indicate that the perfect dryer doesn’t exist yet. The dryers that are energie efficient take a longer time to dry your clothes because of lower temperatures. The dryers that do dry very well, are not energie efficiënt or take a long time.

A dryers bad influence on the environment is (besides manufacturing) the use of electricity and that also costs you money. With hanging your laundry out to dry is in the end better for the environment and your wallet.


A dryer can be very convenient if you need something to dry quickly or if you like your towels to be soft and fluffy. We also learned that quite some clothes can actually go in the dryer (some on a lower temperature), but that your clothes will wear off sooner or can get damaged. Besides the effect onyour clothes it is also less beneficial for the environment and your wallet.

If and how often you use the dryer is a choice for everyone to make for themselves, but in any case now you know a little more about the pro’s and cons of using your dryer.

P.s. how about BiNKi babyclothes?

Our BiNKi babyclothing is made out of organic cotton and can go in the dryer on a low temperature. Just like we advice you to wash the clothes on a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. We do recommend to hang them out to dry as much as possible. Before you wash or dry our clothes it is best to ‘close’ our special fastener, so no fibers or fluffs can get attached to the fastener. In case you forget about this there is no problem. If many fibers get caught, you can easily remove them with a lint roller or some tape.


Picture by Ryan McGuire