How to Use a Tumble Dryer

A tumble dryer is a clothes-drying machine that operates on electricity or gas.

Tumble dryers come in side-by-side or stackable units.Tumble dryers come in side-by-side or stackable units.
The dryer uses a tumbling drum to move warm or hot air through the clothes, drying them quickly. Using a tumble dryer is simple, but there are steps you can take to use the machine in a more energy-efficient fashion. Proper use of a tumble dryer will ensure that you do not shrink or otherwise damage your clothes and will keep your energy bill as low as possible.

Run the clothes through an extra spin cycle in the washing machine before transferring them to the tumble dryer. The spin cycle of the washing machine removes excess water and means you can use less drying time in the dryer.

Remove the lint trap, and empty it before each use. A clogged lint trap will prevent the tumble dryer from drying effectively and may require you to dry clothes twice. Discard the lint in the trash, and replace the trap.

Load the dryer to its maximum capacity with dryer-safe clothes. Inspect each piece of clothing before putting it in the dryer, if you did not do so before washing. Remove pens, markers, loose buttons or any sharp object that could stain or damage the tumble drum or the other clothes. Do not dry dry clean-only clothes.

Select the temperature and time at which you want to dry the clothes. Some dryers allow you select "High" or "Low" heat. Select "Low" heat first since it uses less energy and is less likely to shrink your clothes.

Open the door of the tumble dryer five minutes before the cycle finishes to check the progress of the clothes. If they are already dry, turn the dryer off. If not, close the door and restart the cycle until it finishes.


  • To save even more energy, remove the clothes before they are done drying and finish the drying process on a line outside or on a drying rack.

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.