Can You Put Soaking Wet Clothes In the Dryer | Solved

We’ve all been there before. You’re in a hurry but that lovely pink shirt you want to wear is still swishing around in the washer. Or perhaps you’ve gotten caught in the rain and your jacket is soaking wet. 

You entertain thoughts of throwing these drenched items of clothing in the dryer as they are. Will it dry them quickly? Will it dry them at all? Will put dripping wet clothes in the dryer damage the appliance? It’s tempting, but before you toss the wet clothes in, read the info below.

Can You Put Soaking Wet Clothes In the Dryer

While a clothes dryer is designed to dry clothing, it can only do its job efficiently when the clothes are damp but not soaked. 

What’s the difference between damp and soaked, you ask? Isn’t wet, wet? Clothes that have gone through an entire wash cycle in a washing machine have been spun dry. They are damp to the touch, but they are not water-logged. 

Soaking wet clothing is heavy and there is an obvious excess of water in them because you can see the water dripping from the articles of clothing. 

There are several reasons you shouldn’t put drenched clothes in the dryer, but before we discuss them, let’s explore how a clothes dryer does its job. 

Understanding How A Clothes Dryer Works

Some clothes dryers use hot air and tumbling to dry clothes. Other dryers, called condenser dryers, remove water from the clothing. Both types of dryers do a good job of drying clothing, but they both require the clothing to be spun dry first. 

Draining or Collecting Water

A condenser dryer works by removing water from the clothing. The water is collected in a reservoir and must be emptied regularly. If applicable, a drain hose can be installed to eliminate the need for manual emptying. 

External Drain Hose – Standard Dryer

When an external drain hose is installed, the water that is removed from the clothing drains directly into a water drain rather than collecting in a reservoir. This is more convenient and less hassle than having to manually empty the water. 

Water Reservoir – Condenser Dryer

If the laundry area doesn’t have a water drain near the dryer, installing a drain hose on a condenser dryer may not be an option. In this case, the water removed from the clothing collects in a reservoir that must be emptied manually after each load. 

Dryers Have a Maximum Weight Capacity

Many people fail to realize their dryers have a maximum weight capacity. This number will vary depending on the machine’s size, but regardless of the size machine you have, the maximum capacity is based on the weight of the clothing when it is dry. So, if a dryer’s capacity is 15 pounds, that’s 15 pounds of dry clothing. Dryers are designed to handle the extra water weight once the clothing has gone through the washing machine, provided you don’t overload the washer, to begin with. 

5 Risks of Putting Soaking Clothes Into A Dryer

Now that you understand a little bit about how a dryer works, it’s time to find out what happens when you put soaked clothes in one. 

1. Extended Clothes Dying Time

The biggest consequence of putting water-logged clothes in a dryer is that it will take forever for the clothes to dry. Because there is so much water to get rid of, your dryer will continue to run twice as long as it normally does, or maybe even longer. 

2. Higher Energy Bills

As a result of longer run times, you will likely notice an increase in your energy bills if you regularly put sopping wet clothes in the dryer. Any appliance that generates heat as a clothes dryer does can be costly to run anyway but making it work overtime by putting soaked clothes in it will drive your energy bill up significantly. 

3. Clothes May Dry Stiff

Chances are if your clothes are dripping wet when they come out of the washer, you either pulled them out before the machine had a chance to spin them dry or your washing machine isn’t functioning properly. Either way, your clothes will still have detergent residue on them that can make them stiff if they happen to dry completely in your dryer. 

4. Heavy Loads Can Damage Your Dryer

Excessively wet clothing is extremely heavy. Your dryer has a weight capacity that a sopping wet load likely exceeds. The excess weight puts strain on the dryer’s parts, especially the belt and the motor, both of which can be challenging and/or expensive to fix. In some instances, you may need to replace your dryer completely. 

5. Excessive Water In A Condenser Dryer

Excess water in a condenser dryer can cause mold or mildew and leave your clothes smelling foul. If you regularly put soaked clothes in a condenser dryer, the appliance can leak, and over time, cause rust and malfunction. 

Drying Soaking Wet Clothes

So, what should you do with your soaking wet clothes before putting them in the dryer? Luckily, you have several options for removing as much water as possible so your dryer can do its job efficiently and without risk of damage. 

Check Your Dryer Type and Weight Capacity

Clothes dryers come in a few sizes: small capacity, average capacity, and large capacity. There may be some variations of these sizes, but you should know what type you have and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for load size and weight. Remember, the weight capacity of a dryer is based on the weight of the dry clothing before it goes through the washing machine.

Wring Clothes Dry By Hand

One option to remove water from soaked clothing is to wring each article of clothing by hand before putting it in the dryer. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, and the clothes will probably still be quite wet. 

Drip Dry On A Clothes Line

Another option for drying water-logged clothes is to let them drip dry on a clothing rack or clothesline. This is probably the best solution as it allows excess water to fall away, and when the clothes are dry enough, they can be tossed in the dryer to soften up and finish drying. 

Leave Soaking Clothes in The Basin To Drain Off

Finally, you can leave sopping wet clothes to drain in a sink or basin. The best approach to this method is to only place one or two items of clothing in the basin at once. If you put too many articles of clothing in the sink, they won’t be able to drain enough to prevent possible damage to your dryer. When all the excess water has drained away, the damp clothes can then be put in the dryer to finish drying. 

FAQs Wet Clothes In Dryer

At this point, you now know that you shouldn’t put soaking wet clothes directly into a clothes dryer. There are several negative consequences to doing so including potential dryer damage, improper drying, extended drying times, and higher energy bills. 

To further support you on the subject of putting sopping wet clothes in the dryer, I’ve answered a couple of frequently asked questions below.

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Having renovated two homes and completed countless repairs, it was time to share this experience with the world. From repairing kitchen appliances to remodeling entire homes, my 30 years of experience will hopefully help you on your journey to a beautiful and functional home