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Can You Put Cotton in the Dryer? Cleaning Tips!

Most of your clothes are probably made out of cotton. It is one of the most used materials while manufacturing cotton clothes. 

However, they are natural garments so friction and heat do affect their lifespan. Natural wide-woven cotton is prone to shrinking.

So, on that basis, can you put cotton in the dryer? Continue reading to make sure your clothes are well taken care of.

Key Takeaways

  • Cotton blends are safer to put in the dryer than pure cotton clothes.
  • Because of the synthetic fibers in cotton blends, it’s completely safe to put them in the dryer at a low temperature.
  • Any cotton is fine being washed in the machine, as the shrinking process mostly happens during the drying.
  • Washing cotton is recommended to be done at cold to lukewarm temperatures as any type of heat helps in shrinking the material.
  • Putting 100% cotton to tumble dry should be avoided at all costs.

Can Cotton Be Put in the Dryer?

You would think that because most clothes are made out of cotton, surely it’s very safe to put in the dryer. Nonetheless, that might not be the case with every clothing article.

Cotton blends are very safe to put in the dryer, however, they shouldn’t be put at the highest setting. Whereas, 100% pure cotton is a lot more prone to shrinking and should be handled with more care.

Your best bet while figuring out whether to put something in the dryer is to read the tag of the article. This will help you tons in figuring out how to properly care about your garments.

Either way, cotton can be put in the dryer, just at medium heat. Clothes that are made out of loosely woven cotton should probably be kept away from the dryer.

Overall, if you want your clothing to last longer, whether that be clothes made out of cotton or wool or any other material you should let them air dry.

How To Wash Cotton

The most important thing for washing cotton is that you shouldn’t put it to wash at the highest setting. Washing cotton with extreme heat very quickly damages the clothing because it shrinks due to the fact that it is a natural material. However, washing it in lukewarm water is completely safe.

You should avoid heat in general when washing your cotton articles for the first time, especially if they’re made out of pure cotton.

This goes along with not putting them in the dryer. As a rule, don’t put new articles of clothing at a high temperature in the washing machine overall. What’s more, always first check the article’s tag before putting it in the machine. You can never be too safe when it comes to washing your new-bought clothes.

Make sure you single out the new items or at least wash them together with similar colors and fabrics. When you do this in combination with using a mild detergent or any detergent intended for low-temperature usage, you have almost guaranteed safety while washing your clothes.

At how many degrees should you wash cotton?

We already know that even though cotton can sustain high heat, there is also the probability that it will shrink. However, a lot of people like washing their underwear or cotton shirts at higher temperatures, as this cleans them thoroughly.


Washing your cotton clothing at 90 degrees celsius makes sure that there are no bacteria, viruses, or any other microorganisms still living in your clothing. However, we also know that 90 degrees will definitely cause some amount of shrinking.

So, if you want to wash bedding or underwear, you could technically put your cotton articles in the washing machine at very high heat.

This is especially true for bedsheets or blankets, as they won’t lose that much of their size while washing. I don’t suggest washing your underwear with such high temperatures because that results in a lot more wear and tear.

I previously mentioned lukewarm water, this means that you should wash your cotton articles at 40-60 degrees Celsius to prevent shrinkage.

Most cotton items, whether pure cotton or a cotton blend, are going to endure a maximum of 60 degrees Celsius while still getting the amount of freshness they need and deserve.

How to properly take care of your 100% cotton garments

Knowing all of the things I’ve just listed will make it easier to understand how to properly take care of 100% cotton clothing items.

To revise, 100 percent cotton clothing is a lot more likely to shrink than any cotton blend including a synthetic fiber. And the main cause for that is heat.

The easiest way to make your cotton clothing shrink is in the dryer. Naturally, you should avoid washing them at such high temperatures, however, drying them is what more often causes them to shrink.

During the drying process, make sure to not apply any heat. This results in a very apparent shrinkage of your clothing items.

Avoid putting your 100% cotton clothes in the dryer. The heat and friction will undoubtedly stretch the fibers and then cause shrinking when they are finished drying.

So how exactly do you prevent that?

Well, you could wash your delicate 100% cotton items by hand with lukewarm or normal tap water. This prevents tearing the material as it would during a harsh cycle in the washing machine.

It also prevents the colors from bleeding out, leaving you with a dimmed-out, pale version of your once freshly bright shirt.

Another amazing tip is to wash your 100% cotton clothes inside out. Don’t be afraid to turn your pure cotton pants or shirt inside out if you have to put them in the washing machine.

This helps in not ruining the actually visible side of your garment and instead washes them without ruining any of the color dye used in the cotton knit.

It’s really not as hard as people think to care for your favorite purely cotton-based clothes. You just have to pay attention to what their tags say and avoid tumble-drying them at all costs.

Final Words

Cotton is safe to be washed in the washing machine at a cold temperature, however, make sure to put your cotton shirt for example, with other cotton shirts, and other garments with similar colors and materials.

It’s unwise to put sheer silk fabric together with your bright red cotton shirts. That being said, care of your 100% cotton shirts and other clothing items as if they are delicate