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What Does The Tumble Dry Low Setting Mean?

Life is busy especially as a parent and anything that can lighten the load just a little bit is amazing. Tumble dryers are one of these items that can help to make exhausted parents’ lives a little bit easier.

By providing a quick alternative to drying clothes that doesn’t require you to spend a lot of time hanging clothes out to dry whether this is indoors or outdoors is amazing. 

Have you ever forgotten to dry your children soccer kit and they need it for the school that day – no problems just pop it in the dryer on a low heat and problem solved.

But what does the low setting actually mean? Let us dive into that for you and give you the low down on the low heat setting!

When To Use The Low Heat Setting?

A low heat setting is always going to be your best option to dry any item on. But it will of course increase the drying time.

Items that require extra care such as wool and nylon will easily shrink in the dryer so a low heat setting is a must for these items.

Materials such as cotton can withstand higher temperatures but will cause damage to the material over time. By creating more lint will also reduce the life of the garment.

Cotton is unlikely to shrink when dried at higher temperatures simply because the manufacturing process pre-shrink the fabric which in itself provides protection for the item.

The best advice is to always check the care labels if you have any doubts. This will help to prevent any little accidents with your clothes!

Clothes label with cleaning instructions

Typical Temperature Settings For A Dryer

There are no standards that govern the exact temperatures of a tumble dryer for any given setting such as low, medium, or high.

But the good news is that most manufacturers provide information on specific temperatures for their machines in their instruction manual.

The most common range is between 125° F to 145° F. On some dryers, the medium heat setting and high heat setting may actually be the same temperature but require other presets to ensure the dryer runs longer in order to achieve the same results.

Temperature Guide

Setting Temperature Material
Low Does not exceed 125° F wool, Nylon, and delicates
Medium Does not exceed 135° F Standard clothing items such as t-shirts.
High Does not exceed 145° F Heavy clothing items such as jeans or towels.


To Tumble Dry Or Not To Tumble Dry?

I bet at some time during your life you have shrunk your favorite sweater or those shorts you love? the reason for most people is because they forgot to read the fine print on the care label: “Tumble Dry On Low Setting.”

It is always best to check the care for instructions especially when it comes to tumble-drying your clothes as not all clothes are able to be tumble dried and many require a special heat setting.

Top Tips To Stop Your Clothes Shrinking In The Dryer

Tumble dryers are a fantastic invention and have truly made our lives so much easier. This is especially the case if you are a busy parent trying to juggle everything while still taking care of your children.

Here are our top tips to prevent shrinking your clothes in the dryer.

1. Read the care labels

I know that this may be a really obvious one but, to be honest when was the last time you checked the care label on any of your clothes. I know I probably haven’t done so in years.

What you need to remember is that what works for natural materials such as cotton and wool is not always great for synthetic fabrics like satin and polyester.

So just be sure you know what material you have on your hands before selecting the dryer setting.

Clothes label with cleaning instructions1

2. Dry clothes on low heat

Selecting a low heat setting will mean that your clothes take longer to dry, but it is a much better option than drying them on high heat which does increase the risk of them shrinking.

3. Don’t over-dry your clothes

To prevent your clothing from shrinking do not over dry them. Even once the dryer has finished, your clothes can still get damaged. The longer that they are left in the heat, the more the chance of them shrinking increases.

4. Wash clothes in cold water beforehand

If you know you are going to tumble dry your clothes and it is possible, wash them in cold water. Cold water is less damaging to fabrics.

5. Try not to tumble dry too often

Depending on the climate that you live in drying outside may not be an option for many months of the year. This means that for some the only way to dry clothes is by using a tumble dryer.

Air drying is far better for your clothes but it is completely understandable that this is not always a viable option.


What temperature is tumble dry low?

when you see the symbol on your clothes that requires them to be dried at a low setting, this usually means that it is a delicate cycle. The temperature on a low setting does not usually exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the low setting on a dryer?

The low setting on a dryer refers to the delicate setting. This setting uses low heat so drying time will be longer, this is the best setting to use for delicate fabrics. 

Will low heat dryer shrink clothes?

Drying your clothes on a low heat setting will take them longer to dry, but it is much better than placing them on a high heat setting which could result in an increased risk of them shrinking.

The reasoning behind the increased shrink risk is that the heat can damage the fibers.

The Final Thought

Dryers are a great invention and they have definitely made our lives easier. But they do have a downside and have damaged a countless number of clothes since their invention.

This is more to do with user error than the fault of the actual dryer. So the best possible advice is to check those care labels and follow those instructions to the letter – your clothes will thank you!