What Dryer Settings Should I Use?

What Dryer Settings Should I use?

What Dryer Settings Should I Use?

Dryers are extremely convenient, but their various settings can be confusing. You may be wondering what temperature to dry clothes at, or if you can customize the drying time and temperature. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to explain dryer settings and help you determine which settings to use for different types of clothes.

Common Dryer Settings

Most dryers have several settings to choose from. While some state-of-the-art dryers might include uncommon settings, most dryers have the settings listed below. Make sure you understand what they do before giving them a try, as some settings can cause harm to certain types of garments.

Common Dryer Settings

1. Air Dry or Air Fluff

This setting may appear under the name “air dry” or “air fluff” on your dryer’s setting list. The main thing to remember with this setting is that it uses no heat. The dryer will draw room temperature air from the surrounding area as the drum tosses your clothes.

Air drying or air fluffing helps to remove dust and fluff up your garments when they’ve lost their volume from hanging in the closet or lying folded in a drawer. Since the dryer doesn’t produce any heat for this setting, you should use it for items that are already dry. Air drying is the perfect setting for blankets to restore new life if they have been flattened from constant use around your house or apartment.

2. Delicate or Gentle Cycle

Your dryer’s “delicate cycle” or “gentle cycle” behaves as the name describes. It generates mild heat appropriate for more delicate garments. Activewear, loosely woven garments, silk, and items embellished with beads or embroidery are best dried on the delicate or gentle cycle.

The low heat helps keep your clothes safe during the drying process, as these garments are prone to melting or stretching under high heat. Keep in mind that you may have to wait a little longer for your clothes to become dry when using this setting. Protecting your delicate garments is worth the wait.

3. Permanent Press or Wrinkle-Resistant Setting

The “permanent press” or “wrinkle-resistant” setting is a great choice for many of your everyday clothing items — from slacks and dresses to outerwear and jackets. This setting generates a medium heat. It will dry your clothes without inflicting the damage high heat can cause.

A unique feature of the permanent press or wrinkle-resistant setting is how it finishes the cycle. During the last several minutes of drying time, your dryer will stop generating heat and start pulling room temperature air into the dryer. This cools down your clothes, which helps to relax any lingering wrinkles. Cool clothes are also better at resisting wrinkles when folded or hung than clothes that are hot out of the dryer.

4. Regular, Automatic, or Timed Dry

This setting goes by different names depending on the brand and model of your dryer. When you see “regular cycle,” “automatic,” or “timed dry,” keep one thing in mind — this setting uses the highest heat of all the dryer settings. You’ll set the drying time yourself when using the timed dry option, whereas the automatic or regular option uses a moisture sensor to detect when clothes are dry.

It’s easy to use this setting as your default dryer setting, but this can actually damage your everyday garments over time. Instead, you should only use this setting for your strongest cotton and fabric items.

5. Steam Cycle

Newer dryers are beginning to include the “steam cycle” in their list of settings. Instead of using dry, hot air, this setting generates steam within the dryer drum, which you can use to remove wrinkles from garments. It’s also great for freshening up items that might have a musty odor from being in storage or in the closet for an extended period.

Since this setting uses steam, it won’t be able to dry your damp, freshly washed clothes. Only use this setting to remove wrinkles or refresh clothes with a slight odor. It’s also handy when you’ve left your clothes in the dryer for too long. Giving them a quick spin under the steam cycle will remove wrinkles and make them ready for your closet or drawer.

Clothing Types: Which Dryer Setting Is Best?

Use this section as a quick reference about which setting to use for certain garments when doing your laundry. If you’re unsure of a garment’s material or specific care, be sure to check the tag on the back of the collar for specific care instructions:


  • Cotton clothing: The most durable cotton clothing can withstand the automatic or timed dry settings. Stick with the permanent press setting for everyday cotton items.
  • Activewear and elastics: These types of garments have a tendency to stretch or melt under the highest heat. For that reason, use the delicate or gentle cycle for your workout clothes or any elastic items.
  • Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic material that companies often blend with cotton and other fabrics. Since polyester resists moisture, you may notice it feels dry even after coming out of the washing machine. Go no higher than the permanent press setting on your dryer for clothing containing polyester. Higher heat could damage polyester garments over time.
  • Baby clothes: Baby clothes are tiny, which means they dry faster than most other garments. Exposing them to high heat for an extended period can cause damage. You should separate baby clothes from the regular wash and dry them on the permanent press or delicate setting to keep them in good shape.
  • Jeans and heavy cotton items: Jeans, towels, sheets, and sweat pants are among the most durable cotton items. These garments can withstand the highest heat settings on your dryer. You can have confidence drying these items on the regular, automatic, or timed dry settings.
  • Knitted clothing: Knitted clothing like sweaters can fray and loosen under high heat. If you’re unable to let them air dry on a flat surface, using the permanent press on your dryer is a safe option to get them dry without suffering damage.
  • Silk, lace, and embellished apparel: These items can stretch, wrinkle, or even melt on high-heat settings. Only use the delicate or gentle cycle for these garments.

Contact classic Drycleaners

Trust the Experts at Classic Drycleaners With All Your Laundry Needs

At Classic Drycleaners, we care about your clothes. If you want to skip the hassle of doing your laundry and choosing the right dryer setting, sign up for our Wash and Fold service. Our laundry experts will wash, dry, and fold your laundry so you can focus on other things throughout the day. We offer pickup and delivery services for homes and businesses in the Greater Harrisburg region to make doing laundry easier than ever.

Check out our full list of services to see how we can take care of your laundry needs, and contact us online today for more information.

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