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Can I put soaking wet clothes in the dryer?

Washing and drying clothes are enduring chores that are part and parcel of the daily rigor necessary to keep a household moving. 

Save for cooking and cleaning the home, handling clothes is possibly the only other engaging job and without the help of washing machines and dryers, this repetitive chore would be a nightmare to execute.

Your dryer is a particularly important appliance in the execution of this task. Without it, drying clothes should take considerably longer out in the sun and that is assuming that it is always summertime. 

During the colder months when even more textiles are employed to garner as much warmth as possible, the dryer is an exceptionally convenient machine to have. 

It goes without saying, then, that this appliance must be used or applied in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations since it is such an inconvenience to have it break down and require repair work. 

Often enough, however, instruction manuals are hardly read in full and many miss out on the warnings and recommendations of the manufacturer which leaves room for mistakes to be made albeit innocently.

The simple answer to whether you can put soaking wet clothes in the dryer is no. Do not put soaking wet clothes in your dryer and for good reason.

Can I put soaking wet clothes in the dryer?


Putting soaking wet clothes in your dryer is not recommended and puts both you and your machine in possible peril. Here’s why;

Your Energy Bill Will Soar

Dryers are energy-consuming machines. In the home, only your fridge and freezer outdo your dryer in this regard yet your dryer does not run indefinitely either which means that in comparison, it probably should consume even more of it is running in perpetuity like a fridge.

There are many kinds of dryers and all have different mechanisms but most will employ a heating mechanism to eliminate moisture from clothes thus drying them. 

The most efficient way to use a dryer without expending your power to impossible amounts is to ensure as little moisture as possible is present in the clothes before depositing them in the dryer.

This way, less time and energy is spent eliminating the moisture from the clothes and conversely, your energy bill remains within reasonable limits.

Let your clothes lose the excess water as they should, in the spin cycle at the end of the wash cycle. That way the dryer easily dries out the rest of the moisture within a short while and you end up with clean fresh clothes in no time.

You Will Cause Damage To Your Machine

A clothes dryer is not made to take much weight and that is something soaking wet clothes are likely to have an excess of. If you have ever tried to lift a pail of soaking wet clothes compared to a pail of the same clothes minus the water content, the difference is indeed huge. 

Soaking wet clothes are heavy. Dryers are designed to easily rotate and tumble clothes to move air about thoroughly throughout the clothes, drying them. 

Clothes that have been wrung out easily tumble about in the dryer but clothes with water are not likely to move about easily which means that the discordant balance in the weight present in the tub could cause damage to the tub which is not something you want.

Another way you could damage your dryer is with excess water. The drying mechanism easily heats up the air in the tub and the little moisture content heats up as well leaving the fabric and evaporating easily out through the vents. 

At approximately 60 degrees Celcius, a slow steady stream of moisture exits the clothes and the tub into the vents.

A dryer does not drain water, it coaxes moisture out of clothes by moving heat and air through the clothes in a tumbling motion. 

If there is an abundance of water in the dryer such as with soaking wet clothes, the dryer would have to heat up the chamber to over 100 degrees Celsius just to start an evaporation process.

The tumbling would be difficult to achieve given the excess weight and the air movement through the clothes would be impeded by the presence of water. 

If by some luck the water could be evaporated out of the clothes, it would not be able to leave the tub fast enough since the dryer vents are made for gaseous flow, not liquid flow. 

The water would immediately condense in the vents and create a bottleneck effect stopping air movement from progressing smoothly. This could become a fire hazard.

It Is a Fire Hazard

The spin cycle at the end of the wash cycle serves to eliminate as much lint as possible from clothes. Soaking wet clothes would have a huge amount of lint which will adhere to the vents of the dryer. 

Over time this build-up will interfere with airflow which will distort the dryer’s ability to properly distribute heat. An excess of heat in the chamber or the vents will ignite the highly flammable lint fibers which do not take much to ignite and cause a fire in the process.

Given the processes expounded above, the danger of progressively or spontaneously causing a fire becomes imminent. 

The strain introduced to all parts of the dryer especially the mortar may not just affect its performance and escalate your electricity bill but more than likely putting soaking wet clothes in your dryer will eventually cause a fire.

What Happens When You Put Wet Clothes In The Dryer?

You might have a ball of soaked clothes that require drying or an emergency like falling into a swimming pool. And all your mind is thinking of is throwing the wet cloth inside the dryer- but oh no! Here is why this might not be a brilliant idea:

Damage the Dryer

Soaking clothes contain water, meaning your dryer will not only deal with moisture but also water which in turn overwhelms the dryer’s bearing. Typically, a dryer spins tightly and very silently. Still, in case of an overload, the excess weight may force the drum from its alignment resulting in too loud and many vibrations and eventually wear quickly.

How Can Wet Clothes Be In the Dryer?

It is advisable that the clothes be damp and not soaking when placing them in the dryer. Therefore it is ideal for the clothes to spin cycle (this is when you use the laundry machine to shake the excess water from clothes before tumble drying them in the dryer) or wring them of the extra water. Air dries them outside for about 30 minutes to an hour.

How to Dry Soaking Wet Clothes


You are lucky to have a dryer if you hand wash your clothes. First, Air dries them. Gently squeeze and wring out the excess water as you can, then Air dry them for about 30 minutes to an hour to be safe.

You can use what is available such as a clothing line, laundry rack, or a bunch of hangers. Hang your clothes, so they don’t touch each other for breathability and effective drying.

Now, after 30 minutes to an hour, the clothes will be suitably fit for drying in the dryer to finish the job.


Spun-Dry Clothes 

Laundry machines can run a spin cycle automatic at the end of a wash. Nevertheless, it can be run separately, too, meaning you can give your hand-washed clothes a shake without having to use extra water.

Once the spin cycle is complete, the clothes are left damp but not soaking, which is the perfect level of wetness for going into the dryer.

What Happens If Water Gets In Your Dryer

The weight of the water plus the water itself can cause issues in your dryer. If water pools around metals, it causes rust; if it becomes excess in the Air (humidity), it may cause mold, and if it leaks into your home, it can lead to rotting.

Therefore, soggy clothes inside your dryer would generate leakage to the drum messing with the machine’s electronics as water and wires don’t blend well.

Continuous exposure to water leads to rust, which will damage your dryer based on the quantity of water that escapes and how easy it can dry.

Overall, restrain from putting soaked clothes in your dryer as it will cause wear and tear, reducing efficiency. However, checking your dryer’s specification and washer is paramount. Alternatively, you can wring the excess water from the clothes before placing them in the dryer for an effective drying process while taking care of your appliance.


The logic behind putting soaking wet clothes in a dryer seems sound since the work of a dryer is to dissipate moisture and eliminate it from wet clothes but the mechanics and the engineering behind dryers and how they make this happen dictate just the opposite.

There is a limit to the moisture that a dryer can efficiently expel from clothes and the amount in soaking wet clothes grossly overshoots this limit.

Even if you have no need to wash something that is soaking wet such as clothes that have been rained on, put them in the wash first and spin to get as much water out as possible then dry them.