Things That Should Never End Up in Your Dryer

While you’re probably not actively trying to dry your chewing gum, it does occasionally get thrown in there by accident. And unfortunately, by the time you notice, the damage has probably already been done. “Gum can have lasting damage if left in the pockets of your clothes,” says Josh Matteson, a writer for Lula, a home services on-demand company. “It can either permanently stick itself to clothes or fall out of the pocket and stretch all over the wall of your dryer.” (By the way, you won’t want to overlook these vital home maintenance tasks that could cost you thousands in repairs.)


Warm sand might be nice to sit down and relax in when you’re at the beach, but it can be a pretty pesky nuisance if it ends up in your dryer. “Sand can get trapped between gaps in the drum,” according to James Peters, Kenmore Laundry Product Manager. “This adds an irritating sound when drying and can damage the dryer over time.”


As anyone who has tossed lingerie in the dryer might know, this greatly reduces its lifespan. “Do not put a good investment in the dryer. Heat will shorten the lifespan of a bra and wear down the latex, lace and other fabric in it,” according to Dr. Elizabeth Trattner A.P. DOM, doctor of Chinese and Integrative Medicine. “Treat your undergarments with respect.  Put bras in special lingerie bags and remove them and hang them from the washing machine or better yet hand wash and hang dry.” (Speaking of lingerie, this is the ONLY way you should be washing your underwear.)


While tossing your activewear into the dryer won’t damage the machine itself, it could ruin your clothing. Since most activewear is sweat-wicking or even coated to protect from the sun’s rays, it’s definitely not dryer-friendly. “Drying your activewear in the dryer and exposing it to all that high heat and friction can be damaging to the functional components that these technical fabrics are developed for,” according to Brit Turner, co-founder of Fit Atelier. “The heat can also wear away on any elastic properties that your garments may contain and weakens the material—leading to tears, holes, picks, and runs.” Instead, Turner suggests hanging or laying your activewear flat to dry after washing it in a cold or delicate washing cycle.


According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2010 and 2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to almost 16,000 fires that involved dryers and washing machines. Of those statistics, dryers were the culprit of 92 percent of them. While it might seem obvious to never put anything that can catch on fire in your dryer, it’s easy to just toss those pants you spilled gas on in the dryer without thinking. “Washing clothes will not completely remove oil residues,” says Tim Adkisson, Director of Product Engineering at Sears Home Services. “Failure to obey this warning can result in fire, explosion, or death.” (Here are some ways you can easily de-stink your clothes—and there’s no washing required.)