Can You Put Spandex In The Dryer? A Detailed Guide

Spandex leggings and activewear have become wardrobe staples for many. But can these stretchy fabrics withstand a spin in the dryer without damage? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, spandex and spandex-blend fabrics can typically go in the dryer, but heat and overdrying can damage the stretchy fibers over time.

Read on as we dive into the details.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about drying spandex and spandex-blend fabrics to keep them looking and feeling their best. We’ll discuss how spandex reacts to heat, best drying practices, items to avoid putting in the dryer, delicates cycles, air drying, fabric care labels, and pro drying tips.

How Does Spandex React to Heat?

Spandex, also known as elastane or Lycra, is a synthetic fiber commonly used in clothing due to its elasticity and stretchability. However, it is important to understand how spandex reacts to heat, especially when it comes to washing and drying.

Exposing spandex to high temperatures can have negative effects on its quality and durability.

Spandex Loses Elasticity When Overheated

One of the main concerns when drying spandex is the loss of elasticity. Spandex fibers are made up of long polymer chains that allow the fabric to stretch and recover its shape. When exposed to high temperatures, these chains can break down, causing the spandex to lose its elasticity.

This can result in the garment becoming saggy, stretched out, or even permanently deformed.

Did you know? Overheating spandex can also lead to the development of small holes or tears in the fabric, further compromising its integrity.

High Heat Can Damage Spandex Fibers

In addition to the loss of elasticity, high heat can also damage the spandex fibers themselves. Excessive heat can cause the fibers to melt or warp, leading to a change in the fabric’s texture and appearance.

This can result in a stiff, rough, or brittle feel, making the garment less comfortable to wear.

It is important to note that heat can affect spandex even during the washing process. Hot water can weaken the fibers and make them more susceptible to damage when exposed to heat during drying. Therefore, it is generally recommended to wash spandex garments in cold water to minimize the risk of heat-related damage.

Expert tip: When drying spandex, it is best to use the lowest heat setting or opt for air-drying to avoid subjecting the fabric to excessive heat.

For more information on caring for spandex and other fabrics, you can visit reputable websites such as Cleanipedia or The Spruce.

Best Practices for Drying Spandex and Spandex-Blends

Spandex is a versatile and stretchy fabric commonly used in athletic wear, swimwear, and undergarments. When it comes to drying spandex, it’s important to follow the proper guidelines to maintain its elasticity and shape. Here are some best practices to consider:

Use Low or Delicate Heat Settings

When drying spandex or spandex-blend fabrics, it’s recommended to use low heat settings or delicate cycles on your dryer. High heat can damage the fibers and cause the fabric to lose its stretchiness. By using lower heat settings, you can help preserve the integrity of the fabric and ensure it retains its shape.

Remember, spandex is a synthetic material that is sensitive to heat. Excessive heat can cause the fabric to shrink or become misshapen. So, it’s important to be mindful of the heat settings when drying spandex garments.

Don’t Overdry the Fabrics

Another important consideration when drying spandex is to avoid overdrying the fabrics. Spandex is prone to drying out and becoming brittle if exposed to excessive heat or drying time. It’s best to remove the garments from the dryer while they are still slightly damp.

This will help retain the fabric’s moisture and prevent it from becoming stiff or uncomfortable to wear.

If you’re unsure about the drying time, it’s better to err on the side of caution and check the garments periodically during the drying process. This will allow you to gauge their dryness and prevent any potential damage.

Consider Air Drying for Added Protection

For added protection and to prolong the lifespan of your spandex garments, consider air drying them instead of using the dryer. Air drying is a gentle method that eliminates the risk of heat damage and helps retain the fabric’s elasticity.

To air dry your spandex garments, simply lay them flat on a clean, dry surface or hang them on a clothesline. Make sure to reshape the garments if needed to maintain their original shape. It may take longer for spandex to air dry compared to using a dryer, but the results are worth it in terms of preserving the fabric’s quality and stretchiness.

Remember, by following these best practices for drying spandex and spandex-blend fabrics, you can ensure that your garments maintain their elasticity, shape, and overall quality for longer periods. Take care of your spandex items, and they will continue to provide you with great comfort and style!

What Not to Put in the Dryer

When it comes to using a dryer, there are certain items that should always be kept out. These items require special care and attention to maintain their quality and prevent damage. Here are some things you should never put in the dryer:

Spandex Swimsuits

Spandex swimsuits are a popular choice for many beachgoers and swimmers. They offer a stretchy and comfortable fit that hugs the body. However, putting spandex swimsuits in the dryer can cause them to lose their elasticity and shape.

The high heat of the dryer can damage the spandex fibers, leading to shrinkage and distortion. To keep your spandex swimsuits looking great, it’s best to air dry them or lay them flat.

Compression Garments

Compression garments are often worn by athletes and individuals with certain medical conditions. These garments are designed to provide support and improve circulation. However, they are typically made from materials like nylon and spandex, which are sensitive to heat.

Putting compression garments in the dryer can cause them to lose their elasticity and compressive properties. It’s best to air dry compression garments or follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Delicate Lace or Mesh

Delicate lace or mesh fabrics are often used in lingerie, clothing, and accessories. These materials are delicate and require gentle care to prevent damage. The high heat of the dryer can cause lace or mesh to shrink, warp, or become misshapen.

To preserve the beauty and integrity of delicate lace or mesh items, it’s best to lay them flat to dry or hang them up.

By following these guidelines and avoiding putting certain items in the dryer, you can extend the lifespan of your clothing and prevent unnecessary damage. Remember to always read the care labels on your garments and follow the recommended washing and drying instructions.

Taking the time to properly care for your clothes will keep them looking great for years to come.

Using the Delicates Cycle

Low Heat Benefits Delicate Fabrics

The delicates cycle on your dryer is specifically designed to handle fragile fabrics like spandex. One of the main benefits of using the delicates cycle is that it uses low heat. Low heat is important for delicate fabrics because it helps prevent shrinking, fading, and damage to the fibers.

By using the delicates cycle, you can ensure that your spandex garments retain their shape, color, and overall quality.

Extended Tumble Dries Better

In addition to low heat, the delicates cycle also offers extended tumble time. This means that the clothes are gently rotated for a longer period of time, allowing them to dry more evenly. This is particularly beneficial for spandex garments, as it helps prevent them from bunching up or becoming misshapen during the drying process.

The extended tumble feature ensures that your spandex retains its elasticity and fits comfortably when you wear it.

Downsides of the Delicates Cycle

While the delicates cycle is generally safe for spandex, it’s important to note that not all dryers are created equal. Some dryers may have higher heat settings even on the delicates cycle, which could potentially damage your spandex garments.

It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your dryer and adjust the settings accordingly. If you’re unsure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and air dry your spandex instead.

It’s also worth mentioning that frequent tumbles in the dryer can cause wear and tear on spandex fabric over time. While it may be convenient to use the dryer for quick drying, it’s recommended to air dry spandex whenever possible to prolong its lifespan.

Remember, the delicates cycle can be a great option for drying spandex, but it’s important to use it correctly and consider the specific needs of your garments. If you’re unsure about using the delicates cycle, consult the care instructions on your spandex items or reach out to the manufacturer for guidance.

Air Drying Spandex for Maximum Care

When it comes to caring for your spandex garments, air drying is the way to go. Air drying not only helps preserve the shape and elasticity of the fabric, but it also prevents shrinkage and heat damage. Here’s why air drying is the best option for your spandex:

No Shrinkage or Heat Damage

Spandex is a synthetic fabric that is known for its stretchiness and elasticity. However, it is also susceptible to shrinkage when exposed to heat. Putting spandex in the dryer can cause the fabric to contract and lose its shape.

This can result in a tight, uncomfortable fit and may even cause the garment to become unwearable. By air drying your spandex items, you can avoid the risk of shrinkage and ensure that they maintain their original size and shape.

Prevents Fading

Another benefit of air drying spandex is that it helps prevent fading. Exposing spandex to high heat, such as in a dryer, can cause the colors to fade over time. This is especially true for dark or vibrant colors.

By air drying your spandex garments, you can help preserve their vibrant colors and keep them looking great for longer.

Can Be Slower and Needs More Space

It’s important to note that air drying spandex can take longer than using a dryer. Spandex is a moisture-wicking fabric that can retain water, so it may take some time for it to fully dry. Additionally, air drying requires more space compared to using a dryer.

You will need to find a suitable area where you can hang or lay the spandex items flat to dry. This might be a clothesline, a drying rack, or simply laying them flat on a clean surface. However, the extra time and space required for air drying are well worth it to ensure the longevity and quality of your spandex garments.

Remember, by air drying your spandex items, you can avoid shrinkage, prevent fading, and maintain the elasticity and overall quality of the fabric. So, the next time you wash your spandex garments, consider giving them some fresh air to dry!

Checking Garment Care Labels

When it comes to taking care of your clothes, it’s important to pay attention to the garment care labels. These labels provide valuable information on how to properly clean and maintain your clothing items.

In this section, we will explore the importance of following manufacturer instructions, understanding the symbols for washing, drying, and ironing, and what to do when in doubt.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions

One of the first things you should do when checking the garment care label is to look for any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. They know their product best and can provide valuable insight into how to properly care for it.

Whether it’s a specific temperature for washing, a particular detergent to use, or a recommendation to avoid certain cleaning methods, following these instructions can help prolong the life of your clothes.

Symbols for Washing, Drying, and Ironing

Garment care labels often include symbols that provide information on how to clean, dry, and iron your clothes. These symbols are standardized and can help you understand the best practices for care. For example, a symbol that looks like a bucket of water indicates that the item can be machine washed, while a symbol with a circle inside a square means that the garment can be tumble dried.

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with these symbols can save you from accidentally damaging your clothes.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about a symbol on the garment care label, a quick search online can provide you with a comprehensive guide to deciphering these symbols.

When in Doubt, Take Extra Care

While garment care labels provide valuable instructions, there may be times when you’re unsure about the best course of action. In these situations, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take extra care.

For example, if you’re not sure if a spandex garment can be put in the dryer, it’s safer to air dry it to prevent any potential damage. Additionally, if you’re uncertain about the best temperature to wash a delicate item, it’s advisable to use a gentle cycle or hand wash it instead.

Remember: Taking extra care with your clothes can help preserve their quality and extend their lifespan. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Pro Tips for Drying Spandex Right

Avoid Fabric Softener

When it comes to drying spandex, one important tip is to avoid using fabric softener. Fabric softeners can leave a residue on spandex fabric, making it less stretchy and less comfortable to wear. Instead, opt for a gentle laundry detergent that is specifically designed for delicate fabrics like spandex.

These detergents will help maintain the elasticity and shape of the spandex, ensuring it stays in great condition.

Clean the Lint Trap

Before drying your spandex garments, make sure to clean out the lint trap in your dryer. Lint can easily accumulate in the dryer and cling to your spandex items, causing them to look worn out and less attractive.

Regularly cleaning the lint trap will prevent lint from transferring onto your spandex clothes and help them retain their original appearance.

Shake Clothes Before Drying

Before placing your spandex clothes in the dryer, give them a good shake. This will help remove any wrinkles and ensure that the fabric is evenly distributed. By shaking your clothes before drying, you’ll help them dry more quickly and evenly, reducing the chances of them getting damaged or losing their shape.

Lay Flat to Dry

For delicate spandex items such as swimsuits or leggings, it’s best to lay them flat to dry instead of using a dryer. This method helps the spandex retain its shape and prevents any stretching or distortion that can occur in the dryer.

Lay your spandex items on a clean, flat surface, and allow them to air dry naturally. This not only protects the elasticity of the fabric but also extends the lifespan of your spandex garments.

Remember, properly caring for your spandex garments will help them last longer and maintain their quality. By following these pro tips for drying spandex, you can ensure that your favorite spandex items stay in excellent condition for years to come!


Spandex is durable enough for the dryer when cared for properly. Using low heat, not overdrying, and air drying delicates are key to protecting your stretchy activewear. Follow garment labels, watch for signs of damage, and take our pro drying tips to heart.

With this advice, you can keep your spandex fabrics fitting comfortably for the long run.

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