How Long Does a Dryer Take? The Complete Guide

By Nick Evans •  Last Updated: 08/10/21 •  10 min read

Running low on time, but your favorite shirt is still in the wash? We’ve all been there! Whether you forgot to do laundry or had a last-minute accident, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll discuss the question you’re wondering now: how long does a dryer take? We’ll also dive into:

  • How long a dryer cycle takes
  • How long a commercial dryer takes
  • How long a dryer takes to dry one shirt
  • Why your dryer is taking so long
  • Why you have to run your dryer for two hours to dry clothes
  • How to make your dryer faster
  • How long dryers last
How long does a dryer take

How Long does a Dryer Cycle Take?

You can expect that load of laundry you’ve just put into the dryer to take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.

This is assuming that the dryer is working well and used properly, not broken or overloaded.

The length of time a dryer cycle takes depends on a few factors including:

I’ll delve further into all of these below.

What You’re Drying

Thicker materials, such as a comforter, will take less time to dry than thinner materials, such as a t-shirt. A load of clothes typically takes 30-45 minutes to dry fully, but heavier loads such as blankets or towels may take an hour or more.

Small loads consisting of sheets or delicates may take as little as 20-25 minutes to dry.

Load Size

Larger loads take longer to dry, as do large, bulky items. For instance, I once bought a thick king-size comforter that took longer to dry than any bedding I’ve had before due to its size.

On the other hand, if you’re only drying one towel or small item of clothing, it will take less time than it would to dry an entire load of laundry.

If you’re in a rush to leave home but need a particular item to dry first, try putting only that item in the dryer and then transferring the rest of the load after it has dried.

In addition, if your laundry typically takes too long to dry, it’s possible that you are putting too big of a load in at a time.

My washer and dryer were purchased separately and the washer can handle a much larger load, so my family has to remember not to overload our dryer!


Different heat settings on your dryer will give you faster or shorter drying times. It’s best to follow the instructions that come with your dryer or the labels on your items for precise directions.

The hotter the setting, the faster your clothes will dry. However, this isn’t a good thing for all fabrics as it can cause damage.

Dryer Efficiency

Some dryers are more efficient than others from the start. This might be due to the brand or model of dryer you purchase.

While most households have vented dryers, there are condensed and heat pump dryers on the market that take longer to dry. (The plus side of these is their portability and energy efficiency.)

However, other things factor into efficiency as well such as upkeep and technical issues.


A dryer that’s regularly cleaned will last longer and run more efficiently than dryers that aren’t maintained.

Clean the lint tray every time you use your washer, and be sure to get into the lint trap as well. Lint may fall into here unnoticed, but a vacuum can suck it out to keep your machine in good shape.

Clean the vent at the back of your dryer at least twice a year.

This will not only keep your appliance running smoothly, but also removes a fire hazard from your home. It’s very important to keep up with!

Technical Problems

If your dryer is having technical problems that prevent it from working properly, it may take way longer than usual to dry your laundry.

Technical problems that can cause your dryer to perform poorly include:

You can fix some of these yourself, especially if you’re handy! Otherwise, you might need to hire a professional to fix your dryer.

If you need reliable, free quotes, use the form below:

How Long Does a Commercial Dryer Take?

When you’re at home, you can do other things while waiting to fold your laundry. I like to put my laundry in just before I start cleaning my house, so everything’s nice and clean by the time it’s done.

Sometimes it seems like my laundry takes no time at all because I’m so distracted by other tasks.

But when you’re using a commercial dryer at a laundromat, time seems to pass so much more slowly! It seems like your washing will never be done.

In truth, commercial dryers typically take near the same amount of time as your average household dryer. Expect to wait 30-45 minutes on average.

Small loads will take less time, while thick, bulky loads will take more time.

See the section above for more factors that will determine how long your laundry takes to dry.

How Long Does a Dryer Take to Dry One Shirt?

The time it takes to dry one shirt will depend on the fabric of said shirt. Thicker materials take more time to dry.

On average, though, you can expect to wait around 10-15 minutes for a single shirt to dry.

Try tossing a dry towel in with your shirt to get even faster results!

Why is my Dryer Taking so Long?

Why is my dryer taking so long

There are many problems that can make a dryer take longer to dry clothes. These include:

To start troubleshooting, start by cleaning your dryer thoroughly. This includes removing lint from the lint tray, cleaning the inside of the lint trap, and cleaning the vent at the back of the dryer.

Ensure you’re using your dryer properly by following the instructions that came with both the appliance and your laundry items.

If these aren’t the problem, your machine is likely broken in some way. Investigate yourself, hire a professional to take a look, or simply buy a new dryer.

Below, we’ll discuss how long dryers last so you can get a better idea of whether or not to spend money on repairs.

Why does my Dryer take Two Hours to Dry Clothes?

If one dryer cycle won’t dry your clothes, there are a few possibilities:

Follow the troubleshooting steps above: clean your machine, ensure you’re following the instructions on your dryer and laundry items, then check for needed repairs.

How do you Make a Dryer Dry Faster?

Smaller Loads

If you need certain items to dry quickly, such as an outfit for work, don’t switch the entire load from the washer to the dryer right away.

Instead, put only the laundry you need dried quickly into the dryer. It will take less time to dry this way.

Once it’s finished, you can get dressed, toss the rest of the load into the dryer, and head off to work!

Alternatively, you should consider whether you’re overloading your dryer with loads that are too big for it. This will slow down your drying time.

Clean the Lint Tray

The lint tray of your dryer needs to be cleaned before or after each use. Simply remove it from your dryer and throw away the lint.

Once you’ve done that, collect any leftover lint from the lint trap. This is easiest to do with a vacuum hose.

Clean the Vent

Cleaning your dryer’s vent is a more complex task. You’ll need to unplug the dryer, move it away from the wall, and disconnect the vent hose.

You can then use a vacuum, cleaning brushes, or even a leaf blower to clean inside the vent. 

Alternatively, you can hire a professional to do this task for you.

Cleaning your dryer vent should be done at least twice a year.

Keep the Door Closed

It can be tempting to open the door to check on your laundry, especially if it’s taking a long time to dry. However, this is counterproductive.

Not only does it stop the cycle, but it also lets out heat and thus slows down the drying time. It’s kind of like opening your refrigerator or oven door too often!

A Proper Spin Cycle

The better the spin cycle on your washing machine works, the faster you can expect your dryer to finish the job. After all, if your clothes come out from the washer soaked then your dryer is already at a disadvantage.

How long does a dryer take

When I purchased a new washer years ago, I was surprised at how much better the spin cycle was. It took much less time to dry my laundry after that!

Add a Dry Towel

Adding a dry towel to your laundry can help to dry it faster, especially if you have a small load like the single shirt discussed above.

The towel will soak up some of the water from your wet laundry, and thus it will dry that much faster!

You can take the towel out after 5-15 minutes depending on the size of your load.

Shorten the Dryer Hose

The vent hose on your dryer doesn’t need any extra length. You might notice that it folds up like an accordion, but some length of it might not be folded.

If this is the case, fold it as much as possible to shorten the hose. This will make your dryer dry more quickly.

You can also cut the dryer hose or purchase a new, shorter one. 

How Long Does a Dryer Last?

If your dryer isn’t drying your laundry right, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to buy a new one. We all want our appliances to last forever, but how much money should you put into repairs if your dryer is already old?

On average, dryers last for ten years. Some last much longer than this, and some unfortunately give out long before they’re a decade old.

So if your dryer is only a couple of years old, it might be worth those repairs. If it’s fifteen years old, consider purchasing a new dryer instead.

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