Can You Put A Windbreaker In A Dryer? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Windbreaker season is here. It’s fall. It’s time to see leaves change and that means that you’re going to see apple cider spill on windbreakers from time to time. Windbreakers season is great, but trying to launder it is a pain. Drying, in particular, is a pain. Can you even put a windbreaker in a dryer?

Putting a windbreaker in the dryer can permanently shrink it. If your windbreaker is made from a synthetic material, you should avoid using a dryer. Always check your garment’s tags and follow the tags’ instructions to prevent damage to your clothes.

When you have that one favorite windbreaker, it can be hard to figure out how to keep it looking fresh. Washing and drying it is potentially possible, but only if you know how to handle clothes.

Do You Need a Maid Service?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Before You Begin: Read The Clothing Tags!

Clothing tags are there for a reason. They are there to help you learn how to best care for your garments—and warn you about what you should not do. While we can offer general advice on how to wash windbreakers and dry them safely, the truth is that each windbreaker will have different needs. This is particularly true about designer ones.

If you want to make sure that your windbreaker doesn’t fall apart in the dryer, read the tags. Or better yet, bring it to an experienced launderer. Dry-clean only is a thing for a reason.

Should Windbreakers Be Washed?

Most windbreakers are washable, but whether it’s done in a machine or not depends on the make of the windbreaker. If you want to wash a windbreaker, it’s best done by flipping the jacket inside-out, using gentle detergents, and using a low setting on your washer.

Windbreakers are unique as far as jackets go. They’re thin enough and synthetic enough to be wiped down with a wet cloth and left out to dry. This means that quick spills might not even need to wait until your next laundry load to get cleaned up.

Can You Put Windbreakers In Dryers?

Honestly, it’s generally not a good idea. The vast majority of windbreakers are made of synthetic fibers, which means that they may permanently shrink if put in a dryer. However, some windbreakers are now made of more organic materials that will expand after their initial shrinkage.

If you have to put your windbreaker in a dryer, we suggest that you use the following settings:

  • Air Dry. Not all dryers have this setting, but if yours does, it’s best to switch to this. This allows you to dry your windbreaker at a low (like room temperature) setting with minimal tumbling. That’s as close to airing it on a clothesline as most of us urbanites will experience.
  • Tumble Dry, Low Heat. This is often the next best setting to put your windbreaker on. If you do not have an “Air Dry” setting on your dryer, you should try this.
  • Set And Forget. This is the term I use for laying the coat out on top of the dryer until it no longer feels moist to the touch. It’s great when the power is out.

Windbreaker Washing (And Drying) Tips

Windbreakers are pretty straightforward as far as laundry goes. These tips will help ensure that you keep your windbreaker in pristine condition:

  • Read the tag. Yes, I said it again. While we’re at it, look at our suggestions on what you should do if you have to put it in the dryer.
  • If you can, lay the windbreaker flat on a counter when it’s done washing. Letting it air dry, perhaps with the help of a fan, is the best way to avoid dryer damage.
  • Avoid washing windbreakers (or any other clothing) in hot water unless specifically directed to do so by the tag. Hot water is the devil’s work when it comes to most clothing. This is true with windbreakers, too. If you must wash them, wash them in cold water.
  • The best tip for wash settings is to assume that your windbreaker will need to be washed in cool water, on a delicate or hand-wash cycle. This prevents it from ripping and also ensures that your fabric will not get stretched out in strange ways.
  • Always try the “wipe down” method described above before you go for a full washer/dryer session. Some brands make pretty delicate windbreakers. If yours is one of them, try to avoid machine washing if at all possible.

Do You Need a Maid Service?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

Can you shrink a windbreaker?

You can shrink a windbreaker in theory. In practice, it’s not always easy since most of them are made from synthetic materials that don’t shrink well in a dryer or a washer. If you want to do this, you might try to wash them in warm (not hot) water. We do not guarantee that this will work nor do we believe that this will be totally safe for all windbreakers.

What kind of detergents are best for a windbreaker?

It’s pretty clear that harsh detergents are not going to be the best course of action for a windbreaker. If you want to go for the safest option, check out detergents that are meant for use for babies. They are gentle on skin and on clothing. In many cases, the best detergents will be powdered detergents, often paired with a gentle presoak like scented vinegar.

How often should you wash your coats?

Believe it or not, it’s not very often at all. Unless you have a stain or a spill on your coat, you really only need to wash it twice per season. This prevents it from getting musty and discolored. If you want to store your clothing for a long-term change, then you should give it one last launder before you zip it up in a vacuum bag.If your coat has been hit with soda, mud, or a stain of any sort, you should take it to the laundromat or clean it up immediately. That’s the only exception to the rule, really.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

More by Ossiana Tepfenhart