Various clothes tumbling in a dryer

How hot does a dryer get?

The temperature in dryers can typically range from 120° to 160°F across varying cycles and platforms. There are some commercial dryers that can get as high as around 176°F. When tackling multiple laundry loads with varying fabrics, it helps to know what dryer temperatures and settings can help maintain the quality of your family’s clothes. This helpful dryer temperature guide explores how each setting works and which cycles are most beneficial for specific materials.

A light load of clothes tumbling with a simulated steam cycle A light load of clothes tumbling with a simulated steam cycle

Dryer setting temperature guide

This guide will give you a general idea of the various temperatures used for each laundry cycle. Exact temperatures will vary by make, model, platform, load type and size. Keep in mind that temperature is just one factor in providing optimal drying performance. For example, the same cycle on a front loading dryer may have a different temperature on a top loading model in order to make the most of the overall unit design. Be sure to always check your garment’s care label for preferred drying directions.

Hand pulling an item of clothing out of a dryer

Sanitize: highest temperature

This setting can be found in select Whirlpool® Dryers to eliminate 99.9% of common household bacteria.1 Keep in mind this heat can be intense for many clothes, so be sure to check the care label of your garment before drying it on this setting.

Hand pulling a towel out of dryer

High: around 140°F

Use high heat when drying heavier items like towels or heavier work clothes.

Hand putting items of clothing into a front load dryer

Permanent Press: around 135°F

The permanent press mode gently tumbles clothes on a medium-high heat to help prevent wrinkles from setting.

Delicate items tumbling in a dryer

Delicate: around 125°F

Use this setting when drying lightweight items, synthetics or athleticwear. Since this setting runs at a lower heat, drying times may be longer depending on the size and type of materials in your laundry load.

View of lint trap inside the dryer

Low: around 125°F

This cycle may also be labeled as “tumble dry low”. Use this setting for delicate items like sheer fabrics, embellished items, knitwear or lingerie, and high-performance synthetics such as spandex or lycra.

Does dryer heat kill germs?

Certain dryers can help lower the amount of the bacteria on your clothing when set at a high enough temperature. Select Whirlpool® Dryers have a Sanitize cycle that eliminates 99.9% of common household bacteria1. This is particularly helpful for families with kids.

If your dryer doesn’t have a Sanitize cycle, there are several other methods that can help sanitize your laundry or optimize cleaning performance, and some even start before the drying process. Check with the care label to ensure these methods are acceptable for your clothing. When possible, avoid solely relying on your dryer to disinfect your clothes.

  • Prior to drying in high heat, try washing your clothes in the warmest setting possible, depending on the instructions on the care tag. Select washers feature a Sanitize cycle.

  • Hang your clothes to dry in direct sunlight for 30 minutes. The UV radiation helps tackle surface bacteria.

  • Use liquid bleach in addition to the Sanitize cycle for items that can take bleach, or can’t be washed in hot water.

  • Top household cleaner brands have special laundry sanitizer products that can be sprayed on clothes or used in your wash cycles.

Person placing a load of towels into the dryer Person placing a load of towels into the dryer

What should I do if my dryer is too hot?

  • Check the airflow of your dryer.

  • Clean and empty your lint trap and filter.

  • Examine exhaust vents for debris. Vacuum if needed.

  • Check exterior exhaust vents and clean the dryer vent.

  • Call a professional if there is a burning smell coming from your dryer.

Explore Whirlpool® Dryers

Whirlpool® Dryers come in gas and electric options with features to help make laundry day easier. The Advanced Moisture Sensing feature on select models uses three sensors to track moisture and temperatures and adapt drying times so your family’s clothes don’t overdry. Take advantage of Smart features on select models to help streamline your laundry routine by managing laundry loads right from your smartphone.2

Explore dryer buying guides from Whirlpool brand

Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background

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1. Bacteria tested were S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae.
2. Appliance must be set to remote enable. WiFi & App Required. Features subject to change. Details and privacy info at