Sorting through clothes, selecting wash cycles, adding detergent, transferring wet clothes to the dryer, waiting for dryness, and finally folding or hanging the stuff. It is no walk over! All of us would love if there was an easier way to wash and dry our clothes.
On the bright side, technology has evolved such some front load washing machines have a full wash-to-dry cycle. These washers, however, have the in-built ventless drying system which is fitted inside the washer drum and dries the clothes inside the drum. This translates to no more transfers of sopping wet clothes to a different dryer. It will significantly reduce your laundering time.
But, which front load washers actually dry clothes well? Not all models carry out this function in equal measure. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about picking a front load washer that can get your clothes completely dry.
How Do Front Load Washers Dry Clothes?
Front load washers rely on a two-step process to dry clothes after washing:
The first step is a high-speed spin cycle. After the wash and rinse cycles finish, the washer will ramp up to very fast spinning. This spinning action extracts water out of the clothing through centrifugal force.
Higher spin speeds of 1200 RPM (revolutions per minute) or more provide the best moisture removal. The faster the spin, the less water left in the fabric. Front load models can reach up to 1600 RPM for excellent water extraction.
Heat Drying Cycle
The second step is a heated drying cycle. Many front load washers have an internal electric heating element, similar to a clothes dryer. Hot air is circulated through the drum to evaporate any remaining moisture.
This heated drying is what truly finishes drying the clothes after the initial spin cycle. The combination of spinning out water, then using hot circulating air mimics a standalone washer and dryer.
Key Features That Enable Washer-Dryers to Fully Dry Clothes
When shopping for a front load washer that can effectively dry clothes in addition to washing them, be on the lookout for these key features:
“Dry” Function or Mode
The machine should have a dedicated cycle or setting specifically labeled as “Dry”, “Dryer”, or something similar. This activates the heated drying function after the wash and spin. If there is no specific dry mode, the washer likely does not have the capability to thoroughly dry laundry.
Large Drying Capacity
Pay attention to the stated drying capacity, which is usually given in cubic feet or kilograms. Match this to the amount of laundry you need to dry. The drying capacity is often lower than the washing capacity.
For example, a washer may have a 4 cubic foot wash capacity, but only a 2.5 cubic foot drying capacity. So make sure the dry capacity suits your household needs.
High Spin Speed
Faster spin speeds ensure the maximum amount of moisture is extracted from clothes before the heated dry cycle begins. This shortens the required drying time.
Look for models with a max spin speed of 1300 RPM or higher. Top-of-the-line models may go up to 1600 RPM.
These sensors detect when the laundry is fully dried and automatically stop the machine. This prevents over-drying which can damage clothes.
Comparing Washing Capacity vs. Drying Capacity
With most front load washer-dryer combo units, the drying capacity is lower than the maximum washing capacity. There are a couple reasons for this difference:
Room for Tumbling
When drying, clothes need enough space to tumble freely and allow airflow through the drum. If the machine is overloaded, clothes will be too tightly packed together to dry effectively.
Fabrics shrink slightly when dried. Clothes may fit loosely when wet, but tighter when dry. So the dryer drum needs extra space to accommodate the shrinkage.
As a general rule of thumb, the drying capacity is around 2/3 of the maximum washing capacity.
For example, you may be able to wash a 4 cubic foot load, but can only dry about 2.5 to 3 cubic feet at once. This allows clothes to tumble and shrink.
So with a washer-dryer, you can wash a larger load, then will need to remove some items before starting the drying cycle. Prioritize drying the clothes you need most urgently.
What Types of Clothes Can Be Dried in a Front Load Washer-Dryer?
Front load washer-dryers work well for drying most types of everyday clothes and linens such as:
- T-shirts, underwear, socks
- Jeans, pants, shorts
- Sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets
- Towels, sheets, pillowcases
Items made with thin, lightweight fabrics will dry the quickest and be easier for the machine to handle.
Heavier items like thick blankets, comforters, or curtains may not dry fully since they take a long time to dry and take up more capacity.
You’re better off washing then line drying or taking those bulky items to a traditional dryer. Stick to smaller, lighter weight garments in your washer-dryer.
Will Drying Clothes in a Front Load Washer Damage Fabrics or the Machine?
When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, drying clothes in a front load washer-dryer should not cause damage to:
Most everyday clothing and linens can withstand the heat and tumbling motion without problems. Fabrics like cotton, polyester blends, jersey knits, and more are durable for the dryer.
But be sure to remove clothes promptly when the cycle finishes so they don’t get over-dried. And avoid fabrics that are heat-sensitive.
The Washing Machine
Front load washers that offer a drying feature are designed to handle the heat and tumbling required. The motor, drum, bearings, and other components are made to last through frequent drying cycles.
However, as with any appliance, it’s important not to overload the washer or dryer beyond the recommended capacity. Too big of a load can put strain on components. Stick within the stated capacity limits.
Tips for Improving Drying Performance in Any Front Load Washer
Here are some tips and best practices for making sure your clothes get thoroughly dried in a front load washer, even smaller models:
Wash Similar Fabrics Together
When possible, wash loads with all cottons together, synthetics together, delicates together, and so on. This allows you to set the ideal dry temperature and takes guesswork out of drying different fabrics.
Use the Highest Spin Speed Setting
Set the spin speed to the max RPM to extract as much moisture as possible before drying. High-speed spins are the best way to reduce drying time.
Shake Out Clothes Before Drying
After washing, shake each item to release any loosely-held water before placing in the dryer. You can also untwist knotted clothing to separate the fibers.
Clean the Lint Filter Frequently
A clogged lint filter restricts airflow and efficiency. Clean the filter after each drying cycle to improve performance.
Allow the Full Drying Cycle to Finish
Don’t be tempted to remove clothes before the cycle ends. They may feel dry on the surface but still be damp inside. Let the moisture sensors determine completion.
Use Dryer Balls or Towels for Small Loads
For very small loads, add a few dryer balls or towels to create tumbling action and airflow. This prevents clothes from sticking together.
Warning Signs Your Washer is Poor at Drying
Watch for these red flags that may mean it’s time to upgrade your washing machine or call a repair service:
Clothes Are Still Sopping Wet at End of Cycle
If clothes are anything more than slightly damp when the dry cycle finishes, your washer lacks sufficient drying power. Time for a replacement or repair.
Musky or Mildew Smell on Clothes
An odor right out of the washer signals leftover moisture allowing mold and bacteria to grow. Proper drying should leave clothes fresh.
Mold or Mildew Growing in the Washer Drum
Check the drum for black mold or pink/purple mildew stains. This growth indicates moisture is sticking around inside your machine rather than drying properly.
Lint Filter is Clogged with Debris
A filter that is excessively dirty, or debris trapped where you can’t reach, blocks airflow and efficiency. Clean thoroughly or replace filter.
Dry Cycle Takes Several Hours
It shouldn’t take 3+ hours to dry a normal load. Excessively long drying is a clue not enough moisture is being removed during wash and spin cycles.
Clothes Shrink or Get Damaged
If fabrics are shrinking excessively or getting damaged from heat, the dry cycle temperature and duration likely needs adjusting.
What washing machine models dry clothes completely rather than leaving them damp?
Some washing machines have in-built dryers for drying of the clothes completely. For instance, there is the BOSCH 8/5 kg Washer with Dryer. It has an internal heated system and a DudoTronic function which will dry your clothes but without fading the fabrics. It features a reload function that allows you to add forgotten laundry during the washing process of your clothes and a child lock to keep your kids safe. The machine features a large washing drum and a waterproof touch control.
Key Takeaways – What to Look for in a Drying Washer
To recap, here are the key features and criteria to look for when shopping for a front load washing machine that dries clothes thoroughly:
- A dedicated “Dry” cycle or setting uses the heat drying function, essential for proper drying.
- High spin RPMs of 1200 or more extracts maximum water before drying.
- Drying capacity around 2/3 of washing capacity leaves room for tumbling and shrinkage.
- Moisture sensors end the cycle automatically when clothes are dry.
- Positive reviews praise the washer’s drying effectiveness for real world performance.
With washers trending toward larger capacities, finding a model with ample drying power is key to truly replace a separate dryer.
While an all-in-one washer and dryer may not work for oversized loads, for most households, the convenience and performance of washer-dryer combos is impressive.