How To Dry Bed Sheets Quickly In The Dryer Without A Tangled Mess (…It’s The Most Frustrating Part About Washing & Drying Bed Sheets, Right?!)

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See how to dry sheets faster without your sheets being in a big wad when they come out of the dryer!

I don’t know about you, but I really love getting into my bed after a long day — to be enveloped by freshly laundered sheets.

Don't you just love getting into bed after a long day when you're sleeping on freshly laundered sheets? See how to dry bed sheets quickly...

What I don’t love is how the sheets end up in a tangled, knotted ball in the dryer during the laundering and drying process.

I knew there had to be an efficient way to dry bed sheets without the hassle of fighting with a knotted mess in the dryer!

Who wouldn’t love to know the secret of how to dry sheets faster… and having a perfectly dried sheet, free of knots and wrinkles, ready to be folded (or placed on the bed) from the moment you open the dryer door?

I’ve read about a couple different sheet drying methods that claim to prevent the bed sheets from becoming a difficult knot to unravel.

I decided to compare 2 popular methods against my own method — as well as the traditional method of drying sheets — to find the best way to dry bed sheets quickly.

Following is what I’ve learned about how to dry bed sheets in the most efficient manner — without knotting, tangling, or getting all wrapped up in a ball in the dryer.

If you’re wondering how to dry a bed sheet fast… I’ve found it!

My Favorite Way To Dry Bed Sheets Quickly Before Doing This Test

I make our bed like some hotels do: using triple sheeting. It basically involves using 2 flat sheets to sandwich our duvet — instead of using a duvet cover, 1 fitted sheet, and the pillowcases.

So, when it comes time for laundering, I’ve discovered that if I dry each bed sheet (2 flat sheets and 1 fitted sheet) solo in the dryer for approximately 10 minutes each, they don’t ever get tangled!

This works out to approximately 30 minutes of total drying time — plus another minute or so to fold and then switch out each sheet.

My Comparison Of 4 Ways To Dry Bed Sheets In The Dryer

When I explained this to my mother-in-law during a recent discussion regarding “pain-in-the-butt” sheet drying methods, she felt that switching out the items in the dryer every 10 minutes would add to her laundry workload.

She did have a valid point in her scenario. You see, she runs a VRBO in Nashville. So she is laundering mountains of sheets at a time during every turn-over.

Because of this, I decided that I would need to consider the traditional method of drying bed sheets in my comparison as well. You know… the one where we load all the sheets into the dryer at once, hit the button to start the drying cycle, only to return to a tangled, still damp mess of a sheet ball!

My goal was to calculate the actual time spent drying, untangling, re-separating, and re-drying bed sheets using each of the following methods:

  1. Traditional method – put all sheets into the dryer at one time
  2. Tennis balls method – put tennis balls into the dryer with the sheets
  3. Dry towel method – put a large, dry towel into the dryer with the wet sheets
  4. Solo sheet method – put only one wet bed sheet at a time into the dryer

I used the same 3 sheets and 3 pillowcases for every trial.

The Results

I did an experiment at home using 4 different methods to dry sheets in the dryer after removing them from the washer. See what turned out to be the BEST way to dry bed sheets quickly!

Following are my actual results after drying the same bed sheets 4 different ways!

The “total time” calculated for each method is the time it took from starting the dryer to folding all 3 sheets and pillowcases.

Obviously, dryer times will vary — so these times are based on my dryer and my mad sheet-folding skills.

#1 – Traditional Method

  1. I separated and loaded all 3 sheets and 3 pillowcases into the dryer from the washer.
  2. I started the dryer cycle for 30 minutes.
  3. After the first 30-minute dryer cycle stopped, I had to untangle the giant wad containing a mixture of dry, damp, wrinkled sheets and pillowcases from a giant ball.
  1. I re-separated the sheets and pillowcases.
  2. I restarted the dryer cycle for another 20 minutes.
  1. After the second 20-minute dryer cycle stopped, I had to untangle another giant ball of wadded up wrinkled sheets — but at least they were finally all dry.
  1. I folded the dried, wrinkled sheets and pillowcases.

The takeaway: I certainly have experienced bed sheets in giant knots which are difficult to unravel from the dryer before, but it did not occur on this particular trial. They were in a ball, but not in knots.

Total time: 58 minutes

#2 – Tennis Ball Method

  1. I separated and loaded all 3 sheets and 3 pillowcases into the dryer from the washer.
  1. I added 2 brand new tennis balls.
  1. I started the dryer cycle for 20 minutes.
  1. After the first 20-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I found the sheets in 2 separate bundles. They were partially dry and partially tangled.
  1. I untangled the damp sheets and re-separated them.
  2. I then restarted the dryer cycle for another 20 minutes.
  1. After the second 20-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I found that the sheets were actually tangle-free and wrinkle-free.
  1. I folded the sheets and pillowcases.

The takeaway: The tennis ball method only seemed to keep the sheets from getting tangled during the second cycle of 20 minutes. In theory, if I had I not intervened and re-separated them at the first 20 minute mark, the sheets would have remained a tangled mess the entire drying time on a regular cycle.

Total time: 46 minutes

#3 – Dry Towel Method

  1. I separated and loaded all 3 sheets and 3 pillowcases into the dryer from the washer.
  1. I added 1 clean, dry bath towel.
  1. I started the dryer cycle for 30 minutes.
  1. After the 30-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I was surprised to find the sheets all dry after — despite being in a giant ball.
  1. I folded the sheets and pillowcases.

The takeaway: The sheets came apart with relative ease. The first flat sheet came loose, and it appeared the fitted sheet was the culprit in gobbling up the other flat sheet. The flat sheet that got gobbled up in the center had some wrinkles, but they were minor. Even though they weren’t in too much of a tangled mess, they were still in a ball nonetheless.

Total time: 36 minutes

#4 – Solo Sheet Method

  1. I separated the fitted sheet from the other 2 flat sheets and 3 pillowcases in the washer and loaded only the fitted sheet into dryer. (TIP: Starting with fitted sheet is helpful if you’re placing sheets directly back on the bed.)
  1. I started the dryer cycle for 10 minutes.
  1. After the first 10-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I removed the dry, wrinkle-free fitted sheet from the dryer.
  1. I moved 1 flat sheet and the 3 pillowcases from the washer to the dryer.
  2. I started the dryer cycle for another 10-minute cycle.
  1. While the dryer was running, I folded the fitted sheet that had dried.
  1. After the second 10-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I removed the dry, wrinkle-free flat sheet and pillowcases.
  1. I added the remaining flat sheet to the dryer.
  1. I started the dryer cycle for 10 minutes.
  1. While the last flat sheet was drying, I folded the dry, flat sheet and pillowcases.
  1. After the third 10-minute dryer cycle had stopped, I removed the final sheet and folded it.

The takeaway: Despite going back & forth to the dryer a few times, the task was always easy, and I continued to feel productive.

Total time: 35 minutes

My Favorite Way To Dry Bed Sheets After Doing This Test

See what I've learned about how to dry bed sheets fast in the dryer. (My mother-in-law was definitely surprised!)

My conclusion is that drying bed sheets is time-consuming, no matter what!

After trying each method, I think I will continue to dry our sheets one at a time using the solo sheet method.

Yes, it does require an extra trip to the dryer — but at least I don’t ever have to deal with a tangled, wrinkled sheet ball. Plus, I only have to fold 1 sheet at a time — so it doesn’t seem like a lot at once.

I’ve also found that bed sheets will stay wrinkle-free if you take them out of the dryer as soon as the drying cycle stops and either fold them or place on the bed (rather than letting them remain in the dryer).

The Bottom Line…

I am now confident that my personal method of drying bed sheets — one sheet at a time — is legitimately the best way to do it if you want to dry bed sheets quickly and efficiently.

I’m happy that I conducted this trial — so I can officially rule out the other methods.

To sum it up:

  • The solo sheet method is clearly the best way to dry sheets quickly.
  • The solo sheet method took 1 less minute than the dry towel method.
  • The solo sheet method saved a whopping 11 minutes, compared to using tennis balls inside the dryer.
  • And the solo sheet method was a full 23 minutes faster than just tossing all of the bed sheets into the dryer at once.

Now I know for sure that drying bed sheets one at a time in the dryer is the most convenient (and least frustrating) for our household on laundry day. And as a bonus… you don’t end up with a tangled mess of sheets coming out of the dryer!

So, if you too were wondering how to dry a bed sheet fast… I hope I was able to show you how to make sheets dry faster AND shed some light on the tangled bed sheet mystery for you.

If you have another solution that works well, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!

NOTE: There’s a handy little gadget (that I have not personally tried yet) that supposedly helps to prevent your bed sheets from becoming tangled in the washing machine and in the dryer. It’s called Wad Free For Bed Sheets. You simply attach one Wad Free to the 4 corners of a bed sheet before tossing it into the washer or dryer!

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4 ways to dry bed sheets FAST... see which one is the best!