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Using Tumble Dryer Water in an Iron: Foolish or Genius?

Are you looking for a way to reuse water from your tumble dryer? I know that water wastage is one of my bugbears. Maybe are you hoping that using this water in your steam iron will spare you the need to clean the iron regularly.

It may seem that reusing condensed water from your tumble dryer is a great idea. However, this method could easily backfire. So, let’s look at reasons why using water from a dryer in your iron could be genius, why it could be foolish, and what is one vital step that you should not skip if you decide to try it out.

Tumble dryer water may help avoid mineral build-up in steam irons. But it also contains particulates that can block the jets. If using dryer water in an iron, first filter it. Most manufacturers specify tap water to prevent minerals being leached from the iron, but there is anecdotal success with this method.

Theory Behind Using Dryer Water in Iron

The reason why using water from your dryer in steam iron could theoretically be a good idea is that water in the condenser is essentially distilled. Therefore, it does not contain minerals that tend to build up in irons. But why is avoiding this build-up a good thing?

Mineral build-up could become detrimental to the iron and to your clothes. Firstly, limescale will start settling and blocking the steam holes, causing the iron to produce less and less steam.

This could mean the iron won’t glide as smoothly, and the fabrics can start snagging in the iron’s soleplate. Not only will this make ironing more difficult for you, but it may also lead to a build-up of sticky residue that can stain or cause other damage to your delicate items.

However, the by far most frequent issue with mineral build-up is that it causes the iron to spit white chalky residue or rusty water onto your freshly washed clothes. In most cases, you will need to rewash the items before wearing them.

Many big manufacturers recommend using only tap water in their irons. If you live in an area with hard water, you can use distilled or demineralized water. Preferably use it together with tap water in a 50:50 ratio to prevent the iron from potentially spitting or leaking.

dryer water not recommended

However, steam iron manufacturers discourage customers from using the condensed water from a tumble dryer. If you decide to go against manufacturers’ recommendations, it could void the warranty.

If using water from the condenser could protect the iron from mineral build-up, why do manufacturers advise against it? What could go wrong?

The reasoning behind this is that their appliances are specifically designed for tap water, which contains minerals. Distilled water that contains almost no minerals could absorb minerals from the iron and cause it to rust and break faster.

Distilled water also requires a higher temperature to boil. Your iron might start leaking and spitting because its temperature wasn’t high enough to convert the distilled water to steam.

Water from a dryer condenser could also contain remnants of soap, fine lint, fiber from the clothes, and other residues that could potentially damage the iron.

If you don’t want to risk damaging your iron, you can look into other clever ways how to reuse condenser water.

People Report Using Dryer Water Successfully

Some people decided to risk it and use the dryer water in their irons. Many of them had excellent results with it. Not only has nothing gone wrong, but it seemingly helped with the maintenance of the iron.

Some people even report that they started using this method because their dryer or iron manual said it was okay to do it this way.

Yet, not all experiences were positive. While some people found that using dryer water allowed them to keep their steam iron cleaner for longer, others believe it shortened the appliance’s lifespan.

This is likely due to the fact that each iron is designed differently. Some may handle distilled water pretty well, while others are only suitable to use with tap water.

One thing that most of them agreed on, and what their manuals said, is that you should filter the dryer water before you use it in your iron.

Filter the Water if You’re Going to Try

One of the main problems with condenser water is that it contains particles, such as lint, that can clog up the iron.

 dryer condenser container

Filtering the condenser water before using it helps to clean it from these particles, so it is a vital step you should take if you are using this water in a steam iron.

Unfortunately, there are no dryer condenser water filters on the market. So what can you use instead?

The solution that gets recommended all the time is using coffee filter paper. Using microfilters like AeroPress (amazon link) can catch fine lint (or other particles) and prevent them from clogging up the iron.

Test It on an Old Iron

Since there is no way to tell how your iron will react to condenser water, using this water is essentially like playing with fire. The best approach is to use an old iron that is beyond its warranty to try it out.

That way, you will be able to observe how your iron is handling the condenser water without the added pressure of knowing that you invalidated the warranty of your brand new expensive steam iron.

If you are lucky, it may extend the iron’s life and save you time on its maintenance. And if not, you were probably going to have to buy a new iron soon anyway!

Foolish or Genius Depends Entirely on Your Success

A secret way to save water while fixing any staining issues and potentially ditching regular iron cleaning? That sure sounds like a genius idea to me!

However, it may prove to be foolish in execution. It all depends on how the iron responds to the condenser water.

If the manufacturer doesn’t say anything about the water you’re supposed to use, or if you don’t mind potentially damaging the iron, then go ahead. There is a good chance that using condenser water will become your best ironing trick.

If the manual for your new expensive iron clearly states that the appliance is meant to be used only with tap water and it warns you about the damaging effects of using any other type of water, beware! You might be better off using regular water and sticking to proper maintenance.


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