What Does Dry Flat Mean?

Great hacks and tips for save your clothing and time

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on what does dry flat mean

It’s not a secret that quite often labels on clothes prevent you from wearing them comfortably, so a person simply cuts them off, forgetting about the label’s true purpose. The name of the factory can be written on it, and so on, but the most important thing that interests us is the information on washing.

This information is very important, having washed a thing incorrectly it can be simply thrown away. At the moment, we are not so interested in the issue of washing things, as the question of their further drying and the corresponding inscriptions on the label.

So what is a dry flat? If you find these words on one of the garment labels, it simply means that, after being washed, an item must be placed on a flat surface maybe with a towel beneath it, and air dry. Dry Flat will reduce the chance of shrinkage of any material. 

Dry flat meaning

In fact, there are a huge number of ways to dry things. Of course, information on drying things can be found on the very label, which is often cut off and thrown into the trash can.

Often you can see the sign and its signature Dry Flat. This means that the thing can be dried only strictly on a horizontal surface. This type of drying is most suitable for such types of fabrics as for example wool or knitwear.

Drying method is suitable for things made from these fabrics, because when they are vertically dried, they can stretch out and not come back to their original form.

what does dry flat mean

The symbol for drying flat

Recognizing the symbol for drying flat is quite simple. You will see a small square on the label. A horizontal strip is located in the center of this square, and from below you can see the inscription itself. It will be difficult to confuse this with something else.

dry flat sign

Drip dry fabrics

As for drip dry, then everything is much simpler.

In the event that you see such a sign or inscription, then the thing can be dried vertically, in addition, you can hang it up to dry it even when it is wet.

how to lay flat to dry
Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

This will not lead to any deformation of the dress. In addition, after the clothes dry out, there will not be any wrinkles or marks on it.

In order to dress it later there will not even be a need to iron it. Most often, this type of drying refers to synthetic clothes. The symbol that will be drawn on the label will consist of a small square in the center of which there will be three vertical stripes.

drip dry fabrics

But here it is not so simple. It should be noted that such clothes can not be wrung out. If you squeeze out a thing made of synthetic fabric, then on the contrary it will be dented after you take it out of the dryer.

Dry in the shade

This sign indicates the following: clothing should not be dried in direct sunlight, only in the shade. Basically, such a sign can be seen on clothes, the fabric for which is selected in white. That’s because when drying such clothes in the sun, the color begins to change.

It acquires an unpleasant yellow hue, which certainly will not make your sweater or dress more beautiful.

In addition, this mark on the tag may be supplemented by others, such as flat dry. In this case, to dry clothes it is necessary not only to dry it in the shade of the sun, but also on a horizontal surface to avoid damage. The symbol for this type of thing consists of a square, in the left corner of which there are 2 strips from wall to wall.

dry in shade what does line dry mean

Line dry meaning

This inscription has the following meaning: things can only be dried on clotheslines. Clotheslines are ropes that are tied to vertical stands.
Almost no one is drying clothes on clothesline. In the modern world, a huge number of devices has appeared, which are much less overall, as well as much more convenient in the household, especially when it comes to an apartment, not a private house.
The clothesline can easily be replaced by a special stand of small sizes, which also coalesces. The role of the rope in such supports is usually performed by wire. So, if you have nowhere to hang out the laundry, then you should not be upset.

what does dry flat mean
Shortcut combinations

There are a huge number of combinations of icons. Sometimes, on a shortcut you will find a combination of two icons, in one square. But it also happens that 2 squares will be drawn, in each of which there is a certain sign. Let’s look at the most frequent combinations.

Types of combinations:

  • Drip dry and dry in shade;
  • Dry flat and dry in the shade;
  • Line dry in the shade.

The first is drip dry and dry in the shade.

The icon of such a combination will consist of a square, in the center there will be three vertical stripes, and on top of them in the upper left corner you will find 2 oblique stripes. Seeing this, you can be sure that the thing can be dried on a clothesline, but only in the shade.

dip dry in shade

The first combination is about white items made from natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk.

The icon for the second combination consists of a horizontal strip in the center of the square and two oblique in its upper left corner. Dry such things on horizontal surfaces in the shade.

dry flat in shade

The third option is an line dry in the shade. Such things can be dried on clotheslines, but this must be done exclusively in the shade. The badge consists of an arc that runs from one upper corner of the square to the other and two oblique stripes in the upper left corner of the square.

line dry in shade

There are also clothes that are strictly forbidden to dry. In this case, a square with a large cross in the middle will be drawn on the label.

forbidden to dry

In conclusion, it is worth saying that take care of your things. It is better to pay attention to a small inscription on time than to simply lose good clothes.

Improper drying may result in warping or discoloration of the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have you ever heard such a word combination as a dry flat? Or maybe some of your garments have this dry flat care label? Ever wondered what it means or, maybe, wanted to learn more about it? Well, now you have a chance to dig dipper into this and learn many useful facts for yourself!

So what is a dry flat? If you find these words on one of the garment labels, it simply means that, after being washed, an item must be placed on a flat surface and air dry. And that’s all!

Are there any specifics about this drying method or any flat dry care instructions? Yes, there are.

  • Usually, the dry flat is required for delicate items like woolen sweaters that can lose their shape if you hang them to dry after washing.
  • Sometimes, if you dry garments this way on the ordinary wooden table or any other flat wooden surface, you will have to spread a dry towel underneath the damp apparel to prevent the wood from getting shrunken.
  • If you have any acrylic knitwear, dry flat away from heat unless the opposite is indicated on the label.
  • For drying woolen items, use a dry flat clothes rack or any flat surface. If you choose the latter, put a dry towel underneath the garment to prevent it from damping.
  • All the bright-colored or deep-colored apparels are better to dry flat in the shade as direct sunlight can make the colors fade.
dry flat is required for delicate items
Photo by Laura Dewilde on Unsplash


  • Dry flat clothes can’t be put in a dryer as it will damage the structure of the fibers.
  • Dry flat vs line dry – which is best? In fact, everything depends on the type of fabric your apparel is made of. Some of them are simply not meant for hang drying at all as it can damage the item and ruin its shape (like with the woolen clothes, for example). So there is no point in comparing these two ways of drying.
  • A dry flat can be used for the t-shirts, too! In fact, the tumble dryer will most likely ruin them causing to fade or bobble. So simply lay them flat to dry or hang them outdoor.

dry flat can be used for the t-shirts

We hope that these dry flat laundry tips will help you to keep your clothes wearable and good-looking longer! Anyway, before deciding to dry flat any of your garments, check its label to ensure that this particular fabric is ok with such a drying method and doesn’t require another approach.

Take care!

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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