Quick Dry Fabrics: What Fabric Dries the Fastest? (9 Tips)

You want to wear quick-drying clothing when you get caught in a rainstorm with no extra clothes around to change into. Having fabrics that dry quickly is an advantage and helps keep you on schedule. Plus, you stand a better chance of not catching a cold when you are wearing quick-drying fabric.

What fabric dries the fastest? In one test, polyester was the fastest. That material dried in a little over 2 hours beating cotton by 11 minutes. Silk took over an hour longer than polyester with linen 2 hours longer than polyester to dry. The tools you use to dry your fabrics may reduce those times.

To learn more about fast-drying fabrics just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about especially if you spend a lot of time on the road. Take a few moments to find out which fabrics should be in your suitcase

Tip 1: When you are on the road, you should pack clothes made from quick-drying fabrics. you won’t be near a washer or a dryer so being prepared spares you a lot of inconveniences.

Tip 2: Even if you have a quick-drying fabric in your suitcase you should always make sure that there is plenty of airflow in your room to dry the material faster.

What Clothes Dry Fast


Generally, lightweight and white clothes tend to dry the fastest. Those lightweight dark-colored clothing are also very quick when it comes to drying time. In comparisons between the two types of fabric when the materials are the same weight, the dark-colored clothing tends to dry a little faster.

The thicker the fabric the longer you have to wait for the material to get dry. A lot will depend on the absorption rate of the material as well. If you travel a lot the best clothing to have along for the ride are those made from nylon, polyester, Cool Max, cotton, linen, and possible Merino wool.

These are the fastest drying fabrics you can own and you should add in Rayon as well. It doesn’t dry as fast as polyester or cotton but those materials do dry faster than nylon. Silk is also a good material to have in your suitcase as it only takes a little over 3 hours to get dry.

Tip 3: For light and small pieces of clothing like socks or ties, you may want to save on energy and not turn on your dryer when you are in a hurry. For those items, a salad spinner may get the excess moisture out and help those items dry a lot faster.

What is a Quick-Dry Fabric?

Quick-dry fabric is a material that can wick moisture away from your body to the outer surface of the cloth to let that moisture evaporate into the air. They do not absorb a lot of water although some natural fabrics like cotton tend to dry quickly.

The reason moisture-absorbing materials, like cotton, linen, and other options, dry fast is because they breathe well and the airflow helps dry the material. Synthetic materials do not have great airflow so those fabrics rely on moisture-wicking to get their clothing nice and dry.

Also, moisture-wicking fabrics help keep you a little bit cooler after the excess moisture has evaporated. That helps when you are on the trail hiking to your destination and the day is overly hot.

You need to stay cool in order to not overheat and cause yourself a medical problem or two.

Tip 4: When you are in a hurry or in a hotel room, turn your hairdryer on and spend a few minutes drying your clothes. The hairdryer is quick and should get those fast-drying fabrics drier even faster. Just make sure not to linger in one spot when drying synthetic materials.

What Fabric Dries the Fastest


Most people say that polyester is the fastest drying fabric you can buy. But a lot will depend on how wet the clothing is and this material does have a lot of stiff competition. You may find that other materials may dry faster than polyester.

Cotton is the fastest drying natural material coming in just behind polyester for speed. You shouldn’t lose a lot of time wearing cotton in a rainstorm as it will dry quickly and be ready for your next appointment.

Silk is the second-fastest drying natural fabric while nylon is one of the slower synthetic materials. How quick-drying they are depends on the amount of time you have between engagements.

Even the slower drying fabrics like linen and rayon can be fast if you have enough time between events. There is no need to spend the extra money and send the clothes out to be dried when you have the time to wait.

Tip 5: When you do not have the time between events to let your clothes dry naturally, pull out your travel iron to speed up the drying process. Just make sure that the travel iron has multiple heat settings to handle the different fabric types you have in your suitcase.

List of Fabrics That Dry Fast

The following list may not be comprehensive but it lists the best and fastest drying fabrics you can buy today:

  • 1. Polyester - It can dry in a little over 2 1/4 hours making it very fast.
  • 2. Cotton - Can dry in about 2 1/2 hours under the right conditions and if you use any heating tools that time should speed up.
  • 3. Silk - It is a little slower than the first two taking about 3 3/4 hours to dry under the same conditions.
  • 4. Linen - Is next with a range of 4 1/2 hours approx and it will depend on how thick the fabric is and may dry faster if lighter in weight.
  • 5. Rayon - It may be alight weight fabric but its drying time is almost 5 1/2 hours and these times are not set in stone.
  • 6. Nylon - Was the slowest taking 6 1/2 hours approx. to dry. Other factors may shorten this time and the time frame for all of the fabrics on this list.

Honorable mentions:

Gore-Tex is a fast-drying material

Fleece is seen as a fast-drying fabric

Thinsulate is up there with Gore-Tex

Cool Max rounds out the list

Tip 6: Do not leave your clothes on a radiator to get them to dry even faster. The direct heat will ruin the synthetic materials and if the radiator gets too hot it may scorch the natural fibers. If left too long your clothes can become a fire hazard especially when you use an electric radiator.

Why Does Polyester Dry Quickly?


One reason why polyester is a fast-drying fabric is that it wicks moisture away from the body so that moisture can evaporate quickly. Its purpose, like almost all synthetics, is to help move that moisture out to the open air where the evaporation process is most effective.

Another reason it dries so quickly is that it doesn't absorb moisture. Most synthetic materials are designed to avoid absorbing moisture helping them to dry faster and be used more often.

On top of that, polyester may only take an hour to dry when placed on a line in direct sunlight. That speed is due to the two reasons we already mentioned. Nylon is synthetic like polyester but for some reason, it is one of the slowest drying fabrics out of all the quick-drying materials you can buy.

Not all synthetics will dry as quickly as polyester will even though they are made from some of the same ingredients.

Tip 7: When you are at home and do not have a lot of time to wait for those fabrics to dry, set your washer to a higher spin cycle speed. That extra speed will get more moisture out and help your materials dry quicker.

Does Rayon Dry Fast?


The answer to this question will depend on which materials you are comparing it to. if you are comparing it to nylon then yes, it is a fast-drying fabric. Or if you are comparing it to heavyweight fabrics, then again, yes, it is a fast-drying fabric.

But if you are comparing it to linen, silk, cotton, and polyester then it is one of the slowest fast-drying materials you can buy. It does take under 6 hours to dry depending on the environment and conditions in that environment.

That still puts it in the fast-drying category but it is not a material you can get wet one hour and then expect to wear two hours later. If you are in a hurry it would be advisable to have a second choice to go to as rayon may not get dry in time.

Also, you have to be careful about how you dry this product as it can be ruined easily by applying too much heat.

Tip 8: When you live in a region of the country that has high humidity levels or if you travel to one, you should hang your clothes where there is a lot of airflow. Or use the air conditioner in your hotel room or a dehumidifier when trying to get the clothes dry.

Is Cotton Quick-Drying?

Yes, cotton is quick-drying and it is usually the fastest of all-natural materials when it comes to drying. Of course, drying times will vary depending on humidity levels, and other environmental conditions including the weight of the cotton fabric.

The lighter the weight and darker the color should have your cotton clothing dried in less than 2 1/2 hours. You have a lot of other drying methods at your disposal when you are trying to dry cotton quickly.

You do not just have to let it hang dry in the bathroom or on your line. Direct sunlight may dry the cotton fabric even quicker but you may experience fading as well when you do that. Keep cotton out of direct sunlight to preserve its original color when you do not use a dryer or other tool to get those clothes dry.

Tip 9: Some people say that freezing your clothes will get them dryer faster. It doesn’t take long to do this but you will need an iron to warm them up before you put them on. Just be careful how you put your clothing in the freezer. You do not want to ruin them.

Does Bamboo Fabric Dry Quickly?


It can be and depending on the type of bamboo fabric you buy, your drying time may be short like cotton or it may be as long as rayon. One of the drawbacks to drying bamboo quickly is that the material really absorbs moisture.

Bamboo may dry at the same rate as cotton but with the extra moisture it holds inside its fibers, it will dry slower than cotton will. it is said that this material dries at about the same rate as cotton but takes longer because of that problem we just mentioned.

Drying time is not a deal-breaker. Bamboo has other qualities that make it an ideal fabric to have in your clothing and towels as well as bedding. Your schedule will determine which clothing material you will buy.

Some Final Words

Quick-drying fabrics are only necessary under certain conditions. When you are out hiking or camping, on the road for important business, or at home with a busy schedule.

All other times do not require quick-drying materials especially when you are at home and have access to your wardrobe. But in any care, knowing which fabrics dry fast will help you decide what to wear on a given day as you never know what may happen.

Leave a Comment: