As resilient creatures, spiders can withstand a lot. Most spiders can go without food or water for long periods of time and can even survive being submerged in water.
As for the dryer heat, some spiders can tolerate temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. While some washing dryers can go up to 127 degrees, most are around 120 degrees. There’s a 50-50 chance your spider will barely make it through the cycle.
How Can a Spider Survive in the Washing Machine?
Spiders are experts at surviving in the most unlikely places. Take, for example, the case of the spider that somehow ended up in the washing machine. Because spiders can hold their breath for long periods of time, they can survive the wash cycle.
As mentioned earlier, a large majority of spiders can survive in water, thanks to their ballooning behavior. Ballooning is when a spider releases strands of silk that act as sails, allowing the spider to float on the wind to new locations.
This exact mechanism can help a spider survive the spin cycle of a washing machine. Although the water will knock the spider around, the ballooning behavior will help it stay afloat until the cycle is over.
This behavior is also often called kiting. It’s worth noting, however, that not all spiders can balloon. Like the brown recluse, some species are too heavy to balloon and will drown in water.
Some spiders who are known to kite or balloon may include but are not limited to:
The American House Spider
The American house spider is a brown, orb-weaving spider that is common in the United States. It is typically found indoors, making it one of the most common indoor spiders. The American house spider is also known to balloon, which helps it spread to new areas.
The Barn Funnel Weaver Spider
The barn funnel weaver spider is common in the United States. It is often found near human habitation, making it one of the more commonly seen spiders. It can survive in a wide range of habitats and is known to balloon.
The Black Widow Spider
The black widow spider is a venomous spider found in the United States. It is typically found in dark, secluded areas such as under rocks or in woodpiles.
Although it’s worth noting that the black widow spider is not known to balloon, its resiliency and ability to survive in harsh conditions make it a spider that can withstand the wash cycle.
These are called wolf spiders because they’re often found in rural areas and hunt their prey.
Wolf spiders are known to be able to survive in a wide range of conditions, making them one of the more resilient spiders. When exposed to water, wolf spiders will often try to balloon to safety.
What Happens if a Spider Gets Stuck in the Dryer?
While some spiders can survive the washing machine, the dryer is a whole different story. The dryer is significantly hotter than the washing machine and can reach temperatures up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
While there’s a small chance that your spider will survive the dryer cycle, it’s more likely that it will succumb to the heat, and it’s going to be a painful process for them.
A group of Berkley researchers did a study on a spider’s heat tolerance. It’s been found out that jumping spiders can withstand temperatures up to 127 degrees Fahrenheit (53 degrees Celsius), as they are built to withstand the scorching heat of the Arizona deserts.
Other spiders, such as the common house spider and barn funnel weaver spider, can withstand temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). However, these spiders are not built to withstand prolonged exposure to heat and will eventually die if they’re exposed to it for too long.
Although dryers can reach temperatures well above the heat tolerance of most spiders, there have been a few cases of spiders surviving the dryer cycle.
In 2012, a family in Australia found a spider alive and well in their clothes after they had gone through the dryer.
The spider, which was later identified as a wolf spider, had somehow managed to survive the heat and come out unscathed.
Here are some things that could possibly happen to a spider after being in a washing machine dryer:
After being in the dryer, the spider may have reduced locomotion due to dehydration and/or damage to their legs.
The heat of the dryer can cause paralysis in spiders. This is especially true for young spiders, who are more susceptible to heat.
Loss of Coordination
The spider may also experience a loss of coordination and have difficulty walking after being in the dryer.
Although it’s possible for a spider to survive the dryer, there’s also a chance that the spider will not make it and will die.
While most spiders can’t survive in the dryer, there are a few exceptions. If you find a spider in your dryer, it’s best to let it outside so it can continue its life cycle. However, if you do see that the spider is all curled up, it’s an indication of death, and you can safely dispose of it.
The possibility of spiders surviving a washing machine or dryer cycle depends on the spider’s species and resiliency.
Some spiders, such as the black widow spider and wolf spider, are known to be able to withstand a wide range of conditions and can even balloon to safety.
However, most spiders cannot survive in the dryer due to the high temperatures. If you find a spider sneaking in your dryer before you start the cycle, letting it outside is the best option.