How to Dry Clothes Without Dryer (in 5 Steps)

Register Appliance
June 3, 2024
Dryer Repair

We’re not denying that dryers are an easy, quick way of drying your clothes. But are they suitable for every situation? Absolutely not! Air-drying is the preferable method of drying many fabrics and types of clothing, and what’s more, it’s easy and cheap. Whether you prefer to dry on an outdoor line or an indoor drying rack, drying your clothes without a dryer is a simple, hassle-free laundry solution. Read on for our top tips! 

Are Dryers Necessary? 

While clothes dryers are convenient, they are not a mandatory part of the laundry process. While very common in the USA, there are many cultures and parts of the world where dryers are used infrequently or not at all, with natural methods preferred instead. Dryers are energy-hungry appliances, contributing to a significant percentage of your home’s energy usage. They are also far harder on your clothes than air drying and can lead to damage, shrinking, and overall shortened life spans of your favorite outfits. 

Although using an electric dryer is unquestionably the quickest way of drying, most of the air-drying process is completely hands-off. With a little organization and planning, you can work air-drying into your schedule, saving money and the environment!

What Are the Benefits of Air-Drying?

So, what can you hope to gain from air-drying your clothes? We’re glad you asked! Air-drying offers a raft of benefits to both your clothes and your wallet—here are some of the most impactful ones:

  • Saves money: Air-drying significantly reduces energy consumption, leading to a smaller electric bill. 
  • Good for the environment: If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, air-drying decreases your energy usage significantly!
  • Good for your clothes: The high heat of dryers causes excessive wear and tear on many fabrics, and can also cause shrinkage and damage. 
  • Naturally fresh: Drying your clothes outdoors leaves them with a clean, fresh smell and helps any lingering odors to dissipate. No need for toxic-scented dryer sheets!
  • Benefits of sunlight: Sunlight has natural disinfectant properties which can kill bacteria lingering in your clothes and help to get rid of stains. 
  • Saves space: If you choose to forgo a dryer altogether, you’ll save space in your laundry room. Air-drying equipment is minimal and takes up very little space. 
  • Improves air humidity: If you live somewhere with very dry winters, indoor drying can significantly improve the humidity of your indoor air by adding much-needed moisture. 

How to Dry Your Clothes Without a Dryer: 

Step 1: Wring Out Excess Water from Delicate Items

For delicate items that are not suited for a high-speed spin cycle, the first step is to gently remove as much water as possible from your clothes. Take a clean, dry towel and lay the delicate item on top of it. Roll up the towel and press it firmly so that the towel absorbs the excess moisture. Use this method for all delicate items, including:

  • Lingerie
  • Delicate synthetic materials
  • Woolen items

This helps your clothes maintain their shape and prevents them from being damaged during a spin cycle. 

Step 2: Use a High-Speed Spin Cycle for Sturdier Items

For sturdier items like towels, sheets, jeans, and t-shirts, the spin cycle is a lifesaver. When choosing a wash cycle on your washing machine, make sure you choose the highest speed—this will ensure your clothes come out of the wash with as little moisture as possible. The drier they are straight out of the washer, the shorter the air-drying time will be. 

Step 3: Lay Delicate Garments Flat to Dry

Delicate items, particularly knitted clothing, can easily get stretched out of shape when hung on a washing line. To avoid this, make sure you lay your delicates out flat to dry. Spread out a clean, dry towel on a tabletop or on the floor. Spread your delicate clothing item out on the towel, adjusting the shape so it lies flat. Make sure you do this in a dry, well-ventilated area. After a few hours, flip the clothes to make sure both sides dry evenly. 

Step 4: Hang Clothes Outdoors or Indoors

For the majority of your clothes and laundry, hanging is the most efficient way to air-dry since it allows for optimal air circulation. If you have an outdoor clothesline, you can also take advantage of the natural drying properties of the sun and the wind—the sun also helps to sanitize your clothes and get rid of stains!

If the weather is not conducive to air-drying, indoor drying racks are a great alternative. Make sure they’re put in a warm, well-ventilated area, and ensure the clothes are spaced apart to allow sufficient airflow.  

Step 5: Use Fans or Dehumidifiers if Necessary

Sometimes indoor drying needs a bit of help, particularly if you live in a humid climate. You can place a fan near your clothing rack to improve air circulation and help speed up the moisture evaporation process. You can also use a dehumidifier to reduce overall humidity levels in your home, as this allows your clothes to dry more rapidly. 

Additional Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Clothing

While air-drying is a great way to reduce wear and tear on your clothes, there are some additional things you can do to ensure your outfits last as long as possible: 

  • Always follow washing and drying instructions on your clothing labels. 
  • Only wash when necessary. 
  • Use mild, eco-friendly detergent. 
  • Turn your clothes inside out before washing them. 
  • Wash in cold water whenever possible to prevent fading and shrinking. 
  • Always use a gentle spin cycle for delicate clothing items.
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