How to Air-Dry Clothes Indoors

Part of: Daily Homemaking Habits (2 of 2)

This article is about air-drying your clothes indoors. From selecting a reliable clothes horse to accelerating the drying process, this article contains all the information you need to create a successful indoor air-drying routine.

Tip #1: Acquire a reliable clothes horse

To air-dry your laundry indoors, you need a clothes horse to hang your laundry on. When choosing a clothes horse, here are the top three features to consider:

  • Capacity: Your clothes horse needs to be able to accommodate your typical laundry load. Count the number of rods on the clothes horse and compare it to the number of items in your typical laundry load.
  • Ergonomics: Bending down to hang laundry can be hard on your back. Avoid clothes horses that are very low to the ground.
  • Storage: It’s unnecessary for your clothes horse to take up space when it’s not in use. To save space, opt for a foldable clothes horse.

Tip #2: Wash with the end in mind

When it comes to air-drying your clothes, a little foresight goes a long way. Here are three tips for adapting your laundry routine to support air-drying:

  • Wash your laundry at night. Air-drying your laundry can be inconvenient and unsightly if you do it during the day. To solve this issue, wash your laundry at night. By air-drying your laundry overnight, you can keep your space uncluttered in the daytime.
  • Take advantage of the spin cycle. The wetter your laundry is, the longer it will take to dry. To speed up the air-drying process, use a washing cycle with a high spin setting—as long as your clothing is not too delicate to handle it.
  • Perform laundry accounting. An overloaded clothes horse prevents laundry from drying efficiently. To match your laundry load to your clothes horse, count your laundry as you add it to the washing machine. If your clothes horse has 15 rungs, wash a maximum of 15 items. Laundry accounting ensures that you can always dry what you wash.

Tip #3: Minimise wrinkles

If you smooth out your laundry before air-drying it, it will remain smooth as it dries. Here’s how to minimise wrinkles when air-drying your clothes indoors:

  • Large items: For larger items such as t-shirts and dresses, grasp the item firmly with both hands. Briskly flap the item downwards once or twice to smooth out wrinkles, then hang the item on your clothes horse.
  • Small items: For smaller items such as socks and gloves, hold the item in one hand. Use the fingers of your other hand to press and smooth out any large wrinkles, then hang the item on your clothes horse.

Tip #4: Assist slow-drying items

Air-drying takes time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t give the process a boost. Speed up the air-drying process by following these guidelines:

  • Maximise exposed surface area. Hang each item neatly and avoid bunching. You can also undo zips and buttons and pull out pockets.
  • Place slow-drying items at the edges. Items hung on the peripheral rungs will dry faster because they are further away from other wet items and closer to the open air.
  • Give thick items multiple rungs. By spreading them out over two or more rungs, you can help thick items (like towels or sweaters) dry faster.
  • Flip extremely slow-drying items. If you have an item that struggles to dry overnight, speed up the process by flipping it after a few hours. This tip works because the top side of each item dries faster than the bottom side.
  • Reassign real estate. Remove items once they are dry and redistribute the remaining items over the empty rungs. The more space each item has, the faster it will dry.

Tip #5: Anchor down small or slippery items

There are two types of laundry that have a knack of sliding off the clothes horse and onto the ground: small items and slippery items. Here’s how to deal with small or slippery items:

  • Small items: To secure small items like socks, handkerchiefs, and gloves, hang a mini drying rack onto your clothes horse. Choose one that has built in clothes pegs, and use these pegs to keep the small items securely attached.
  • Slippery items. To secure slippery items like silk or chiffon blouses or dresses, spread them out over three or more rungs to create a more stable resting place. Alternatively, use clothes pegs to hold the items in place.

Tip #6: Decrease damp

Air-drying laundry indoors can make your home more humid, which can encourage the growth of mould. Here are my favourite tips for minimising moisture:

  • Wash smaller loads. The more laundry you have, the more moisture will be released into the air. Do your laundry more frequently to eliminate the need to wash large loads.
  • Create airflow. Open a window or turn on a fan to help disperse moist air.
  • Use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier controls humidity by removing moisture from the air. It is extremely helpful if, like me, you live in a humid climate.

Widening Your Laundry Options

The ability to air-dry your laundry indoors lends itself to a variety of situations. Indoor air-drying allows you to dry your laundry no matter the weather or the season. It is gentle and gradual, and it protects your laundry from the harsh heat of the sun or the dryer. It requires minimal equipment, and it can be done at any time of day. Indoor air-drying is a valuable acquisition to any homemaker’s laundry toolkit.