Maybe you woke up this morning and your dryer decided to be stupid. Perhaps you usually hang your clothes outside to dry, but it’s raining cats and dogs. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just have to line dry clothes indoors. Line drying clothes in winter isn’t so bad if you live in a fairly dry area. They may freeze, but they still get dry. It’s a totally different story for those of us in a rainy area like Oregon. I admit, I’m guilty of using my dryer way too much, ESPECIALLY when it’s cold and rainy. But there have been times when the dryer broke and we line dried our clothes until it was in the budget to replace. (And if you ever have to pick between a washer and a dryer, fix the washer first because handwashing clothes is a bit of a workout).
How to line dry clothes indoors
There are a few essential factors to consider when you line dry clothes indoors such as lack of humidity, air flow, and keeping your clean stuff clean. Watch out for dog hair and kid goop! Also, if you don’t have some kind of heat source or dehumidifer then not only do your clothes NOT get dry, they start to smell funky, and you can end up with mold in really weird places in your house (don’t ask me how I know this). I also don’t recommend hanging your underwear on the lampshade to dry before guests come over…
Hopefully I haven’t scared you totally off of line drying your clothes indoors because it actually does work if you do it right.
Keep Your House Warm
First, I highly recommend heating your house or at least the area where you will be drying laundry. That will dry the air enough that the moisture can be pulled out of your wet clothes. Well actually I recommend heating your house for a few other reasons but that’s sort of off topic. We really love our wood stove, which works superbly as long as you have wood to burn in it. It produces a dry heat so the added humidity from the laundry actually keeps the house very comfortable.
If your home is very humid even if it is warm it will take a long time for things to dry. This means that line drying indoors may need a little attention such as turning items on the rack or putting a fan on them to increase airflow.
Give Everything Enough Space
A little folding drying rack (like this kind) works really well for little things like socks and underwear and baby pants, but it really doesn’t cut it for bigger things like jeans, dresses, sheets or towels. I have a few other tricks I use for those things.
Drape large items of the tops of doors and they will dry quickly because heat rises. If they are very thick, maybe turn once or twice during drying time. You could also drape the large items over a couple of chairs in a back room. But be warned, that only works if you don’t have conniving cats and opportunistic dogs who work in tandem to cover everything in as much fuzz as possible.
Use Your Shower Rod
My all-time favorite way to dry most things is to hang them on clothes hangers from the shower rod.
This is perfect because the clothes have lots of space, they’re out of the way and mostly out of sight. The kids, dogs, cats, and mysterious sticky monsters can’t reach that high, so everything stays clean. It’s easy to brush the wrinkles out of things as you hang them up (if you have time for details like that), and it takes about two minutes to pop the dry clothes into the closet before hopping in the shower in the morning.
So there you have it, that’s how to air dry your clothes indoors even when the weather is yucky. I’ll just recap the tips and tricks in a handy little bullet list because I like those and probably use them way too much.
- Give each item enough room for airflow
- Put wet items near a heat source or a dehumidifier
- Turn items periodically to make sure they dry evenly
- Keep clean items out of reach of cat, dogs, kids, or anything else sticky, goopy, dirty, or furry
- Hang clothes from hangers to minimize lines and wrinkles
- Give yourself a pat on the back for saving money and electricity