How To Dry Clothes Fast Without A Tumble Dryer

Categories Laundry
how to dry clothes fast without dryer

If you don’t have a tumble dryer or you just don’t want to use one, there are more options than you would think for getting your clothing dry fast.

Tumble dryers are a super convenient way to dry laundry quickly of course, but there are a lot of downsides too.

Let’s start with electricity usage. Tumble dryers are one of the top consumers of electricity of all our domestic appliances. When you are trying to reduce your electricity bill, you will want to avoid using them.

The second downside is the wear tumble dryers cause on clothes. Gradually fabrics become thin and wear out quicker, which is bad news if we are trying to cut down on household waste.

I try to avoid using our tumble dryer as much as possible. I love to put my laundry outside on a rotary airer whenever possible. Watching it swish about in the wind is somehow satisfying! But sadly that’s not an option all year round.

So how can you get your clothes to dry fast without a tumble dryer even when it’s raining outside?

Here’s the quick answer:

If you have one item to get dry fast, roll it up inside a big fluffy towel to make a big sausage and then twist it around so that the moisture seeps out of the clothing and into the towel. Finish off the drying time with an iron, or use your hairdryer to get it dry enough to wear.

That option works great for one or two items. But if you have lots to dry fast I have you covered too with these seven tips for getting your clothes dry even when you don’t have (or want) to use your tumble dryer.

Do you have towels to dry? This post has a ton of tips on how to dry towels without a dryer and keep them soft.

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7 tips for drying your clothes fast without a dryer

Over the years I have tried loads of different tricks to get laundry dry. Here I share my seven techniques for getting clothes to dry fast:

1. Make sure you spin thoroughly

The dryer you can get your clothes to begin with, the shorter the overall drying time will be.

Here are some tips for getting your laundry spun to perfection:

  • Run an extra spin cycle. Add an extra spin cycle to your washing program or run one separately at the end of the wash.
  • Don’t overfill your washing machine. When you put too much in the drum the clothing doesn’t spin optimally. My rule of thumb is to make sure that my hand fits vertically on top of the washing.
  • Get a spin dryer. Spin dryers spin at a much higher rate than your washing machine and can get your clothes very close to 100% dry. I owned a spin dryer for several years which I found incredibly useful when I had a ton of washing due to having two young children in washable nappies! You will be amazed at how much more water a spin dryer can take out of your clothes.

2. Always shake out creases

Shake out as many creases as you can before you hang clothes out to dry. Crumpled clothing will take longer to dry.

3. Dry outside

When the weather is right, you can dry your clothes outside in just a couple of hours. For the greatest drying speed choose a sunny and/or windy day.

Here are some tips:

  • Choose a good day. For the quickest drying times choose a dry sunny or windy day. High humidity will slow down the drying time. If the weather isn’t perfect make sure you allow as much air to circulate between items by spacing everything out on the line.
  • Choose a great clothesline. I found that the best kind of line is a rotary because it can spin around in the wind and it’s very quick to load up.
  • Space your clothing out. I have a rotary clothesline just like the one above. It can dry 2-3 machine loads at once. But, when I need to get clothes dry really fast without resorting to using the tumble dryer, I fill it with one load and use the whole line, spacing it all out so that air can easily circulate. I also use this method on less than perfect drying days because it gets the washing dry to the point I can finish it off in the airing cupboard.

4. Use more than one drying rack or clothes horse

If you need to dry your clothes fast without a dryer and you can’t dry outside, or the weather isn’t right, then you will need to dry inside instead.

Here are some tips to get the best drying times:

  • Space out your clothing on the rack and use more than one drying rack if you have several items to dry fast.
  • Put your rack near a heat source. Point a fan at it, or use a dehumidifier.
  • Rotate the items regularly. Plus, remove anything that has fully dried to allow the other items more space.

Are you in need of a drying rack? Here’s my top pick. It has a ton of drying space plus hanging space too and it folds away neatly.

5. Hang around the house

If I need to dry something quickly and I don’t want to put it in the tumble dryer, I like to hang items up in drafty spots around the house and they usually dry in no time. The best place is on top of door frames.

Tip: Hang trousers upside down so that the thickest material on the waist has a better chance to dry.

6. Choose a heated drying rack

Heated airers can speed up drying times considerably. You will still need to rotate your items.

This handy heated electric airer can reduce normal drying time whilst keeping energy consumption low.

7. Use your airing cupboard

If you have an airing cupboard in your house, don’t use it for storage. Use it to dry your laundry!

I love to use my airing cupboard to dry damp clothes. When the weather isn’t so good and I can’t get my laundry completely dry outside on the line, the airing cupboard is a great place to finish everything off.

I also use my airing cupboard to dry delicate items such as woollen sweaters which need to dry flat.

Related reading:

10 Tricks for getting clothes dry fast indoors without a dryer

clothes drying on a drying rack

If you only have one or two items of clothing to dry that you really need to wear soon, here are some tips to get them dry quickly.

1. Roll up in a towel (sausage method)

This is a fantastic trick to use to get your clothing to dry very fast without a tumble dryer. This method is also brilliant if you have hand-washed an item and it’s sopping wet.

  1. Lay out a large towel.
  2. Lay your wet piece of clothing on top of the towel.
  3. Roll up the towel with the wet clothing inside into a big sausage. Twist the towel to soak up the moisture into the towel or press down hard. If your clothing is delicate don’t twist hard. For extra absorption add tissue paper.

2. Dry with an iron

Kill two birds with one stone and dry damp items with your iron and get them crease-free at the same time!

This method won’t work if your item is sopping wet. Get it to a damp stage in your tumble dryer or use the sausage technique as above.

  • Lay your damp item of clothing on your iron board or a towel on a flat surface.
  • Lay a dry towel over the clothing.
  • Iron over the towel until the clothing is dry enough to wear.

3. Use a hairdryer

Once you get your item to a damp stage, use a hairdryer to dry your clothing off completely.

4. Use your oven to dry your clothing

Did you know you could use your oven to dry clothing? I have to admit I have never done this. I would think this would only work satisfactorily if your oven is pretty clean, otherwise your clothing will smell of the last thing you baked!

  • Heat your oven to 100f or 40c.
  • Turn on the fan.
  • Add your clothing and bake until it is dry.

5. Use a salad spinner to dry your clothing

For small items like underwear and socks, a salad spinner will help to get your item to the damp stage.

  • Add your wet item to a salad spinner.
  • Turn the handle until your item is dry enough to finish off with an iron.

6. Don’t dry items directly on a radiator

Always dry clothes on an airer next to a heat source rather than directly on it. Clothing and linen can get damaged when placed on direct high heat. Plus, you will block the heat going into the room which is bad news if you are trying to reduce your heating bill.

7. Turn your humidifier off

Laundry dries best in a dry environment. Turn off your humidifier and open doors to allow air to circulate.

8. Put your drying tack near the AC

If you have air conditioning in your house put your clothes horse near an air conditioning outlet.

9. Turn on a fan

Point a fan near your airer to speed up drying times. You don’t need warm heat. Cold air is fine because it is the added air circulation that reduces the drying time.

10. Use a dehumidifier

Put a dehumidifier in the room to soak up moisture before it has a chance to condense back onto your clothing.


Penny | SparklingPenny

Hi, I'm Penny. A busy mum of two boys and one dog, with the aim to enjoy life to the full.