How To Dry Clothes Indoors (without causing damp)

Categories Laundry
how to dry clothes indoors without causing damp

Now it's winter, many of us have to dry laundry indoors. Tumble dryers now cost the earth (literally) to run.

It was minus 4c outside when I got up this morning, with snow on the ground, but there is some sun!

I could probably put my washing out today due to the sun, and it will mostly dry despite the cold. But, I've opted to dry inside. I want to stay in the warm!

In winter, I like to do a small daily wash because it is easier to dry a smaller load at once. I can space things out more easily, and it all dries pretty quickly.

Of course, when you start drying laundry indoors, especially in winter, the house can start to get damp.

Dampness can lead to mold forming, which isn't good for your health, not to mention causing damage to your house too.

So, I have some tips to share today that will help you get your washing dry inside quickly and easily without making your house damp.

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Get your laundry as dry as possible first

Before you put your washing on the drying rack, I recommend you try to get it as dry as you can beforehand. That way there is less moisture evaporating from the clothes only to condense back onto walls and windows.

Let's take a look at the options:

Spin drying

Spin dryers aren't very common nowadays, but what is great about them is they can get your clothes to a near dry state, greatly reducing drying time. Plus, they are incredibly cheap to run.

I used to own one a few years ago until it broke. But for the time I had one, it was great. It was especially useful for drying diapers which took ages to dry normally.

The downside was that it could only take a small load, so you have to spin in batches. It was quite noisy too.

If you only have a small load, and you don't mind the faff of running it, I thoroughly recommend getting a spin dryer.

Double spin on your washing machine

If I know that drying is going to be an issue, because of bad weather, or it's too cold outside to get washing completely dry, I always do another spin on my washing machine, sometimes even two.

Doing this makes a huge difference.

For my particular machine, the laundry is actually less creased after a second spin, and softer too.

It is especially worth doing this with heavy towels that tend to retain more water.

Part-dry in the tumble dryer

If you have a tumble dryer, why not use it to partially dry your washing? A half-hour tumble reduces the air-drying time considerably, so there will be less moisture going into the air.

Wring out hand-washed clothes

If you hand wash an item, and you don't have a washing machine to spin it in, you can get a lot more water out of it using a large towel.

Here's how:

  1. Wring out as much excess water as you can.
  2. Lay out a large dry towel.
  3. Lay the wet item on top.
  4. Roll up the towel.
  5. Twist.

You should find that most of the water comes out of the wet item and on to the towel. Of course, you have a damp towel to dry too, but you should find drying both is quicker than drying one sopping wet item.

I did this with my son's school trousers when my washing machine broke, and they were dry enough for him to wear the next day.

Circulate air

open window

When drying clothes indoors, having good air circulation and a way of removing moisture from the air is vital for reducing the likelihood of your house developing damp problems.

Here's what you can do:

Open windows and doors

If you can, open a window and keep the door of your drying room open.

Use a dehumidifier

If it's cold outside, opening windows might not be possible.

In that case, I recommend running a dehumidifier. This will remove the moisture from the air and stop damp problems.

All you need to do is let it run and empty the water from time to time.

Run a fan

Even if you have a window open, it can help a lot to have air flowing around your laundry, and you will find that items dry much quicker.

It isn't necessary to have warm air. A cold air fan will do the job perfectly.

Pick a suitable drying rack

laundry on a drying rack

Don't be tempted to dry your laundry directly on a radiator (see why later on).

There are lots of different sorts of drying racks available. What to use, depends on how much laundry you have and the space available.

Here are some options:

Freestanding drying rack

Freestanding drying racks come in lots of different sizes. The best ones include hooks for hangers and spots to dry your smalls.

Heated drying racks

Use a heated drying rack to accelerate drying times.

This one is energy efficient, using only 230W, so it won't send your electricity bill sky-high.

Portable dryers

Another option is a portable dryer. It uses more energy than the heated drying rack above but can cope with more laundry at once, and can dry everything in a couple of hours.

Avoid using the radiator

Drying laundry directly on a radiator should be avoided.

Here's why:

  1. There will be less heat going into your room, causing your heating bill to go up.
  2. The high heat from a radiator can cause damage to delicate clothing and can cause towels to go stiff.

You can make the best use of heat from a radiator by placing your drying rack near it. The heat can then freely dissipate into the room and dry your laundry at the same time.

Dry outside if you can

washing outside on a rotary clothes line

If you have the option to dry your clothes outside, I recommend doing so. Even if you can only get the laundry partially dry, you can finish off inside.

This type of drying rack is perfect for moving inside and out.

How to dry clothes indoors quickly

Now you know how to avoid your house getting damp, what can you do to reduce the drying time?

The quicker your clothes dry, the less time you have moisture hanging around in your home.

Here are my top tips for getting your washing dry inside super-quick:

  1. Use a dehumidifier. Remove moisture from the air with a dehumidifier.
  2. Run a fan. Having a fan directed at your wet washing will do a lot to speed up drying time. It doesn't have to be set on warm, cold air is perfectly fine.
  3. Space out the laundry. Spacing out your laundry, allows air to circulate and drying time will be reduced. Consider using a second drying rack.
  4. Keep moving items around. Move items around to even out drying.

Another tip that is going around the internet at the moment involves using a sheet to make a type of drying tent.

I've not tried this myself, but apparently it works really well to speed up drying times.

  • Lay your items out on a drying rack next to a radiator.
  • Then put a sheet over the drying rack and the radiator.

You could also put a cold air fan underneath the sheet to help air circulate.

Is drying clothes in the bedroom bad?

Drying clothes in your bedroom isn't bad as long as you ensure that you allow air to circulate.

However, I do recommend that you choose a different room if you can. At least, avoid drying clothes overnight while sleeping.

If you are thinking of using your spare room as a drying area, then it is perfectly fine.

Here are some points to consider when drying your laundry in your bedroom:

  1. Mold. This can cause health issues, and encourage dust mites, plus you will have a redecoration job on your hands.
  2. Cost. To dry your clothes safely in the bedroom, you should run a dehumidifier, and you may need a heated airer too.
  3. Space. You need plenty of space. The air needs to circulate around the clothes, or they won't dry in good time.
  4. Smells. Damp and mold cause a musty smelling room and musty smelling laundry.

With that said, if you have no choice but to dry your laundry in your bedroom, here's how you can do it safely:

How to dry clothes in your bedroom safely

  1. Open windows and doors whilst the clothes dry. This will help them dry quicker.
  2. Run a dehumidifer. This will take the moisture out of the hair and avoid damp and mold issues.
  3. Use a heated airer. This will speed up the drying time.
  4. Space out the laundry. Allowing lots of space around each wet garment will help the washing dry quicker. Keep moving the washing around and remove things that have already dried.

Additionally, run a fan to keep air moving around the washing and to make it dry quicker.

Avoid placing wet clothes directly on a radiator, as this can stop heat going into the room, causing your heating bill to go up.

Frequently asked questions

Does drying your clothes indoors cause damp?

Drying your clothes indoors can cause damp if you don't take steps to prevent it.

Things you can do include opening windows and doors to allow air to circulate.

Another thing you can do is to run a dehumidifier and a fan.


Penny | SparklingPenny

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