How To Dry Towels Without a Dryer

how to dry towels without a dryer

Do you have towels to get dry but don’t have a tumble dryer? Then you will want to dry them naturally as quickly as you can either inside or out.

I have to admit, I own a tumble dryer. But, I hate using it! I loathe the fluff it makes and the wear and tear it has on my laundry, not to mention the cost of running it of course. I prefer to use my washing line when I can because I just love the smell of clothes that have been dried outside, plus, I simply enjoy the very act of hanging them out.

But, when it’s raining outside we have no choice but to dry laundry inside. The problem is, towels that dry too slowly can become musty and mildewy, who wants that?

In this post today I have a ton of tips to help you get your towels dry quickly and naturally whilst keeping them as soft and fluffy as possible.

To dry towels without a dryer quickly avoid using too much detergent and use a vinegar rinse to keep them naturally soft. Dry them outside on a breezy day or inside on an airer. Avoid placing your towels directly on a radiator. Allow air to circulate by spacing your towels out on an airer and rotate them regularly. Put your airer next to a heat source or use a heated airer for quicker drying times.

Don’t have a washing machine or you want to wash a towel quickly? Check out my tips for handwashing your towels swiftly and simply. For drying clothing quickly without a tumble dryer check out this post.

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Tips for drying towels quickly without a dryer

drying towels without a dryer

1. Use a high spin setting

Always use the highest spin setting that you can on your washing machine. I tend to use a lower spin speed for clothing because they come out less creased, but for towels, you will want to select the highest one for the shortest drying time possible.

2. Roll up inside a dry towel

After spinning towels in your washing machine you can give your towel an even better head start with this clever trick:

  1. Lay your wet towel on top of another dry towel (the fluffier the better).
  2. Roll the two towels together into a long sausage shape.
  3. Twist the towel from one end to the other so that the water in the wet towel is absorbed by the dry towel.

Microfiber towels work best for drying wet towels because they are more absorbent than cotton towels and dry quicker afterwards.

3. Iron your wet towel

  1. Lay your wet towel out and place a dry tea towel over the top.
  2. Take an iron on a hot setting and iron over the top.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

Take care not to iron your wet towel directly because you don’t want to damage the fibers with the high heat.

4. Space out your towels

If you have several towels to dry at once keep them spaced out to allow them to dry quicker. Avoid putting too many towels at once on the same airer and hang them over two bars instead of one to allow the air to circulate.

5. Rotate your towels as they dry

Move your towels around to allow all your towels to dry evenly.

6. Use a heated airer

When you need your laundry to dry quicker switch on the heat on this electric clothes airer to give your drying time a boost.

Alternatively, put your airer next to a radiator or box fan. Don’t forget to turn the airer around from time to time for even drying.

7. Line dry

If you can, always line dry your towels. As long as you have a bit of breeze or some warmth I find that it is quicker to dry towels outside than inside. For the quickest drying time avoid folding your towels in half over the line. Peg them from the long edge and wrap them around the line if you have a rotary line.

8. Switch to microfiber towels

Microfiber towels are much more absorbent than cotton towels, plus they dry quicker. If you are having trouble getting your towels dry consider switching to microfiber towels or switch over to them during the winter months.

9. Use your airing cupboard

If you have an airing cupboard, don’t use it as storage, use it for drying your clothes! I love my airing cupboard, it is great for drying off slightly damp clothing and linen. Make sure you allow air to circulate around the items by spacing them out.

Related reading:

How to dry towels without a dryer in winter

In the winter months, your best bet is to dry your towels inside. However, don’t discount your washing line. If there is enough breeze you can get away with drying your towels outside on a line. Space them out and avoid wrapping them over the line. Peg them from a single edge for minimum drying time.

If it’s raining outside you have no choice but to dry inside. Here are my best tips for drying your towels without a dryer in winter.

  1. Get your towels as dry as possible to start with by using the highest spin setting on your washing machine.
  2. If you have time you could use the sausage technique I shared above by rolling your wet towel inside a dry towel and then wringing it out.
  3. Once you have your towels as dry as possible, lay them out on an airer, spacing them out to allow the air to circulate. Put the airer near a radiator or invest in a heated airer to allow them to dry more quickly.
  4. Finally, if you have one, finish off the drying time in your airing cupboard.

How to soften towels without a tumble dryer

clean towels in a laundry basket

I admit it is tricky to get your towels soft and fluffy without using a tumble dryer! I have found that I can get my towels soft by drying them outside on a windy day, but that of course isn’t always possible.

Here is a list of tips and tricks I have found to help:

1. Use a vinegar rinse

Add half to one cup of white distilled vinegar to the fabric conditioner compartment. Vinegar can naturally soften fibers, plus vinegar is antibacterial.

2. Avoid drying towels directly on the radiator

It isn’t a good idea to dry your towels directly on a radiator because the fibers tend to become much stiffer when heat is directly applied. Covering radiators is going to stop the heat going into the room which will increase your heating bill, so always avoid that if you can.

3. Use an Ecoegg to wash your towels


If you follow this blog you will know that I love to use Ecoegg as an alternative to regular laundry powder or liquid. The Ecoegg is a simple, chemical-free and cost-effective way to do your laundry. All you do is fill the egg with washing pellets and add it to your wash. Besides simplicity and cost, one of the biggest benefits for me is that Ecoeggs naturally soften fibers which makes them perfect for washing towels and keeping them fluffy.

4. Don’t use too much laundry detergent

If in doubt use half the advised amount of laundry detergent. Old detergent build-up can make towels stiff and crusty. If you think your towels have detergent build-up try washing them without detergent. I am willing to bet you see suds in the drum from the old detergent!

Washing with an Ecoegg can make your towels naturally soft because there are no suds to wash out.

Don’t overfill your washing machine. Machines wash and rinse best when no more than 70% full.

5. Avoid fabric conditioner

It might be tempting to use fabric conditioner on your towels to make them soft, but doing so will make them less absorbent.

6. Give them a shake

When you take your towels out of the washing machine give them a good shake to help separate the fibers.

7. Line dry them in the breeze

The breeze is a natural tumble dryer. Choose a windy day to dry your towels and they will be much softer when they are dry.

8. Wash at lower temps

Your towels will stay softer for longer if you can wash them at a lower temperature. If you are worried about killing bacteria consider using a laundry sanitiser.

If you are going to tumble dry your towels choose a medium setting heat rather than a high heat.

9. Avoid bleach

Don’t use bleach when washing your towels because bleach can damage the fibers. Bleach alternatives such as oxygen-based stain removers are best if you have stained towels.

How to keep towels soft when line drying

I love to dry my laundry outside if I can. Here are the things I do to keep them soft when drying naturally.

  • Choose a breezy day to wash your towels.
  • Avoid using too much detergent or use an Ecoegg.
  • Add white distilled vinegar to the final rinse.
  • Shake them out before you hang them to separate the fibers.
  • Hang them from a single edge to dry them quickly outside.
  • Finish off the drying time in an airing cupboard.

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Penny | SparklingPenny

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