How to Dry Clothes Indoors – Top Tips (with a Few Health Warnings)

There are plenty of factors that mean you may need to consider drying your clothes inside – whether it is because of the seasons and conditions outside, or because you simply don’t have the room.

In recent years, drying laundry within the home has become quite popular, and there are a number of ways to do it as a result of this.

You can use anything from your standard radiators to the best heated airer that can be set up and folded away at will to ensure that your home keeps the space it has, but also so that the airer can be packed away into a cupboard or small space.

Drying clothes in your home doesn’t have to be a difficult task, and it certainly doesn’t need to result in a damp environment.

How to Dry Clothes Indoors – Top Tips (with a Few Health Warnings)

In this guide, we talk about some of the best ways to dry your clothes inside, as well as giving you a few tips and tricks to make things a little easier. We also go through some of the health warnings that come with the process, but also the ways in which you can avoid any adverse effects. So, for your comprehensive and all-knowing information sheet, this is the place to be. 

The Health Risks of Drying Your Clothes Inside

Part 1
Mess: The Impact on General Health and Wellbeing

How to Dry Clothes Inside Without the Smell of Damp

Part 2
How to Dry Clothes Inside Without the Smell of Damp

How to Dry Clothes Inside Without Causing Damp

Part 3
How to Dry Clothes Inside Without Causing Damp

How to Get Your Clothes Dry Fast Without the Tumble Dryer

Part 4
How to Get Your Clothes Dry Fast Without the Tumble Dryer

Investing in a Clothes Rack or Heated Airer

Part 5
Investing in a Clothes Rack or Heated Airer

The Benefits of Drying Your Clothes Indoors

Part 6
The Benefits of Drying Your Clothes Indoors

How to Air Dry Your Clothes Inside

Part 7
How to Air Dry Your Clothes Inside

The Health Risks of Drying Your Clothes Inside


The Health Risks of Drying Your Clothes Inside

There are a number of health risks that can be caused by drying your clothes inside, especially if you don’t take the necessary precautions. In this section, we talk about some of the hazards that come with drying your clothes inside, while in later sections, we look more into how you can dry them in a way that avoids them.

Drying clothes inside your home can create a moist environment without proper ventilation, which then encourages the growth of mould spores in the home. For those with asthma that is sensitive to these spores (which are invisible to the naked eye), symptoms of their condition can become worsened, and it is able to trigger attacks.

Of course, this won’t happen after the first time you decide to dry clothes inside, but if you continue to do so without ventilating your home (like cracking open a window), it will encourage mould growth. You can get rid of any mould that has appeared in your home by washing the affected surfaces with a mixture of warm water, vinegar, and soap.

Due to our climate in the UK, we construct homes that are as sealed as possible, and while this is great for many reasons, it does also lead to an increase in dust mites because of the lack of ventilation. They thrive in damp conditions, and their main diet is our dead skin flakes (gross, I know).

They are so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye, but for those with asthma and allergies, they can cause big problems. Dust mite allergies are not uncommon, and you will find yourself with a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and hives. For those with asthma, the symptoms are the same, but they can also trigger a full-on asthma attack and chest pain.

How to Dry Clothes Inside Without the Smell of Damp


How to Dry Clothes Inside Without the Smell of Damp

There is nothing worse than your clothes finally drying inside only for them to end up smelling like must and damp. However, are ways for you to dry your clothes indoors without that awful odour at the end of it. In this section, we take you through some of our best tips for getting the job done.

However, first we should look at why your clothes might end up smelling damp or musty:

  • Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine/dryer without the door open so they cannot breathe.
  • Drying clothes in a damp location where they will never get dry
  • Storing clothes in tight cupboards or drawers while they are still slightly damp.
  • Washing them in a machine that has not been cleaned and smells. You can run a hot water wash while the machine is empty to get rid of this odour.

Now that we have gone through the reasons why your clothes might end up smelling this way, we can look further into the ways in which you can prevent it from happening in the first place. One thing you can do is add a cup of white vinegar to the load before it is washed, as this acts as both a disinfectant and is able to remove nasty odours from your clothes.

If you have noticed mould starting to form on any items of clothing, you need to act fast before it is too late. Throw the garment in the washing machine and set it to a high heat. This will kill the spores before they are able to spread further, and hopefully save the item of clothing in question. You can use a regular chemical mix, but the natural ones tend to be better for your health and the longevity of the clothes.

Something that a lot of people don’t think about is the amount of washing powder they are using. If you place the capsules in the washing machine, you don’t have to worry so much as they are measured so that one capsule is ideal for a load. However, if you are using powder and just pouring it into the machine, this could be causing half of your problems.

Too much powder results in the clothes being unable to really get clean, and it can cause an awful damp and musty smell at the end. So, always measure out the powder before you put it in the machine and get things started. That’s just from my personal experience with washing and drying clothes.

How to Dry Clothes Inside Without Causing Damp


How to Dry Clothes Inside Without Causing Damp

Sometimes leaving clothes to dry in the home can cause things like damp and mould, the effects of which we looked at in detail earlier on in the article. 75% of households have too much moisture, so drying your clothes correctly is vital. You can dry them effectively without causing damp though; you just need to make sure you use the right methods and techniques to ensure it is done correctly.

The key thing to remember is that ventilation is everything. If you do not properly ventilate your home while you are drying laundry, then you are going to end up with damp, mould, and mildew. Open a few windows while the clothes dry to allow the moisture to escape and for proper airflow. You can also invest in an extractor fan for areas like the bathroom to really keep it at bay.

A heated airer is also an excellent decision, because the warmth it produces fends off damp and mould expertly. These are plugged into the mains, and you can use the bars to hang your laundry up to dry. Despite needing electricity, the running costs are actually incredibly low and cheaper than a tumble dryer. While there are loads of different ones out there, many can be folded up flat for storage. They are gentle on clothes and can hold a minimum of 10kg of laundry.

Pick up a dehumidifier for your home as well, especially for the winter months when you really need to dry clothes inside. While it is running, it will extract excess moisture from the air to prevent damp from forming and mould from growing. It can even help to speed up the drying time for your clothes, and there are automatic models available that will stop when full or when all of the excess moisture has been removed.

In the winter, you should wash your clothes in smaller loads. While this will take longer overall, it also reduces the amount of damp and moisture in the home, especially during a time of year where there isn’t much heat. It will also give you more space to really spread your clothes out, which means they will dry faster, and you can get another load on. It can be a bit of a pain, but it is great for preventing damp in the long-run.

How to Get Your Clothes Dry Fast Without the Tumble Dryer


How to Get Your Clothes Dry Fast Without the Tumble Dryer

Getting your clothes dry quickly doesn’t have to mean that you end up using the tumble dryer, and you are able to get them nice and dry inside by hanging them up. Here’s some advice for drying clothes inside quickly without all the fuss and hassle.

When you have the washing machine on, use a high spin setting. This means that the machine will remove as much water as possible from your clothes, helping them to dry faster. It does mean there is a slight increase in the amount of energy used, but it is nothing compared to a tumble dryer.

Whether you are placing your clothes on a classic indoor line, or you have a clothes horse, there is one key thing to remember: give them space. Don’t pile your clothes together because they just won’t dry, and instead space them out for faster and more effective results. You should even let larger items take up two bars instead of one for improved air circulation.

The location of your drying area is also important. Your rack or indoor line should be placed near a good source of warmth, like a boiler or radiator. You can also put it in a location where there is freely moving air, such as near to an open window or by a fan, as the circulation will help them to dry. In a real emergency, you can use a hair dryer on a low setting due to the fast and powerful airflow.

While your clothes are drying, take the time to check them regularly and flip them over – allowing both sides to get nice and dry. You should also pay close attention to waistbands, cuffs, collars, and underarms, as this is where damp tends to collect, so make sure these areas are dry before you take them off the line. 

There are two little towel tricks you can use as well if your clothes have come out of the machine rather wet:

  • Put the towel down and place one item of clothing on top. Roll it all up and twist the towel from one end to the other, squeezing the excess moisture out of the clothes and into the towel.
  • Place the item of clothing on a good ironing board and then a towel on top of it. Using a high heat, press the garment through the towel while ensuring you flip it over for an even pressing. This gives it some warmth without any damage.

It should be noted that even with these great little tricks, it won’t take an hour for all of your clothes to dry. Naturally, it takes a few more hours, but these nuggets of information will help to ensure that it doesn’t end up taking eight hours or more to get your clothes nice and dry – especially with a heated airer.

Investing in a Clothes Rack or Heated Airer


Investing in a Clothes Rack or Heated Airer

When you do go to dry your clothes inside, you can’t just rely on radiators and such to get the job done; you need to go one step further. You see, radiators can take a lot of time, and there are many where it is essential that they are not covered by wet clothes or garments. So, investing in a clothes rack or heated airier is the best way forward, and in this section, we take you through some of the key points to consider.

First, what’s the difference between the two? A standard clothes rack is usually made of metal or plastic, and it can be unfolded to create a standing platform for your clothes to dry on naturally. They can be placed inside or outside, and pack up into a nice and compact package that can be stored away in a cupboard or small area.

A heated airer has the same design as a standard clothes rack much of the time, but it is made of metal and plugs into the mains so that it can be heated up for faster and more effective clothes drying. These also tend to become compact items that can be stored in tight locations, but you can also purchase wall mounted clothesline and three-tier ones that have a series of shelves and bars for your clothes.

It does cost money to run the heated airer, whereas the standard clothes rack is free to operate, but the cost is incredibly minimal and much less than a tumble dryer. Additionally, they help to get your clothes dry a lot faster so that you don’t need to worry about them not being ready in time or smelling damp in any way.

The regular clothes rack can be used for drying clothes outside, however, and this is somewhere the heated airer is not able to go. This means that you can use the standard one in the summer to dry your clothes in the sun, and in the winter to keep things indoors. In that respect, it is a more versatile model to invest in, and the overall price does tend to be cheaper than a heated airer.

We have written several extensive and carefully researched guides to the best clothes racks and heated airers, so if you are interested in either, you will be able to find more information on our website – helping you to better understand which one is going to be the best fit for your life and home.

The Benefits of Drying Your Clothes Indoors


The Benefits of Drying Your Clothes Indoors

So, there are quite a few benefits to drying your clothes indoors, as well as using a clothes rack. Below, we take you through some of the best and most important advantages of the process:

  • It’s cheaper in the long-run, and racks are less expensive than tumble dryers.
  • Racks are compact and can be stored away, unlike a tumble dryer.
  • Racks and indoor lines are really simple and easy to use.
  • It is more environmentally friendly.
  • It prevents static cling.
  • They are gentler on clothes and prolong their life.
  • Your clothes will smell fresher and feel softer on your skin

Drying clothes indoors and using racks as well as lines is the perfect way to have a gentler impact on the planet, as well as ensure that your clothes last longer than they would if they were regularly dried in the tumble dryer (which can be very harsh on fabrics).

How to Air Dry Your Clothes Inside


How to Air Dry Your Clothes Inside

As a little side note, we also have some advice about how to hang certain items of clothing from an indoor rotary washing line, if you are using one of those instead of a rack or clothes horse. Your smart trousers should be hung from the cuff at the bottom of the leg (so, upside down) so that they can dry without becoming creased.

Shirts should never be pegged from the shoulders as this will cause bunching and some really difficult lines that you will find hard to get out. Instead, hang them from the cuffs of the arms or upside down from the hem for better results.

The best way to dry socks is to peg them from the toes and allow them to hang upside down for the most effective form of drying. Bedsheets and towels should be hung from the shortest side, and for the sheets, you should fold them in half before hanging. This is because they may end up dragging on the ground otherwise.

Fleece clothing should be hung from a rod to dry so that it has enough air to retain its shape and strength. Jumpers and stretchy garments should be placed flat on top of the rack because this allows them to retain their shape. Just remember to flip it over at least once so that it can dry evenly as well. Similarly, bras should be popped back to their original shape before being hung up for the same reason.

If you are using a great retractable washing line inside, never fold the clothing over it, and instead pin it directly to the line with the pegs. By folding it, you will end up creating creases and lines that are difficult to get out, and they can end up drying stiff and out of shape. It also allows for better airflow, so the clothes will be completely dry by the end, instead of you discovering that you have a wet waistband on your jeans, or shirt sleeves that have not finished drying.

The fact that you can ensure they are fully dry means that you are also reducing the risk of damp and mould when you go to put them away in a  cupboard or drawer, as well as making sure that you are wearing clothes that won’t give you an unpleasant damp shock when you put them on.

To Conclude

Hopefully, this has given you a whole load of new information about drying your clothes indoors, how to do it correctly, and the health risks that can come with it if you don’t take professional advice and do things the right way.

We think that everyone should be able to dry their clothes in their home freely, especially since drying outside isn’t always possible – especially for those who have no gardens or outdoor space. In a world where being more conscious of the environment is so important, it really is essential to know more about different drying techniques. No matter which one of the suggested methods you use, it will be kinder on the planet than using a tumble dryer – even if it ends up taking a little longer.

What did you think of our guide to drying your clothes indoors? Did you find our techniques and advice useful, or are there additional notes that you would have added? We love hearing from you and appreciate your input, so make sure to leave a message in the comments below.

Will Tottle

Article written by Will Tottle. Follow his work here.

Last Updated on April 13, 2021 by Gemma Tyler Protection Status