Your latest load is washed and clean, and now it’s time for it to dry. Drying your clothes outside can save money on your energy bills and also means you’re being a little kinder to the environment. But is it ever too cold for your clothes to go sit on the line?
There is no minimum temperature for drying clothes outside. Great, right? While it’s nice to have warmer weather to dry them in, you can hang them in freezing temperatures and they will still dry. It just takes a little longer for it to happen when it is cold out.
So, if you’re a winter dryer like us, why not stick around for our best tips and tricks for getting your clothes dry when it’s cold outside.
Drying Clothes Outside in Winter
You might be feeling sceptical about drying clothes outside in winter, but when have we ever steered you wrong? The UK weather means that it can be a little damp for effective drying, but it can still be done.
In an ideal world, we’d have every day be one that is warm and sunny when we want to dry clothes, but even the British summers can’t guarantee you that. The three key factors when drying clothes are:
So, what makes winter drying possible? Well, even winter days have sunshine, and while it might be cold this will still help get your clothes dry. You just need to be prepared for the fact that winter clothes drying is going to take quite a bit longer when compared to summer.
Watch out for humidity as well, the lower it is the better for your clothes. Humid weather means there is more moisture in the air, which then leads to your clothes taking longer to dry. One big downside to the UK, we often have a bit of a humidity issue.
If you have a bit of a blustery day, your clothes will thank you for it as the wind helps to move the clothes around and get them dry a little faster. This is because the breeze speeds up the water evaporation process – a fun sciencey fact for us all.
Clothes frozen on the line? No need to go build a castle of ice just yet, it’s completely normal and they will un-freeze as the evaporation continues. Just keep in mind that it can take a little time. Sit back and relax, your clothes will be dry in their own time.
Tips for Drying Clothes Outside When it’s Cold
Ready to learn from the master? As someone who lived without a dryer for many years, here are my top tips for getting your clothes dry as quickly as possible in cold weather when you only have the great outdoors as your option.
#1 Make sure you use the highest spin setting on your washing machine. You might hear some crazy banging (the neighbours will be wondering what you’re up to) but your clothes will come out feeling impossibly dry in comparison to a regular spin.
You also have the option to put your clothes through an additional spin cycle if you fancy. This also helps with water extraction, and the drier your clothes are before they go out the better.
#2 Lay down some towels and spread a piece of clothing from the wash on each of them. Then, roll the towel up really tight to squeeze out excess moisture that will then be absorbed by the towels. Old towels are best for this and you can leave them out to dry with the clothing.
#3 Keep the lines covered with a large umbrella or a gazebo of some kind. Whatever you have available, use it to protect the line from the rain. That way, if the heavens open you don’t have to run out in a blind panic and try to protect your laundry from further soaking.
#4 Using a drying rack outside can also be pretty handy. It’s easier than a line because if it rains you just have to pick the rack up and throw it in the house – pretty nifty, right? You can also use the rack for indoor drying in the worst-case scenario.
#5 Put your clothes out as early as possible so that they have the whole day to soak up any sunshine and get as much drying time in as possible. Since it takes longer in the wintertime, they really will need all the time they can get.
Is it illegal to dry clothes outside?
In the UK, it is not illegal to dry clothes outside. However, there are some states in the USA that have a clothesline ban. These states include Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and North Carolina among others.
How long does it take for clothes to dry outside?
It can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 24 hours for clothes to dry outside. This can depend on the type of clothing in question and how thick they are (underwear are the quickest) as well as the material that they are made of.
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Now you are fully equipped with the knowledge and power you need to get your clothes dry during those cold winter months. Minimum temperature? No such thing, you can throw them out there in -40 and they will dry… eventually.
If you found that this quick guide helped you with your laundry crisis, why not check out the rest of the series? Everything from clothing care, appliances, stain removal, and so much more is covered in a collection of help guides written by the experts just for you.
Last Updated on August 13, 2021 by Gemma Tyler
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.