Many people rely on tumble dryers when doing their laundry, especially during the winter. But if your dryer breaks, this can pose a problem! Now how are you supposed to dry your clothes?
There are many alternatives to tumble dryers available out there, some of which are better than others.
One option that some people suggest is drying your laundry in the oven. But can you really dry clothes in the oven? And if so, how can you do so safely? And is there a better option out there?
Read on for all the answers you need.
Can I Use an Oven to Dry Clothes?
The short answer to this question is yes, you can use an oven to dry your clothes. However, you are limited to what you can dry using this method.
While small items, such as underwear, socks, or tops, can be dried in the oven, larger garments will not dry properly as they cannot lay flat during the drying process.
To use your oven to dry your clothes, follow the below steps:
- Preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature for up to 10 minutes. This will typically be around 170 degrees Celsius, but this will differ slightly depending on the model of your oven.
- Turn your oven off.
- Lay your clothes on a baking tray and place them in the oven, making sure none of the garments touch the oven itself.
- Close the oven door and wait for the residual heat to dry your clothes.
Although using an oven costs just half as much as a tumble dryer to run per hour, it isn’t the most effective way of drying your clothes.
Oven drying is a much slower method than tumble drying, sometimes taking up to an hour to dry just a few pairs of underwear.
We also recommend you only resort to this method of drying your laundry if you have no other options available. This is because, over time, the humidity that builds up in the oven while drying your clothes can reduce the performance and lifespan of the appliance.
Oven drying can also damage your clothes if done incorrectly, so take great care when using this method.
Top Tips for Using an Oven to Dry Clothes
As we’ve said, placing your clothes in the oven is not the most effective way of drying them. However, it can occasionally be used for small items when done correctly.
Use the following tips to make the process as safe as possible:
- Remove excess water from your clothing first: Before placing your clothes in the oven, make sure to remove as much excess water from them as possible. You can do this by merely wringing the clothes out or by twisting them up in a towel. This will help to reduce the build-up of water vapour that can damage your oven.
- Always turn off the oven before putting clothes in it: When you want to dry your clothes quickly, it can be tempting to leave the oven on to try and speed up the drying process. However, you need to always turn the oven off before using it to dry your clothes else you run the risk of baking and damaging them.
- Only dry a few items at a time: Wherever possible, try to limit the amount of clothing you are drying at a time. The more items of clothing you place in the oven, the more water vapour there will be. This vapour will build up in your oven, meaning your clothes will take longer to dry.
- Don’t leave the clothing unattended: When drying clothes in the oven, it is always best to stay nearby and periodically check on the clothes. This means you can remove the baking tray from the oven if you notice any smells or issues. While checking the clothes, try not to open the oven door, as this will let out the heat, preventing your clothes from drying.
Can You Dry Clothes in the Microwave?
Considering you can dry clothes in the oven, many people make the leap that you can also use a microwave in the same way. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and we highly recommend you never use your microwave this way.
If you use a microwave to dry your clothes, you risk causing an electrical fire, especially when drying larger items (such as jeans) or pieces of clothing that have metal buttons or zippers, due to the thin pieces of metal causing sparks.
On top of this, you will need to fold most items of clothing to fit them in the microwave, meaning they will not be dried evenly.
This will likely result in some patches becoming too dry, which could cause burns on your clothes or (in the worst-case scenario) set them on fire.
What’s the Fastest Way to Dry Clothes Without a Dryer?
Tumble dryers are the best option when it comes to drying large loads of laundry. However, there are some alternatives (aside from using your oven) that can be fairly efficient.
Some of the fastest options for drying your clothes include:
- Heated clothes airers: You can use a heated clothes airer to hang up your clothes to dry or to lay them out, speeding up the drying process. As you’re drying the clothes inside, make sure the room they are in is well-ventilated to prevent moisture build-up.
- Hairdryer: When you only need to dry one or two items of clothing, a hairdryer is one of your quickest options, but it can be costly if you regularly use this method. To safely dry your clothes, wring out the excess moisture and then move the hairdryer over the fabric on the highest heat, making sure not to stay in one place for too long.
- Use an iron: This is another method that is best for use on just one or two items. Simply remove any excess moisture from the garment, lay it on your ironing board with a towel over the top, and iron on high heat. Always make sure to cover the clothing with a dry towel, or else there is a high chance you’ll damage the fabric.
- Line drying: This final alternative can only be used in the summer months, but line drying your clothes outside will always be one of the best and easiest ways of drying a load of laundry. On a hot, sunny day, a large load can dry as quickly as 2 hours.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.