Clothes on a radiator

Tips for Drying Clothes Indoors (Without a Tumble Dryer!)

Winter weather does nothing for laundry. You think you’ve got it covered, a clear, sunny day at last! You do your load of washing, you head outside and peg it out, feeling a sense of achievement that you’ve finally managed to get some of that growing washing pile ticked off your to do list.

It’s all going so well. Then the heavens open. Washing disaster.

There is nothing to beat that scent of washing that has been dried outside, it is even a scent that people have tried to recreate and bottle! Of course, you have the option of putting on the tumble dryer, but what if you don’t have one? What if it’s broken? Or, more likely, what if you’re trying to cut down on your electricity bills and you just don’t want to use the tumble dryer?

You have a few challenges in front of you, but there are many ways to dry your washing indoors when the weather is a little on the wet side outside, without having to resort to the tumble dryer.

First things first, you obviously need the space to dry your washing inside, and you need something to dry it on. If you have radiators, fantastic, but you can certainly make use of washing racks in spare rooms, or lines in the bathroom. These are all ideal ways to dry your washing indoors, without causing an obstruction.

Aside from where to actually dry it, you need to know a few other things too.

1. Give Heavy Items an Extra Spin

Heavy clothing, things like jeans or bedding, are going to need an extra squeeze, to make sure excess water isn’t kept inside. This is just going to prolong the drying process, and leave a rather wet patch on your floor as they drip away for seemingly hours.

A good way to get over this is by giving these types of items an extra spin cycle in your washing machine before you put them out to dry. If you can opt for the fastest cycle as well, that is going to squeeze out all that excess water.

If you use a high-spin setting, your washing machine will remove more water from your clothes before it finishes the cycle. This will mean they will dry quicker than they would after a standard spin.

2. Wring Your Clothes Out

This is what your great-great-grandma would have done in the days before high-spin washing machines. If your clothes feel heavy when they come out of the washing machine, wring them out into the sink or bath to dry them out a bit more before hanging them to dry.

You can also try putting an item of clothing into a towel and twisting the towel in a wringing motion. Only do this with tough items of clothing else you might damage them.

3. Use a Salad Spinner

This might sound silly, but it works. If you own a salad spinner you can use it to get excess moisture out of your clothes before hanging them up to dry.

4. Use a Hairdryer

If your clothes are drying too slowly, going over them with a hairdryer will help them dry much quicker. You have to go over your clothing quite slowly, holding the hairdryer a few inches away from it.

5. Use a Good Drying Rack

If you need to dry your clothes indoors, you should use a good drying rack like one of these here. They’re designed to provide enough space for the air to dry your clothes, and will do a much better job than improvised solutions like draping your clothes over chairs. You can damage wood and other materials by drying clothes on them, so using a purpose-made drying rack is a good way to protect your furniture.

Think about investing in a heated drying rack. These are a literal godsend, because not only will they dry your washing much faster than otherwise, but they also kick out some heat too! Ideal for keeping a small room warm. You will be able to dry more loads of washing by investing in this type of equipment than a regular rack or line, so if you’re drying indoors a lot, consider this carefully.

6. Iron Your Clothes Under a Towel

You shouldn’t iron wet clothes directly as the hot iron can stretch them. Instead, put an item of clothing under a towel and iron the towel with a good amount of pressure. The heat will help dry your clothing, but you will still need to air dry it.

7. Rotate Your Clothes

If you want your clothes to dry quickly and evenly, you should check them every few hours and rotate them. Otherwise you will find that some parts dry quickly while others seem to take forever to dry.

8. Put Them on the Radiator

This is one of the most obvious tips here, but it deserves to be included. The heat from the radiator will help dry your clothes quicker than hanging them on something cold. However, this can be bad for your health as it could release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Clothes on a radiator

9. Turn Clothes Halfway Through Drying

If you’re hanging your washing on a drying rack or pegging it on a line, remember to give it a turn over halfway through. This will speed up the process, make sure you don’t have wet patches on the underside, and it will also stop your clothes from going stiff whilst they drying – especially useful with jeans.

10. Dry Clothes Near Windows

Try and situate your drying racks close to the window if at all possible. This will give fresh air a chance to permeate through and it will also mean that any sunshine that is coming into your room will directly be on your drying washing.

11. Hang Washing Early in the Day

Do your washing very early in the morning if at all possible, perhaps before you go to work. This means you can hang your washing early on in the day, making the most of the warmer air from outside (hopefully via a little sunshine), and then by the time evening comes they will be dry and ready to iron and fold up or hang up in the wardrobe.

12. Use Coat Hangers

If you have a large drying rack, use coat hangers to hang up items that might crease whilst they’re drying. This literally means as soon as they’re dry you can hang them up in the wardrobe, cutting out the chances of creases that will need a lot of ironing to remove.

13. Open Windows

Open the windows whilst you’re drying to ventilate the room. If you keep your room closed up, you’re going to get that ‘wet washing’ smell that isn’t really all that pleasant, and can be bad for your health. This may also stick to the washing once dry, which will linger whilst you’re wearing the clothes. If you can keep the windows open, you should be able to get over this minor potential problem.

14. Use a Dehumidifier

If your home or apartment is small, then you might find you have an issue with condensation whilst drying clothes indoors. You can tackle this problem with a dehumidifier, which will take away the damp air and cut down on the chances of condensation affecting your windows and home in general. This will also cut down on that smell we were just talking about too. This doesn’t need to be an all-singing, all-dancing, expensive dehumidifier, just a cheap option will do the trick just as well.

Read: Best Dehumidifiers for Drying Clothes

15. Don’t Over-Dry Clothes

Remove your clothes from the airer, rack, or line as soon as they are dry. This will mean they crease much less than if they were just left to hang there for hours longer than they needed to be. This will also cut down on the chances of stiffening, which can be a pain to get out once it has set in.


These tips are ideal for helping you dry your washing indoors without major issues, and also helps you cut down on creasing and stiffening at the same time. Whilst tumble dryers are always going to have a place in most households, knowing how to dry your washing indoors effectively means you don’t have to plug it in and make use of it every single time the weather is less than desirable outside. Let’s face it, during the winter months, the chances of drying washing outdoors regularly is rather slim!

Related posts