How to dry clothes fast - without a dryer

Woman folding clothes drying on a clothes horse.
(Image credit: Getty)

Getting laundry dry in winter when you can’t hang it outside on the line can be tricky, but help is at hand. Our clever hacks will show how to dry clothes fast indoors without it hanging around for days or sending your household bills soaring with an energy-guzzling tumble dryer.

What the expert says...

Lindsay Turford, cleaning guru at @dazlincleaning (opens in new tab) says: “My top tip is to invest in a dehumidifier to help dry your laundry and minimise condensation caused by drying clothes indoors. Set it to the lowest humidity level and close the door on the room you’re drying laundry in. This will dry your clothes in around four to five hours (jeans and thick jumpers will take a little longer) without the need to put your heating on. You’ll be surprised at how much water the dehumidifier collects!” 

It’s tempting to drape wet clothes over radiators, however, this stops them from working efficiently and encourages moisture and mold in your home; while the other option - using a tumble dryer - can be costly, both to the environment and your pocket. So, to avoid the pitfalls, we’ve asked cleaning expert Lindsay Turford of Dazlin’ Clean (opens in new tab) for some great tips on getting clothes dry quickly and effectively in the colder months.

And, once you’ve figured out the best way to dry your washing, explore some of the best front load washers (opens in new tab) that will make the washing process itself easier, too.

1. Give washing an extra spin before you dry

Get rid of excess water from your laundry before you start the drying process, says Lindsay. “Use an extra spin setting on your washing machine to ensure as much water is removed as possible to reduce drying time,” she advises. 

2. Spread out your clothes

Space clothing out on a flat drying rack or clothes airer to help the flow of air around it, suggests Lindsay. “Rotate items frequently,” she says. “Use coat hangers for shirts, and hang them on the end of the airer to free up space on the rungs.” You can also hang coat hangers in doorways, to allow air to circulate. 

3. Get the air flowing

If it’s not too cold, Lindsay suggests opening a window slightly to create a flow of air around your laundry, or using a fan for the same effect. This will also help to mitigate condensation that can be caused by poor ventilation in the winter months.

4. Use a heated drying rack

Placing clothes on radiators to dry encourages mold to grow in your home. Instead, try a heated drying rack. The rungs heat up when it’s plugged into the mains, drying your clothes quickly at a fraction of the running cost of a tumble dryer. 

5. Dry laundry with a dehumidifier

Place a dehumidifier next to your drying rack, suggests Lindsay. Dehumidifiers work by ‘sucking’ moisture out of both the atmosphere and your laundry, helping dry it quicker than by air-drying alone, while also lowering the humidity in your home. 

Discover more guides for the home…

Best steam mops (opens in new tab)
Best robot vacuums (opens in new tab)
Best handheld vacuums (opens in new tab)
Best carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)

Jenny Wood
Writer

London-based Jenny has been a features and lifestyle journalist for over 20 years and writes about homes, gardens, shopping and consumer issues for newspapers, magazines and websites.  When not writing about homes, she’s helping redecorate them as an interior designer at Decorbuddi.com, tackling everything from bedroom revamps to kitchen renovations. Jenny believes you can never have too much color, cushions or cacti; loves a genuine bargain; and particularly enjoys road-testing products with her kids, who take the job extremely seriously. 

With contributions from