12 Ideas for Getting the Washing Dry Without a Dryer

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dry clothes without a dryer
Dry Clothes Without a Dryer. Image by tonda55 @ stock.adobe.com

You know you’ve reached adulthood when your first thought on a sunny day is “I’ll get the washing dry today.”

Sunny days, however, have been few and far between over the last few months and washing has been an all week chore, when it is normally a two-day chore. The humidity doesn’t help. Even when it’s not pouring with rain, the high humidity of summer can mean the washing stays damp, despite the heat. With no dryer, we’ve had to come up with some creative ways to dry the washing.

I will admit from the first, we have washing hanging around our house to dry. I know some people hate the thought of airers in the living room, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I grew up in rural NSW where winters are cold and wet. My mother made extra money by washing clothes for private school boarders, so not only did she have all our clothes and linen to contend with, we had teenage boy’s football jumpers taking pride of place in front of the heater in the living room.

Living in QLD, we don’t have a heater so here are some alternate ways we get the washing dry.

  1. We use airers all the time. On low humidity days, this is enough to get the clothes dry. Using airers means I can easily put the washing outside if the sun comes out and then quickly whip it all back in again when it starts to rain.
  2. When inside, I position the airers under the ceiling fan (at least, during nap time) to help get the washing dry.
  3. DH strung a line up in the garage. When the car is in the garage, this clothesline runs above the bonnet and the residual heat from the car engine helps get the clothes dry.
  4. We also have an old curtain rod in the corner resting on the door frames (pictured), from which we hang clothes on coat hangers.
  5. Clothes can also be hung on coat hangers on curtain rods in open windows, or around the dining room table.
  6. We use the heat from the car engine to dry things by laying clothes and towels on the bonnet of the car, which is hot from DH driving home from work. You can still get that warm out-of-the-dryer pyjama feeling by leaving you PJs on the car bonnet.
  7. We also use the radiating and residual heat from the oven when I’m cooking dinner or doing some baking. We have a tiny, tiny kitchen, the airer takes up almost all the room and I have to keep moving it around or out while I’m cooking, so it’s a bit of a pain, but it gets the washing dry.
  8. We have metal dining chairs, so I hang sheets and towels on the backs of the chairs around the dining table (makes a bit of a cubby house for the little fella. Only problem is that the cat-like pulling the sheets down and making a nest to sleep in).
  9. The hardest thing to get dry is the queen-sized sheets because there is just not enough room to hang both (and I hate all the cat hair on the sheets from using the drying method above). On rainy days, I wash one sheet with the light clothes, and the other on a separate day with the darks and the sheet can hang on the line in the garage.
  10. We just got an exhaust fan in the bathroom with heat lamps so I could hang washing under those for an hour or so to take the last of the dampness out of them, but I haven’t yet done this because I haven’t calculated the expense. But if I got desperate, that would be another option.
  11. Finally, for clothes that get ironed, I iron the last of the dampness out of the clothes and then hang them out of the cupboard for a few hours to make sure they are completely dry (I don’t want mould growing in the wardrobe).
  12. If you live in a two-storey house, hanging the washing on the stair rail or at the top of the stairs will help it dry because warmer air rises.

You might also like to check out the Frugal Laundry Resources page.

Even when the weather is good, we don’t get a lot of sun on our clothesline, so use the airers to get the clothes (and especially the nappies) into the sunlight.

If you have your hot water heater inside the house, you could use the heat off this to get your clothes dry. If I understand correctly, the cupboard that stores the hot water heater or boiler is called the airing closet and some people build slat shelves and hangers in this closet for the purpose of drying the washing.

How do you manage to get the washing dry without a dryer on bad drying days?

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  1. I know it’s using a dryer, which I don’t have, but if I have a lot of towels and sheets that need drying and my house is already full of clothes hanging on airer’s and hangers on a rainy day, I use one of the dryers down at the laundromat, and put one of my DRY towels in with the load. It helps to speed the drying time up. Also the tops of doors are good places to hang towels and even a sheet folded in half.
    My cat also loves to pull the towels and sheets down and make a little nest, so over the top of inside doors is my favourite place for towels. which reminds me I better get to that load waiting

  2. I have been known to position our pedestal fans to blow onto the washing. Some of your ones are very creative – I like the car one! The oven is a good idea too.

  3. I am boring and unimaginative, i simply hand it on the line until it,s dry, very occassionaly I might hang something thats badly needed on a coathanger inside overnight,and it,s always dry in the morning.
    Off now to do my weekend washing………

  4. Thanks for the tips.

    I love the days when I can just hang the washing on the line and it actually dries, especially when I can wash, fold and put away nappies in one day. Doesn’t happen very often, though.

  5. I have a permanent clothes line outside, which I use in the Summer. In the Winter, I have a removable standing rack that fits perfect in our upstairs tub. There’s notihing better in the summer than clothing dried by sunshine!

  6. I have lived in the Netherlands for the last 8 years now and have learned to live without a dryer as many people here don’t use them. We are fortunate enough to have a large attic space where I hang the clothes in the winter. I save space by hanging many of my lighter blouses and things on hangers to dry and I have found that you can hang many more clothes on lines if you hang them between two lines. I have several lines across that attic space running parallel to each other. Instead of hanging the clothes along one line..I hang one edge of the article of clothing on one line and them the other edge on the parallel line directly across. I can get almost 3 times the amount up this way. And using the fans helps a lot.

    1. True, i am dutch and its normal here for people to wind/sun dry outside. We have a seaclimate though so were lucky with our wind.
      Last summer i purchased a Crazy Big drying-rack!! It was my dream. A (1,80 meter!! ) high standing rack on 4 poles 2 left and 2 right. Joined together at the top pyramidstyle At 7/8th high of each it has extra horiz. rigging. Very stable. Big pieces can be hung without folding.
      A central bar at the top between them. And on each side a bar with the ropes between them. Easily to be removed and lifted.
      It is so simple you can biuld it yourself. I put it under the balcony. It stays dry even during heavy rain.
      Some days it takes longer to dry but thats natural.
      My first thought with sunshine is also, a good day for drying !! ???? when i have no drying to do we use the easy chairs under the rack and have shade from a nice drape on top…???? coool and privacy too..????????????

  7. Hi Debbie,
    I am going to have to try hanging the wasing that way. I don’t have a lot of line space.

  8. I strung 5 rows of rope above the bathtub/shower and hang dry there. That way the water from the clothes as they dry out drip down into the bathtub rather than the carpet or linoleum elsewhere and prevents water issues.