We all know that if we don’t dry our clothes in the dryer we save on electricity, but many of us don’t think about how the dryer reduces the life of our clothes. Dryers destroy the rubber elastic in the socks and underwear. Have you ever noticed pilling (those little fabric balls) on your clothes and linens and the resulting lint in the dryer? That is the result of the fibers being rubbed thin. The dryer also shrinks clothes and sets in stains.
The two reasons most people don’t line dry their clothes are that they think it is inconvenient or they’re just not sure how to do it. Here are some of the best tips to air dry clothes with or without a clothes line. If you have a clothes line it is rather simple to just hang your clothes up on the line.For clothing pieces that are not stretchy, give them a good healthy shake prior to hanging to separate the fabric to reduce the drying time. A good shake also removes wrinkles and makes the clothes softer.
Shirts and dresses:
There are two ways to hang shirts and dresses. Shirts and dresses can be hung on hangers with the top buttoned and the collar positioned correctly. Or you can hang the shirt from the bottom at the two side seams with clips. You may also need to clip up the sleeves to keep them off the floor or ground. Shirts and dresses that have been hung on hangers usually can be taken directly to hang in the closet when dry. Hanging on hangers often allows you to skip the need for ironing.
It is very important that you shake those jeans out prior to hanging – it will keep them from stiffening up. When hanging on a laundry drying rack you will need to use multiple arms of the rack for the jeans so that the denim gets as much air circulation as possible. When you hang the jeans attempt to “open” the tops of the jeans as much as possible so that air can get into the pocket area to help speed up drying time. Jeans will dry best in the sun.
The fabric that the slacks are made with will determine how you dry them. Many polyester blends dry fast and these slacks can simply be folded over one arm of the drying rack. Cotton slacks should be treated the same as jeans.
Undergarments can be hung from your clothes rack in multiple ways. They can simply be slipped over the arms of your drying rack. You can hang them by one or two corners with clothes clips, or simply folded over the laundry rack.
If your skirt is short enough, hang with clothes pins from the waist line. If it is a long skirt of a fabric type that dries easily simply fold over the clothes rack the same as for slacks. If it is a heavy or denim skirt hang over two arms of your drying rack, like jeans. Crinkle Skirts should be twisted tightly to dry in the wrinkles. You may either lay the twisted fabric across the top of the clothes drying rack or you can clip the top and the bottom in a U shape to the rack to hold the fabric in the twist. Twisted skirts take a long time to dry, so turning them to keep them in the sun or to expose a new side to the breeze is helpful.
Towels and Wash Cloths:
To get nice soft air dried towels simply follow these steps. Use a fabric softener or a water softener during your washing process. Shake towels vigorously prior to hanging. Then do not hang in direct sunshine where the towels will “bake”. If you have a choice, wash towels on days when there is a breeze. If you wash on a calm day, then when you walk by your towels give them a little pat or shake as you go by to keep them from stiffening up. If you happen to end up with stiff towels, shaking them again prior to folding will help. .
If you don’t have a clothesline, you live in an apartment or your homeowners association won’t allow clotheslines, here are a few ways to air dry clothes without a clothesline. You need at least one drying rack and some type of clothes rod. You can buy drying racks at most discount stores or hardware stores. You might hang a clothes rod in your laundry room above the dryer, use a sturdy shower curtain rod in the bathroom or get a metal clothes racks that hooks over the back of a door.
Hanging on a Clothes Rod
Hang as many items as you can on clothes hangers, beginning with the obvious things like dresses, dress shirts and blouses and hang the hangers on a clothes rod to dry. Be sure not to put the hangers too close together so the air can circulate. You can also hang things like pajama tops, t-shirts, small kids shirts and one piece outfits. Lightweight pants, pajama bottoms, skirts and sweats can be pinned on clothes hangers and even sheets can be folded and hung on them. If you are really short of drying rack space, you can hang socks, underwear, wash rags, hand towels and towels on hangers and add them to your clothes rod, too. You are using the bottom part of the hanger as a rod.
Hanging Clothes on a Clothes Rack
When hanging clothes on a drying rack, I start at the bottom with socks and underwear, wash rags and baby clothes. Young children’s clothes and hand towels go on the middle layer and the top rack is for towels, jeans, pillow cases, sweaters, sweats, pajama bottoms and t-shirts. I try to use every inch of space, so if I put a pillow case on the rack and there are a couple of inches left next to it I put a sock there. I even hook bras on the corners of the rack.
Drying racks are handy because they can be moved to speed up the drying process. Place them outside on a sunny (but not windy) day. Inside the house, try putting them over a vent and the heat or air conditioner will dry them faster. If you don’t have central heat or air then you can place them in front of your heater or a fan. Don’t place clothes close enough to heaters to be a fire hazard.
If you are short on space and don’t want to look at a drying rack in the middle of the room, do the laundry before bed, hang it and in most cases it will be dry by morning (especially if you set it above an air vent).
Try hanging large king sized sheets or blankets over your shower rod, over the rail of your deck, between two lawn chairs or folded in half or quarters over your clothes rack. When you fold large items, you must flip and turn them every 5-10 hours so that each side gets dry. Sometimes it is useful to hang a clothesline in the basement or attic.
Be sure to check out your department stores and hardware stores for other ideas. They have many clever items like retractable clotheslines, things to hang over doors and some not so new ideas like extra large drying racks that can hold two loads of laundry each.
Even though this may sound complicated at first, once you do it a few times it becomes second nature to you. Pretty quickly, you will discover the most efficient way to hang your clothes on the rack.