Why Should You Air Dry Clothes?

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A clothes drying rack is an essential tool for any home.  I have had several, and they have each had their benefits and drawbacks.  I do have a gas clothes dryer, but a clothes drying rack is still an essential companion.

In this article, I want to talk about how to find the best clothes drying rack for your needs.  Still not convinced you need one?  Read on to find out why I swear by my clothes drying rack.

Why Air Dry Clothes?

If you have a dryer, you may be wondering “Why air dry clothes, anyway?”  I’m sure you have been burned (see what I did there?) by your clothes dryer before in a number of ways.  I have shrunken nice sweaters, damaged delicate materials, and stretched out clothes because of the ways I have washed them in the past.

All of these problems could have been solved by a clothes drying rack.  Let’s take a look at the pitfalls of the modern clothes dryer.

The Shrunken Sweater

If your sweater managed to survive the wash cycle, it may perish in the drying cycle.  Wool sweaters and wool sweater blends are notorious for both stretching in the wash and shrinking in the dryer.

By avoiding the dryer all together for your sweaters, you have the opportunity to   fix some of these common issues.

Tip: If you have a misshapen sweater, don’t put it in the dryer!  Stretch and bend it back into shape, then lay it flat to air dry on a clothes drying rack.

Damaged Delicates

Some fabrics, such as delicate lace (think underwear!) and fabrics with plastic appliqués in them will be damaged by the dryer even on your lowest setting.

While we are talking about underwear, Ladies, did you know according to Soma, one of the leading bra and underwear retailers you shouldn’t put your bras in the dryer?

Yet another great reason to have a clothes drying rack!

Avoid Stretched Out Clothes

I’ve noticed that sometimes clothing with elastic in it stretches out over time, or something gets knotted up in the dryer and stretches out.

Air drying clothes avoids both of these common pitfalls.

Air Dry Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are a necessary evil.  Your baby has to wear something!  Unfortunately, many baby clothes shrink and you get even less use out of them than you originally intended.

If you air dry baby clothes, you will get a couple more wears out of them before your baby outgrows them!  This is especially true of baby PJs.

Air Drying Clothes Benefits

There are other benefits to air drying your clothes, besides avoiding clothing damage.

  • Less energy usage.  Whether you have a gas or electric clothes dryer, running your dryer uses energy and increases your utility bills.
  • You won’t heat up your home.  While a dryer can provide some toasty warmth in the winter, it is a pain in the summer!  My laundry room has a door, but still feels like a sauna in the summer.  I didn’t have a door in my previous house, and the whole second floor heated up when I used the dryer!

Air drying your clothes is both more cost effective and environmentally friendly, and you won’t ruin your clothes!

How do you air dry clothes without stiffness?

It can be tricky if you’re new to air drying clothes.

Here are a couple of ways to air dry your clothes without stiffness:

  • Use vinegar as fabric softener.  Vinegar is great for just about everything, especially when it comes to cleaning your home.  Did you know vinegar is also great as a replacement for jet dry in your dishwasher?
  • A user on Reddit points out a great idea is to hang your clothes in the bathroom while you shower to give them a little steam and soften them up.
  • Remove your laundry from the washer and lay it out to dry as soon as the spin cycle has stopped, don’t leave it sitting there.  Be sure to shake out each item as you hang it or place it on the drying rack.

Is it bad to air dry clothes inside?

It isn’t bad to air dry clothes inside, but there are a few things to know.

Drying clothes indoors will increase the moisture in the air in your home.  A good idea is to open windows when possible, especially to get a cross breeze and help your clothes dry faster.

If you live in a humid climate already, consider getting a box fan to help the drying process, as if there is already moisture in the air, it will take clothes longer to dry.

If you plan on drying clothes indoors on a regular basis, consider a humidity monitor to keep an eye on moisture levels.

How long do clothes take to air dry inside?

It can take up to a day for clothes to dry inside.  It really depends on what type of fabric the clothes are made of.

Here are a couple ideas on how to speed things up.

  • Open windows so a breeze can circulate the air and help clothes dry faster.
  • Consider aiming a box fan at your clothes drying racks.
  • Don’t allow clothes to overlap on racks or lines.

You can experiment with any or all of these things to shorten your clothes drying time indoors.

Air Drying Clothes Without A Clothesline

If you plan on air drying clothes without a clothesline, a clothes drying rack is a great tool to have on hand.

Besides air drying the clothes you have washed, here are some other great practical uses for clothes drying racks.

  • Hang bathing suits and towels to dry.  Where else are you going to put them after running through the sprinkler.
  • Hang clothes to air them out.  Many stores these days are pumping their clothes full of perfumes and scents.  If an article of clothing smells too much to wear it, simply air it out on a clothes drying rack for a couple of days.
  • Hang other wet clothes.  Giving fido or the baby a bath?  Chances are you are going to be wearing the bath water!  Hanging your clothes on a clothes drying rack is a much better solution than letting them collect mold in a ball forgotten someplace.

Picking the Best Clothes Drying Rack

Here are some things to think about when trying to find the best clothes drying rack:

  • Where are you going to use your clothes drying rack?  Do you have a dedicated space for it such as a laundry room, or will it be in your living room?
  • Where will you store the rack when you are not using it?  Does it need to be folded and put away?  Or can you leave it out someplace?
  • Who will be using the clothes drying rack?  Pay special attention to how much it weighs.

These are all important considerations when picking a clothes drying rack.  If it is going to be in a living area, we will want to make sure it is aesthetically pleasing and blends in with our decor.

If you are going to be putting a clothes drying rack in your main living space, there are lots of ways to be creative.

My personal favorite is using a coat rack as a clothes drying rack or coat hooks.  It blends in with your surroundings if you pick the right one.  I use my coat rack and hooks for drying things like hoodies.

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