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How To Dry Clothes Without A Dryer – Fast!

Have you ever felt that early-evening sense of dread when you realise you need to wear that shirt tomorrow, but it's still in a heap on the floor?

With barely enough time to even wash it, and no access to a dryer, you need to know how to dry your clothes without a dryer - and fast!

If you're doing an emergency one-item wash, it would be uneconomical to run an expensive tumble dryer for just one item. You may not own a tumble dryer, or if you do, it may not be working.

Don't worry, help is at hand. The following tips can help you look sharp in your freshly laundered clothes in no time. 

Dry Clothes With A Towel

Towels are good for not just drying yourself off, but also your clothing if you're in a rush. They are especially useful if you are hand-washing clothes whilst traveling.

The theory behind this is that the more water we can get out, the quicker your items will dry. This may lead to creases in your garment, so make sure you're prepared to iron it afterwards.

What You'll Need

  • Two Big Bath Towels
  • Iron

Make sure you use clean towels - you wouldn't want to dirty your freshly washed clothing.

How To Dry Clothes With Towels

  1. Lay out the towel flat on the ground.
  2. Place your wet garment on top.
  3. Start from the bottom of the towel and roll it up into a sausage shape.
  4. If you can, recruit somebody strong to hold one end of the sausage. [Optional!]
  5. Twist the towel to wring out excess moisture.
  6. Use the second towel to repeat the process.
  7. Iron the garment to remove the last of the moisture and to get the creases out.

Here is a great video of the erm "Sausage Technique"!

Dry Clothes With A Hairdryer

Like towels, a hairdryer can be used not just on you, but your clothes too!

When you use this method, please don't try and dry it while you are wearing it as the air won't be able to flow through the garment which will prevent moisture escaping.

What You'll Need

  • Hair dryer
  • Coat hanger

How To Dry Clothes With A Hairdryer

  1. Hang your garment on a coat hanger and hang up.
  2. Set your hair dryer to a medium to high heat.
  3. Move the hairdryer across the surface of your garment - make sure you do not focus the heat for too long at one point as this can damage the fabric.
  4. Dry the entire surface area of your garment, including turning it inside out to get out all moisture.

Dry Clothes With An Iron

As a direct heat source, an iron can be used to dry something in an emergency quickly.

Make sure that the garment is made from fabric that can be ironed. Most fabrics are okay to be ironed, but be sure to check if it's made from a delicate material.

As always, when using an iron, be careful not to burn the fabric by holding the iron in place for too long.

What You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Ironing Board

How To Dry Clothes With An Iron

  1. Lay your garment flat on the ironing board.
  2. Turn your iron on and set it to a low temperature.
  3. Add pressure and slowly move the iron over your wet garment.
  4. Iron all areas of the garment; including flipping it over to ensure the back is dry too.
  5. If required, once most of the moisture has evaporated, turn up the temperature to get it completely dry.

3 Tips For Drying Full Loads Of Laundry

All of the methods we have just covered are perfect if you've only got one or two items that need to be dried quickly.

Of course, it's not economical or practical to attempt to dry a full load of laundry with a hairdryer, iron, or towels.

Now we'll look at ways to speed up the drying of a full load of wet washing.

1. Use The Spin Cycle

It goes without saying that the more water in your clothes when you remove them from the washing machine, the longer it will take for them to dry.

Set your washing machine to a high-speed spin setting to shake out as much water as possible.

You may be able to set the spin speed as part of the wash programme, or you may have to run an extra spin cycle once the wash cycle has finished.

It may take an extra 10 minutes, but you'll save this time back when your laundry dries much more quickly.

2. Use An Airer / Clothes Horse

If it's raining outside, using an wooden clothes airer can be the next best alternative.

If you have a small load to hang out, make sure you make use of the full clothes rack and hang items over more than one rail. This will allow more air to circulate which will wick the moisture away.

Put smaller items at the bottom of your clothes horse and bigger pieces at the top.

There is less air circulation at the bottom of the clothes horse, so large items would dry more slowly if placed at the bottom.

If possible, open a window to ventilation the room to prevent the room becoming humid as this will encourage damp and mould growth. 

(And we previously wrote about the health dangers of drying clothes indoors).

If possible, open a window to ventilation the room to prevent the room becoming humid as this will encourage damp and mould growth. (And we wrote about the health dangers of drying clothes indoors here).

Again, if possible, place the clothes horse close to a heat source such as a radiator. To dry clothes faster, make sure all furniture like sofas and beds are moved away from the radiator, too.

Direct heat is not good for the fibres in the fabric, but a heat source close by can help speed up the drying process. 

3. Invest In Extra Gadgets

Heated clothes airers are becoming increasingly more popular. They can be run far more economically than a tumble dryer and provide an excellent alternative for those who live in a flat with no access to outside drying facilities.

A dehumidifier can also be a worthwhile investment if you are regularly drying clothes inside. Keeping moisture out of the air doesn't just help clothes dry more quickly; it also keeps your home healthier.

In an ideal world, we would always be on top of our laundry, and the sun would always be shining so we could hang wet clothes outside. Of course, the world isn't ideal, and sometimes we have to improvise.

We hope this article helps you when you don't have a dryer and are squeezed for time!

If you do have time, check out our tips for line drying, tumble dryers and ironing!