Random Ramblings

How to do Laundry Without a Clothes Dryer

Last week, my electric clothes dryer stopped producing heat. It still tumbles the clothes. We think/hope it’s just a faulty thermostat. We were able to order the part online for around ten dollars—MUCH cheaper than buying a new clothes dryer. The part should arrive in the next few days. In the meantime, I don’t want my laundry piling up in the clothes hamper. I usually do a load of laundry every day or every other day—to keep things manageable—rather than having one designated “laundry day.”

Now, this feels like a “first world problem,” but I’ve never had to air dry my clothing (with the exception of bras and a couple of my sweaters). Strike that! I’ve never been ALLOWED to air dry my clothes outside. I live in the United States. For some reason, we may cry and whine about protecting the environment, but we don’t like to see laundry hanging outside on a clothesline or drying rack. In fact, due to neighborhood ordinances and restrictions, I could get fined for drying my clothing on an outdoor clothesline. Ridiculous? Probably. It’s also the dead of winter with temperatures in the single digits, making the idea of air drying clothing in the great outdoors a moot point.

So, what’s a person to do? Well…I could go to the laundry mat—there’s one close to my home—or I could air dry my clothing indoors.

Here are 7 tips to living without a clothes dryer:

  1. Plan ahead. Air drying takes longer than machine drying, especially if the air is humid. A pair of jeans could take a couple of days to air-dry indoors. Keep this in mind when planning out your washing routine so you won’t get stuck with nothing to wear but damp clothes.
  2. Don’t use an excessive amount of laundry detergent in your clothes washer. One of the main complaints of air-dried clothing is “crunchiness.” Machine-dried clothes tend to feel softer than their air-dried counterparts. If you’ve avoided air drying your clothes because they came out too stiff and scratchy in the past, you may have simply used too much laundry detergent and your machine wasn’t able to rinse the clothing thoroughly enough. You could put your clothing through an extra rinse cycle, but it’s MUCH eaiser—and more economical—to be less heavy-handed with your soap in the first place.
  3. Use white vinegar in your rinse cycle. If you have hard water/are heavy-handed with your laundry detergent, you could pour a 1/2 cup to a full cup of white vinegar in your rinse cycle. This will help rid your clothing of excess detergent and make them feel softer when dried. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like salad dressing! I have a lot of calcium and lime in my water, but I also use dye-free/scent-free laundry detergent which seems to rinse out of my clothes easily enough without any extra steps. I only use this white vinegar hack on new, dark jeans to get the excess dye out. Anyone who has ever experienced “blue legs” from a new pair of jeans bleeding excess dye will appreciate this hack!
  4. Don’t overfill your washing machine. Clothes need space to wash, rinse, and spin properly. If your air-dried clothes feel “crunchy” and take forever to dry, you may have overfilled your washing machine.
  5. If your clothes are still sopping wet after machine washing them, add an extra spin-cycle. The more water you can spin out of your clothing, the faster the items will dry. This hack works with machine-dried clothes as well.
  6. No drying rack? No problem! Lightweight clothing like t-shirts and button-down shirts can be dried on clothes hangers. (Make sure they’ve been spun-dried well or the weight of the wet clothing might leave hanger indentation marks on the shoulders.) Hangers can also be used with clothespins. img_04441.jpgFor example, you can pair up socks and hang them off of a hanger line a mini-clothesline. Jeans can be hung from their cuffs off of two hangers to provide more surface area for air to circulate. img_0441[1]Thick sweatshirts can be clothespinned to a hanger upside-down, folding the waistband around the hanger to minimize indentations.
  7. Tension rods, portable clothes racks, and shower rods can all be used as a temporary place to hang damp clothing. Just be sure that your items are spaced far enough apart for air to circulate. You don’t want your clothes to mildew! A box fan could be placed in front of your wet clothes to speed the drying process along.

So what if you live in a dorm room or small apartment and don’t have a clothes washer or dryer? Or maybe you just have a few items to wash, what then? I found this hack for re-purposing a salad spinner to wash your clothing:

It really isn’t that hard to air dry clothing indoors. It’s better for the environment and my electric bill. If the new thermostat doesn’t fix my machine, I can still go to the laundry mat for big, bulky items like comforters, but it’s nice to have some at home alternatives available for everything else.

Do you have any laundry hacks? Share them in the comments below!

xo Juli

16 thoughts on “How to do Laundry Without a Clothes Dryer”

  1. As a Brit this feels most strange
    Outdoor drying if lucky enough to have a yard us the norm. If not possible and we’re at single figure temperatures here too we dry on an airer
    So while there is a tumble dryer for emergencies it only get used about 4 times a year! Now that’s a waste!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve heard that this is an American phenomenon, I’m glad to have my suspicions confirmed!

      My aunt was born in England. One of my Grandmothers was Canadian, and a good chunk of my Mother’s family were born and raised in Arkansas. Needless to say, I grew up in Michigan with an interesting mish-mash of knowledge, traditions, and skill sets. LOL Southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy…and mincemeat pie for dessert? Makes sense to me! This may also explain why I watch a LOT of BBC television programs.

      I think Americans just like their gadgets, to the point that we use them so much, we think it’s the norm. We’re all about “saving time.” I have no idea where this time I’ve saved is supposed to be at. Under the sofa? Gather dust in a corner? I’ve never seen any evidence that Americans have more time than the rest of the world. If anything, we take LESS time off for vacations and holidays, which is really short-sighted in the scheme of things.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the same, another Brit. I have a dryer, it’s been used so little that it is actually the same age as my daughter, coming up to 33 years old and still works! Where I live even drying outside in the summer can be very hit and miss (it rains more than its sunny). My main tip is ventilation – leave a window open, even if it’s cold, air circulating from outside aids drying plus drying indoors can lead to damp and black mould forming if it’s a well insulated and warm home. I don’t have that problem my house is pretty draughty. Of course we get robbed blind on the cost of electric here in the UK and a dryer is a big consumer of electricity.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s great advice! Yes, my home seems to get enough air (too much air) without an open window. We don’t have nearly enough insulation for my liking…and my gas bill is still high. (Sigh!)

      I live in Michigan, which is at a similar place, longitudinally, as the UK. Since we have The Great Lakes surrounding us on three sides, we tend to get a LOT of rain and humidity. We get VERY excited when the sun finally comes out!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a gas dryer but air dry almost all my tops and pants and jeans because otherwise everything seems to shrink in length! I dry indoors all the time cause I’m the spring I’d be bringing in pollen and no one has a clothesline in my neighborhood so maybe they’re not allowed! But towels in the dryer are so nice and fluffy❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So silly not to be ‘allowed’ to hang clothes outside.
    Hopefully the parts will arrive quickly and your dryer will be back in service.
    All my best to you. 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As Americans in Britain, we’ve had to adjust to drierlessness in a damp climate. I fold turtlenecks and towels on top of the radiator (when it’s on). On the day it’s sunny (once a year, usually), we dry outside. We have a drying rack in the conservatory–a room no Minnesotan ever heard of. We dry clothes on top of the furnace. Et cetera. It all gets dry eventually.

    And we always overstuff the washing machine. We just can’t help ourselves. I’d swear to take your advice, because it sounds good, but I know us. We won’t be able to help ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well…the WORST part of learning to air dry clothes is that I’ve learned that I now prefer to air dry some of my things. (SHOCKING for me! I’d never thought I feel this way. LOL) My jeans, for example, turn out BETTER. I hang them to dry by their cuffs. They’ve stretched back to their original lengths! (Some had become shorter than I’d like.) Also, when I hang my husband’s shirts on hangers to dry, they’re ready to go into the closet when they’ve finished drying. I feel like I’m skipping a step by avoiding the dryer. Possibly saving time??? Who knew!? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In an apt, we also have restrictions about outdoor drying – big no-no here. My husband likes most of his stuff air dried so I just put it on hangers in the bathroom. For jeans, I’ve found that if I use 2 “skirt” hangers (kept from when my kids were toddlers because I liked the clips) and hang them from the waist, they dry so much faster than when I tried to hang them from the legs. I clip one hanger to the front, and one to the back and then spread the hangers as far as they will go across the rod so the jeans are open. My theory is that water can drain better from the thicker fabric around the waist and zipper seams, as opposed to the water draining into the thicker seams when they are hung by the legs. Gah, who knew it could be so hard to explain ways to hang dry jeans? lol I hope I’m making sense!

    And I hope a quick online trip to RepairClinic.com solved your dryer problem! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your pant drying solution makes TOTAL sense. LOL You explained it well. I agree. Hanging by the waist probably make the jeans dry faster. However, I’ve gotten some length back in my jeans by hanging them by the legs. All that extra weight from wet waistband and pockets seems to stretch the pants as they dry. Who knew air drying could teach us so many things and bring us all together, as bloggers? LOL I’m going to try your plastic pant hanger idea! That’s a great tip!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad I found this post! My dryer just went out last week and I’ve been trying to remember how to hang dry things. It’s coming back slowly, but this post really helped. I loved the part about how long it takes jeans to dry, I really thought I was doing something wrong, haha. Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.