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25 November 2021

How to Dry Clothes Quickly Inside

With 5 of us living here we wear a lot of clothes each week. In the summer I can keep my washing basket under control thanks to the fast drying power of hanging my clothes outside, but in winter it is much harder to dry clothes quickly. I don’t want my house to look like a laundrette with airers in every room, but what is the best way to dry clothes inside?

Clothes drying on an airer as quickly as possible
If you have lots of washing what is the best way to get it dry quickly?

The Fastest Way To Dry Washing Inside

Let's start with a little bit of science (feel free to skip this bit, but it neatly explains how to dry clothes).

Clothes dry when the water evaporates out of them so you want to make this happen as quickly as possible. The two main drivers to making this happen is the temperature and humidity of the air. The warmer it is and the drier the air (the lower the relative humidity) the faster the water will evaporate out of the clothes. The air directly next to the clothes will have a higher relative humidity than the rest of the room because the water molecules will be most concentrated next to the wet clothes. So if you can make the air in the room move more you will replace the more saturated air next to the clothes with drier air. 

Essentially the weather outside on a warm and windy day is ideal for drying washing so you want to recreate those conditions inside.

Tips To Dry Clothes Quickly Inside

Use A Fast Spin Cycle

The dryer the clothes are when they come out of the machine the faster they will dry. If the clothes aren’t delicate (always check the label) then use a high spin on your washing machine so as much water as possible is squeezed out first.

Use a Tumble Dryer

It's obvious, but the fastest way to dry clothes inside is a tumble dryer, but this isn’t suitable for all fabrics and it pretty expensive because it uses a lot of electricity. I had to mention it, but I'm guessing if that was an option you wouldn't be reading this post.

Increase the Surface Area

The more of the item of clothing that is in contact with the air the faster water can evaporate.  Whether you place clothes on an airer or hangers aim to hang clothes as flat as possible, undo zips and spread them out. Ideally make sure the wet clothes aren't placed too close to each other. With thick clothing you might want to turn them over or rearrange them part way through drying to change which part of the clothes are in contact with the air,

Even in the tumble dryer you need to give clothes plenty of space. The less items in there the faster they will dry.

Use a Heated Airers

Heated airers have become very popular in recent years and they are a clever way of drying clothes. If you aren’t familiar with them then they are clothes airers where all the rails warm up when it’s turned on a bit like a radiator (but not as hot). 

To use a heated airer efficiently you really need to cover it up once all the clothes are on there. The Lakeland Dry:Soon heated airers have covers sold separately which are good and designed for the purpose, but even covering the clothes with a sheet or towel will make the airer work better. The key is to lock the heat in so it’s not just the parts of the clothes directly touching the rails that dry quickly, but all of the clothes benefits from the heat without it disappearing off into the house. Make sure the cover isn't too thick and that it's a breathable fabric because the moisture needs to be able to escape otherwise you will get condensation on the inside of the cover which will drip back on to the clothes.

Heated airers when used with a cover are an effective way to dry clothes that is cheaper than a tumble dryer to run, but they are expensive to buy and they aren't the only good way to dry clothes inside. 

Use A Dehumidifier 

We have problems with damp in our house in winter and drying lots of clothes just makes this situation worse. To counteract this we use dehumidifiers every day which lead to me realising a really effective way to dry clothes. If I place the dehumidifier next to the airer with the fan blowing on the clothes it not only removes moisture from the air making the relative humidity of the room lower, but the fan circulates the air next to the clothes so the air next to the wet clothes is drier too. These both speed up evaporation.  

If you can place the dehumidifier and drying clothes near a radiator then this will speed up the drying time further.

I have found the dehumidified as described above just as effective at drying washing quickly as using our heated airer with a cover. As we need to use our dehumidifier anyway to prevent damp using a normal airer and the dehumidifier is more cost effective.  

This is the dehumidifier we have been using for the last 6 years:

Open Windows

In spring and autumn when it's not so cold outside simply having your clothes drying near an open window will speed up drying time because the breeze will make the air circulate. This isn't worth doing once you have heating on though.


If you only have a few clothes to dry and you have the heating on then placing them on, above or close to the radiator will help speed up drying time. Delicate items can be damaged by being placed directly on the radiator.

If you use another form of heat source, check the safety of having it near clothes.

Summary of the most cost effective way to quickly dry washing

Use a high spin speed so clothes are as dry as possible to start with.

Space clothes out on an airer.

Place a dehumidifier near to the airer with the fan directed at the clothes.

If you have heating on anyway, place the airer near the radiators.

The fastest ways to dry washing inside
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I have always wondered about the secret of drying clothes inside. I much prefer to dey outside truth be told, but it obviously can't always be done.