How to Line Dry Laundry Indoors

clothes on a drying rack

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 2 - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to 80

Whether you are hand washing sweaters and a few delicate items, have a broken dryer, or have no automatic dryer available, there will be a time when you need to line dry laundry indoors. The process is very simple with the right equipment and line drying laundry indoors does offer benefits to your budget and your clothes.

Why Should You Line-Dry Clothing?

Line drying clothes inside or outside is more gentle on fabrics than tossing and tumbling in a dryer and prevents static cling. The high temperatures in the dryer can ruin some fabrics, causing irreversible damage. Indoor drying increases the humidity level during winter months when the air in homes can become overly dry. And, line drying is energy-efficient, reduces utility bills, and prevents possible dryer fires from excessive lint.

Learn what equipment you need and how to easily line dry laundry indoors.

How Often to Line Dry Laundry Indoors

Laundry schedules vary greatly depending on the number of people in a household and the type of clothes (babies and kids always create more laundry loads). To prevent your home from being covered with drying clothes, wash a load of laundry weekly and put away the freshly dried clothes as you hang the freshly washed load.

Tip

Some items like sweaters, bras and delicate lingerie, and wool, silk, and some rayon fabrics should always be line dried.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 to 2 indoor drying racks or clotheslines
  • 12 clothes hangers
  • 12 clothes pins
  • 1 circulating fan

Materials

  • 1 bottle of laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets

Instructions

Overhead view of materials used for line drying clothing

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

How to Line Dry Clothing Indoors

  1. Select the Best Drying Rack for Your Home

    The best type of drying rack for your home depends on the space you have available, the amount of laundry you handle, and even the type of laundry you plan to dry. A collapsible rack is best for most homes, as it can be easily put away when not in use. For large loads, the weight capacity of a clothes-drying rack is important to research to determine how much wet laundry it can hold at one time.

    If you plan to dry sweaters, you need a rack that has a ventilated horizontal surface so the sweaters can dry flat. For lingerie, a retractable clothesline in the shower may be all you need. A wall or ceiling-mounted rack in the laundry room is convenient for small loads.

    Tip

    If you have the space in your laundry room, consider installing a hanging rod from the ceiling so wet clothes can be placed on hangers to air dry. Or, add an extra tension shower rod in the bathroom to create additional hanging space for wet laundry. Just remove it when you're done.

    Choosing the right drying rack

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. No Drying Rack Available?

    If you don't have a drying rack, you can still line dry clothes indoors. Use the shower rod or towel rack. Use clothes hangers to create additional hanging surfaces. Pants or skirt hangers have built-in clothes pins to grip wet items.

    Do not hang wet laundry on surfaces that can be damaged by water (uncoated metal, untreated wood, upholstered furniture).

    Alternatives to using a drying rack

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Remove Excess Moisture

    Since you want the laundry to dry indoors as quickly as possible, it's ideal to remove as much moisture from the fabrics as possible. Check the spin cycle setting on your washer. The higher the setting, the faster the spin and the more moisture that is removed.

    For hand-washed items, after squeezing out as much rinse water as possible, place them on a thick towel and roll it up to absorb as much excess water as possible before hanging the garment and the towel to dry.

    Removing excess moisture by rolling garments in a towel

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Prevent Wrinkles

    How you hang the laundry will reduce the amount of wrinkling. Give each piece of laundry a good shake before hanging to help relax the fibers.

    • Hang pants by matching up the inseams and hang them from the dryer rod with the waist down.
    • Clip the shoulders of shirts and tops to one of the dryer rods with clothespins.
    • Fold bedsheets and blankets in half or thirds and drape them smoothly over the widest dryer rod.
    • Use clothespins to hang towels and dishcloths from a dryer rod or fold them in half over the rod.
    • Reshape bra cups before hanging them over a rod to dry.
    Folding towels and garments over a drying rack

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Improve Air Circulation

    Hang items individually and with as much space in between them as possible so they will dry more quickly. Thick layers of fabric take much longer to dry. Improve the air circulation by adding a fan or dehumidifier to the drying area, turning on a bathroom vent fan, or opening windows to increase airflow. In the winter months, place a portable drying rack near a heating vent.

    Tip

    Place a drying rack away from walls to prevent the moisture from being trapped. This helps reduce the chance of mold and mildew forming.

    Opening windows and using a fan to increase ventilation

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
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