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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: redeyedtreefr0g on August 07, 2012, 08:23:24 PM

Title: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: redeyedtreefr0g on August 07, 2012, 08:23:24 PM
Ok, please don't laugh.

I've never done laundry without machines, if we didn't have them at home- washer and dryer- then we'd go to the laundromat. I've decided to start air-drying my clothes out of necessity- this dryer is going to kill my clothes! It likes to eat anything that dangles- the count is up to one bra fatality and two near-death experiences for my absolutely favorite shirt with side ruching (gathering) through drawstrings. It was accidentally two near-death experiences because after the first incident I hadn't planned on drying anything of mine in that dryer again, but my husband "helped" with laundry.

So, I have a tiny apartment shared between my husband and I with another guy friend as roommate (so I don't want to embarrass him by having my underwear out in easy viewing). Our closet has space for hanging clothes in, but drying clothes needs airflow doesn't it? I have plenty of hangers finally, and I thought I could hang most clothes on hangers, and use a few more for bras and underwear- those are the only things that will not be stored on hangers. I don't have one of those nifty zig-zag rack things that MMM has.

Can I dry things efficiently on hangers? I have a small balcony I could put things outside to dry (I love walking out there), but the walls have siding, so I don't think I could mount lines out there unless they were on the railing. The railing is at the two adjacent corners, not across from each other. How much space would the hangers have to have between them, does each article of clothing need to not touch anything else?

I've never not used a dryer. Although my mom always used to say she liked the roughness of line-dried towels, I never saw her use a clothesline. Any tips or tricks would be welcome!

(For the laundromat we just moved away from, the cost of drying was 3/4 or more of the whole trip cost!)
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: fidgiegirl on August 07, 2012, 09:09:42 PM
I think in your case you need a good rack.  At least that is what we use for indoor drying.  We have this one:  (I experimented and it fits a whole load).  And your roommate might just have to get used to seeing your undies, or if you really really really can't get past that, put JUST your undies in the closet, but yes, with air between them.

If I understand correctly, your shirts/pants ultimately hang on hangers?  I used to do mine that way, but you will have to experiment a little.  Some shirts won't like to hang normally on a hanger when wet (they will stretch out of shape) and some will be fine.  I had the best luck with pants in those sandwich-type hangers and hanging them upside down.

If you stick with the hanger plan, I am envisioning something for your balcony - perhaps you could zip-tie two poles kitty-corner from each other onto the balcony rail, but going further up.  Then attach a rod of some kind between them.  Then at least in nice weather you could hang the clothing outside.  Or!  Or!  You could get one of those rolling closet-rack things at a big box and hang the clothes on it if they will be on hangers, but out in a bedroom or other open area, not in a closet.

You don't need a TON of room between the clothes, but they can't hang just as they might in your closet.  There does need to be air circulating among them.  Similarly, it wouldn't be a good idea to, say, fold your pants in half and hang them over the hanger.  They'd never dry.

Give it a shot.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with!  It's pretty easy, and if some method is not working, invent another one . . .
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: redeyedtreefr0g on August 07, 2012, 09:47:49 PM
The rolly-pole idea is great! Sort of like an open-air movable closet.

I also hadn't thought of using the balcony like that. My grandmother has a rod hanging in her garage- I might be able to screw some hooks up into the roof (like people hang plants and windchimes from) and have a suspended rod- that way the siding wouldn't be ruined, and I wouldn't trip over it when not in use! Have to make sure to find sturdy places up there though for the weight.

Right now I figured my pants couldn't possibly dry the way they get stored (folded in half lengthwise- butt to butt, and then folded in half over a hanger), so instead they are hung similar to that, but with each leg over a different hanger, and those two spread apart. I figured that way air can get to all the parts? I may have to flip them.

Thanks for your reply, I love your enthusiasm :D
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: totoro on August 07, 2012, 10:31:23 PM
Almost all of asia uses their small balconies to dry clothes.  They have rods or small lines on the balcony and a variety of hangers like these:
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: Jamesqf on August 08, 2012, 12:02:55 AM
I second the drying rack suggestion.  How well it will work is going to depend on your local climate (and weather - you learn to do laundry on sunny days).  Here in the Great Basin (where humidity is only a rumor) drying on a line is about as quick as a dryer most of the year.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: igthebold on August 08, 2012, 06:38:08 AM
I third the drying rack, especially if you live in a dry climate, which I don't. :( I have one similar to this one ( but the one fidgiegirl recommended looks nice, and more sturdy.

Hangers actually work well for certain kinds of shirts for me (lightweight poplin up to oxford cloth), but you have to be careful to make sure they dry fast enough (need air flow) and that your hangers don't damage the cloth (i.e. no wire hangers for shirts).

Also, velocistar237, in other posts, has mentioned this spin dryer ( I'm considering it myself since I live in a humid climate, and this would speed up the line drying process immensely, especially if I had to do it indoors.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: galaxie on August 08, 2012, 06:50:23 AM
I hang up my pants to dry exactly the way I hang them on a hanger.  I haven't had issues with them drying any slower than the rest of my clothes.  I suppose jeans would dry slowly but I don't wear them often because I can't in the office. 

Putting pants on a hanger on your planned balcony rod would totally work.  Hanging them with the legs apart would make them dry faster but it might also be so much trouble you start to hate it.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: redeyedtreefr0g on August 08, 2012, 12:26:08 PM
Well, everything DID dry. It took them overnight to do it, but I suppose that doesn't matter as long as my husband can navigate to what he needs in the closet. My pants dried just fine except for the waistband. I unzipped the fly and unbuttoned them to dry out the rest of the way.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: shadowmoss on August 08, 2012, 01:59:13 PM
Apologies to those who have read this several time...

I put a second rod, compression type you can buy at a hardware store that doesn't need extra hardware to install, just twist, along the middle of my shower, high enough to be out of the way.  I use that to hang my 'underfrillies'.  It has the bonus of any dripping goes into the shower.  The disadvantage of not being able to use the shower while things are drying.

I also use inflatable hangers to put my tops on to shape them and hold the sides away from each other so they dry faster.

I also use the spinner to spin things very dry before I hang them.  Gets more water out than the spin cycle on the washer since it spins faster.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: erasmus42 on August 08, 2012, 02:07:48 PM
I second shadowmoss's idea of using the shower.

We have two bathrooms, and not enough room indoors to dry clothes.  We put the clothes on hangers on the shower curtain rod in the second shower.  In our dry climate the clothes are dry within a day, so it could work with one shower.  If the bathroom gets humid, we turn on the bathroom fan and close the door.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: mugwump on August 08, 2012, 02:45:54 PM
I use a drying rack for underwear and tees, and I have a curtain rod over the washer-dryer area where I hang buttoned shirts.  Pants I dry with the legs draped over two hangers, shaped like the letter 'm', or I use clothes pins with hangers on an extra shower rod in front of the shower, legs up and waistband down. Jeans I will often use two hangers for.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: happy on August 08, 2012, 04:50:08 PM

I mostly line dry but if not:

I use  a drying rack and one of the wheelie portable wardrobe rack thingies (what are they called). Shirts and dresses go onto hangers. This saves on ironing.

In winter the racks go in front of our gas heater which is going anyway.

Not sure what you have in your apartment but if you can put the racks where the air is moving it will work much better eg on the balcony if there is a breeze,  near heating outlets (take care not too close, or so that clothes fall on top and cause a fire), or airconditioning outlets.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: kisserofsinners on August 08, 2012, 05:04:56 PM
Drying rack with the undies in the middle/bottom bars for discretion.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: redeyedtreefr0g on September 30, 2012, 06:39:35 PM
So, I have successfully boycotted our dryer!!

I tried drying clothes in the closet, which worked, but took up a lot of space and a whole bunch of extra time. Over the shower rod lasted about 3 hours until my husband got home from work and needed to take a shower, hehe.

I ended up using ratcheting straps that were laying in a tangle out on the porch- I tied them across the corner of the balcony in three lines. They sag quite a bit with clothes on them, but I try to use socks underneath the hanger hooks to keep them from sliding together. Clothes are dry super-fast ow if the sun is shining!

I found out that my size is a great advantage: my pants JUST fit onto a regular hanger! The waistband is usually tighter than the area just beneath it, so my pants and skirts won't fall off, and they can hang straight without having to be folded over anything. My ratchet straps are low, though, so I have to lay the bottoms of the legs out flat once they reach the ground.

I also seem to have had one other huge victory just this morning- my husband has decided that he hates seeing my laundry segregated from his (which still go into the dryer). The smaller loads for his items means they aren't getting washed as often and so he's running out of things, and he also hates seeing my clothes still in a pile on the floor after he asks me to do laundry and I wash whatever of his clothes are dirty. He told me this morning to just hang everything! Except his towel- he is not a fan of the scratchy feeling.

My only problems now are that I don't have the space for ALL our clothes (unless I catch up and stick to small loads), his clothes are much larger than mine. I need something further off the ground. I've asked Craigslist (http://"") to see if anyone has a clothing rack they don't want, but it seems silly to waste time doing that when I likely won't get a response and they are only $15 at Walmart. ( Also- I'm not sure how to hang his pants. Being so much larger they won't fit nicely like mine do onto a hanger. Perhaps I can rig hangers with clothespins? I didn't like trying to fold the leg over a hanger and spacing them out because it caused a crease, and used two hangers and extra space for just one item of clothing.

But anyway- SUCCESS!
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: Nudelkopf on September 30, 2012, 09:10:00 PM
Perhaps I can rig hangers with clothespins?
You mean, like a normal pants hanger?


Edit: Oh, unless his waist is too large for the normal length ones (maybe those big man shops would sell wider ones?). Or you could somehow put two together, to spand the waist band.
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: fidgiegirl on October 01, 2012, 06:30:50 AM
I use hangers like this for pants:


and hang by the bottoms of the legs, not the waist!  I have gotten many plastic versions cheap-o at the thrift stores in my area.

If you are going to dry towels, hopefully at least you will have a full load of them!

Triumph!!  I was just wondering how you were doing yesterday.  :)
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: redeyedtreefr0g on October 01, 2012, 08:50:01 PM
Triumph!!  I was just wondering how you were doing yesterday.  :)

fidgiegirl, you just made my day!
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: kisserofsinners on October 02, 2012, 03:07:23 PM
Thanks for the update!
Title: Re: How to hang-dry clothes?
Post by: Erica/NWEdible on October 03, 2012, 01:02:45 AM
I converted a wooden baby gate type thing into a wall mounted clothes drying rack. I love it. It lays flat to the wall when not in use but pops out for massive drying storage when I need it. If I need to get past it while it's propped up I just collapse it with clothes and everything still on it. When I'm done it's easy to set back up. And it was essentially free. You can see details here if something like this might work in your space: