How to Save Energy by Air Drying Your Clothes Outside

How to Save Energy by Air Drying Your Clothes Outside

How to Save Energy by Air Drying Your Clothes Outside

Air drying your clothes outside is one of the easiest ways to save energy and money while reducing your environmental impact. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to effectively air dry clothes outdoors.

Choosing a Good Location

Choosing the right outdoor location to air dry your clothes is key for faster drying and preventing dirt or damage.

Look for a Sunny, Well-Ventilated Area

  • The best spots are areas that receive direct sunlight and good airflow throughout the day. Sunlight helps evaporate moisture faster while airflow circulates drier air around the clothes.

  • Ideal locations include open yards, balconies, patios, or rooftops. Avoid shaded areas blocked by trees, buildings, or fences.

Consider Privacy and Security

  • Pick a private spot where clothes aren’t visible to passersby. This deters theft and prevents dirty city air from contaminating laundry.

  • Fenced yards, screened balconies, and rooftops with access limited to residents offer security. Avoid drying clothes in open public areas.

Keep Away From Dirt and Bugs

  • Don’t air dry near sources of dirt like gardens, grassy yards, or open windows. Airborne dust and debris can settle on clean clothes.

  • Bugs are also attracted to damp laundry. Avoid areas near vegetation that may harbor insects. An elevated or fenced-off spot is best.

Setting Up a Drying Rack or Clothesline

Investing in a good drying rack or clothesline helps maximize your outdoor space and drying efficiency.

Drying Racks

  • Freestanding folding racks offer a versatile air drying solution for small urban balconies or patios with limited space. Look for sturdy metal racks that can handle heavy loads without tipping over.

  • Multi-level racks vertically stack clothes for compact footprint. Rotating units allow access to clothes from all sides.


  • Long retractable clotheslines are ideal for open yards. Look for powder-coated aluminum or stainless steel lines that won’t rust. Sturdy poles at either end keep the line taut.

  • Umbrella clotheslines provide ample drying surface underneath. Rotate umbrella to move clothes in shadow as sun changes position.

  • Consider line height. Raise lines high enough so clothes don’t drag on the floor or impede movement underneath.

Hanging and Managing Laundry

Proper technique when hanging laundry and maintaining the drying area helps ensure clothes dry effectively.

Hang Items Loose

  • Separate clothes and hang them loosely spaced apart for maximum air circulation on all sides. Avoid overcrowding.

  • Shake items to unfold them before hanging. Hang shirts by the seams rather than just the bottom hem to keep shape.

Fasten Clothes Securely

  • Use quality clothespins that grip tightly without damaging fabric. Place 2-3 pins along the top hem of heavier items like jeans.

  • For delicate items, use skirt/trouser hangers with built-in clasps to evenly distribute weight.

Check on Laundry Frequently

  • Monitor clothes every few hours and take dry items down promptly to prevent over-drying. This helps fabrics and colors last longer.

  • If drying overnight, take everything down in the morning to avoid moisture re-absorbing from the air or dew.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

With proper maintenance and safety practices, your outdoor drying area will provide free laundry drying for years.

Clean the Drying Area Regularly

  • Dust, grime, and bird droppings can stain clothes. Frequently wipe down drying racks. Wash clothes lines occasionally.

  • Check clothespins for cracks or springs. Replace damaged pins promptly to avoid scratching clothes.

Prepare for Rain, Wind, and Nightfall

  • If rain or strong winds are forecast, take laundry down early or move under shelter like a porch. Consider using a waterproof cover over racks.

  • Don’t leave clothes out overnight. Dew and dampness can undo hours of drying. Take everything inside by early evening.

Weigh Down Light Items

  • For lightweight pieces like socks or lingerie, clip on clothespins at the hem or use delicate mesh bags. This prevents items from blowing away.

With the right setup and practices, air drying clothes outside can drastically cut electric/gas dryer usage. The fresh outdoor scent on laundry is an added bonus! Evaluate your needs and space to create an outdoor drying solution that works for your home and lifestyle.