How to Save Money By Air Drying Your Clothes

How to Save Money By Air Drying Your Clothes

I used to run my dryer multiple times per week to dry my clothes, which was expensive and wasted energy. Recently, I’ve switched to air drying most of my clothes and have found it’s an easy way to save money. In this article, I’ll share why air drying clothes is worthwhile, how to effectively air dry different types of clothing, and tips for making air drying faster and easier.

Why Air Dry Clothes?

Air drying clothes instead of machine drying them can save you a significant amount of money over time. Here are some of the top reasons to switch to air drying:

  • Saves money on electricity bills – Dryers are major energy hogs, with the average cost per use around $0.25-$0.50 depending on your electricity rates. Air drying is free. For a family that dries multiple loads per week, this can easily add up to over $100 in savings per year.

  • Saves money on buying new clothes – The heat from dryers is harsh on fabrics and can shorten the lifespan of clothes. Air dried clothes tend to last longer before wearing out.

  • Better for the environment – Dryers use a lot of electricity, which isn’t great for the planet. Air drying has zero carbon footprint.

  • No shrinking or damage to clothes – Some types of fabrics like wool sweaters can shrink, and delicate items can get damaged in the harsh tumbling of a dryer. Air drying is gentle.

For me, the electricity savings and making my clothes last longer are huge incentives to use my dryer less often. It’s better for my budget and the planet.

Effectively Air Drying Different Fabrics

Not all clothes air dry the same way. Here are some tips for effectively air drying main types of clothing and fabrics:

Cotton, Linen, Rayon

Cotton, linen, and rayon fabrics are highly breathable and generally easy to air dry.

  • Hang t-shirts, blouses, jeans, etc from hangers – Use plastic or wooden hangers to minimize hanger bumps on the shoulders. Space out items so air can circulate between.

  • Lay shirts flat – Button up shirts and dry smooth on a drying rack or other flat surface. This prevents bumps from hangers.

  • Use a drying rack – Foldable metal racks let you dry a lot of laundry at once indoors or outdoors. Lay items flat or hang.

  • Hang delicates – Bras, underwear, and socks can be hung on a small indoor drying rack or clothesline. Use clothespins.

These fabrics air dry quickly, usually within hours if there’s adequate airflow.

Synthetic Fabrics (Polyester, Spandex, Etc)

Synthetics take longer to air dry than natural fabrics.

  • Lay flat to prevent dripping – Hang-drying can cause water to drip down and leave marks. Lay items flat until almost dry.

  • Turn items inside-out – This prevents water spots on the outer side of clothes.

  • Use an indoor rack – Synthetics dry faster out of direct sunlight, which can fade dark fabrics. A rack indoors works great.

Depending on humidity, synthetics may take 1-2 days to fully air dry.

Wool Sweaters & Knits

Wool and knit fabrics need extra care when air drying to prevent stretching and sagging.

  • Lay flat to dry – Never hang wool sweaters, which can stretch them out. Dry flat on top of a towel.

  • Smooth and shape – Gently smooth out the fabric and shape sweater while damp to prevent stretching.

  • Dry in shade – Sunlight can damage and fade wool fabrics. Dry indoors or in shade.

Wool can take 1-3 days to fully air dry. Ensure it’s 100% dry before wearing or storing to prevent mildew.

Delicates like Silk, Satin, and Lace

Delicate fabrics require lots of patience for air drying.

  • Lay extra flat – Use a drying rack or blocking mats to keep the fabric perfectly flat as it dries. This prevents distorting the shape.

  • Use towel or pillowcase – For slippery fabrics like silk or satin, place inside a towel or pillowcase before drying flat. This prevents friction that could snag threads.

  • No direct sunlight – Sunlight can damage delicate fabrics. Dry in shade or indoors.

  • Smooth often – Periodically smooth out the fabric while drying to prevent creases from setting in.

These fabrics can easily take 1-2 days to fully air dry. Hand-wash only recommended.

Tips for Faster, Easier Air Drying

While air drying takes longer than machine drying, there are ways to help speed up the process and make it more convenient.

Increase Airflow

More airflow = faster drying time. Ways to improve airflow:

  • Use fans – Position fans near clothing to blow air directly on them. Ceiling fans or box fans work great.

  • Open windows – Open windows and interior doors to maximize cross-breezes.

  • Dry outside – Clothing dries fastest when hung outdoors in breeze and sun.

  • Space items – Don’t overload racks or clotheslines. Space everything out so air can circulate all around.

Control Humidity

Lower humidity makes drying go faster. In humid climates:

  • Use dehumidifiers – Portable or whole-home dehumidifiers reduce indoor moisture.

  • Run AC – Air conditioners reduce humidity as they cool.

  • Avoid basements – Hang-dry clothes on main floors instead of damp basements.

Time It Right

Do laundry when you can maximize drying conditions:

  • Dry on sunny days – The sun’s energy helps evaporate moisture quickly.

  • Dry in mornings – Cooler morning temperatures have lower humidity.

  • Avoid rain – If showers are expected, wait until the weather clears to do laundry.

Proper planning saves time waiting for clothes to dry!

Consider Drying Accelerants

Products like drying sprays can speed up air drying:

  • Fabric softener sheets – Clip a used softener sheet on garments as a drying accelerant.

  • Drying spray – Lightly mist laundry with spray as you hang items.

Be sparing with products to avoid residue buildup on fabrics over time.


Air drying most of your laundry at home is an easy route to lower electricity bills and making clothes last longer. While it takes more time upfront, a little planning goes a long way. Follow these tips to air dry different types of fabrics successfully and speed up drying time. Soon you’ll master the art of air drying and cut way back on running your clothing dryer.