Here is a quick guide to help you resolve your drying problems and decide once and for all whether to air dry or machine dry your clothes.
When, where, and how you dry your clothes—by air drying or using a dryer—have an impact on how they feel and look, as well as how they fit and how long they’ll last.
So is it better to air dry or use a clothes dryer? Ideally, it’s best to air dry clothes than to machine dry them. While reducing the damage that tumbles drying causes to clothing, air drying will also save money.
Since everyone has a different viewpoint on the subject, let’s compare these two drying options to determine which one you ought to use.
Is It Better to Air Dry Or Use a Clothes Dryer?
In theory, air drying is always preferable to machine drying. By air-drying instead of using a dryer, you can save money, lessen the damage that a dryer causes to your clothes, and stop worrying about your clothes getting ruined.
Your health and the environment will benefit as well if you air dry your clothes outside. However, if you don’t have the necessary time, space, or climate, you should fall back on using a drying machine.
In the end, it all comes down to what is more practical and best suited to your needs. Just review laundry tips before your next load to prevent any unnecessary mistakes. The best drying method is ultimately the one that fits your unique home, preferences, and time constraints.
Pros of Air Drying
- Costs nothing to dry — Hanging your clothes outside to dry for free can result in significant energy bill savings when compared to using a clothes dryer, unless you use a heated clothes rack dryer, which is expensive.
- Items dry flat — The appearance of wrinkles will be lessened if you shake and spread the items before hanging them out to air dry. This can also aid in smoothing out wrinkles if dried in or close to a space that produces a lot of steam, like a kitchen or bathroom.
- No risk of damage — When you hang your clothes outside to dry, there is a lot less chance of damage than when you use the dryer. If you use wooden pegs to hang your clothes outside, you might want to make sure that the material won’t be harmed or stretched in those areas. Otherwise, a drying rack is preferable for delicates.
- Quiet — When using a clothes rack dryer, there is no tumbling or vibration. Without disrupting your day, it will quietly and gradually begin to work. However, a heated clothes rack dryer might make a little noise as it heats up if that’s what you choose.
- Better for the environment — If you are concerned about the environment, a drying rack is a better choice. As they operate, clothes dryers produce a lot of carbon dioxide. In addition, they are increasing greenhouse gas emissions by using energy to dry the clothes. Environmentally speaking, dryer sheets are also a bad idea. You won’t get any of that using a clothes rack dryer.
Cons of Air Drying
- The labor involved — There is always more time involved than we anticipate when hanging wet laundry. If you disagree, you’re probably not hanging it correctly! To allow for proper airflow, each item must be shaken and spread out with space between each other. Additionally, there is the work involved in taking it down after drying as well as in collapsing and storing the clothes rack dryer.
- Takes up space in your home — Your drying rack can take up a lot of room if you air dry your clothes indoors. If your design has wings, it can be difficult to maneuver, and once it’s collapsed, you’ll need a special place to store it. You can avoid this issue by drying your clothes outside.
- Can take a long time — Compared to a clothes dryer, a clothes rack dryer will take longer to dry. It lacks the heat of a clothes dryer, which allows the water to evaporate more quickly. By contrast, manual drying will likely take two days, though if the sun is out, you can hasten the process.
- Releases residual moisture indoors — Make sure there is sufficient ventilation if you are hanging your clothes to dry inside. The moisture that is released into the air as your clothes dry will eventually encourage the growth of mold in your home if it isn’t allowed to escape. If you’ve already noticed this problem, be sure to check out how to get rid of mold.
- Items can dry hard/rough — You may notice that your towels feel much rougher and stiffer if you hang them outside to dry rather than using a dryer. This is a result of the much slower drying time and lack of agitation to loosen the fibers.
Pros of Using a Clothes Dryer
- Convenient — Convenience is the main selling point for clothes dryers. You can load your laundry right into the clothes dryer after it has finished washing in the washing machine. The entire load can go in the dryer after it has been separated, provided you don’t exceed the capacity of your dryer.
- Fast — It also takes less time to dry clothes in a dryer than to hang them up to dry. A full load ought to be dry in a matter of hours, though the time can vary depending on the size of the load, the material, and the model in question.
- Softens your laundry — Your dryer’s contents tumble around, slamming into the walls of the drum as well as one another. The agitation keeps the fibers from adhering to one another as they dry. As the clothing moves, any water vapor evaporates quickly and uniformly. Once they emerge, this ultimately results in soft clothing.
- Takes up less space in your home — You might be surprised to learn that a permanently installed appliance is clearly preferable to a large and awkward clothes rack dryer. Since a clothes dryer occupies a fixed location in your home, it won’t cause any obstructions while it’s in use.
- Dedicated settings — Some dryers have specific settings for delicates, sportswear, bedding, and other items you might be drying. When using them, the items are receiving the best heat and time settings, ensuring they dry quickly and safely without shrinking or suffering damage.
Cons of Using a Clothes Dryer
- Costs energy — Energy consumption is the main disadvantage of using a dryer. More than you might anticipate, dryers are expensive to operate. The final cost is influenced by the model, the runtime, and your energy tariff.
- Items often don’t dry fully or evenly — Clothes dryers frequently leave the load feeling slightly damp when finished, or uneven in some places, unless you force the items to dry by using a timed setting. Sensors are typically used in situations like this to gauge the moisture content of the drum. It’s better than over-drying the laundry and ruining the clothes, but it can be inconvenient if you need to keep putting the item back in the dryer to get an even finish while wanting to wear it right away.
- Can create static — The items in your dryer will soften as they come into contact with one another, but sadly they will also generate static electricity. When synthetic items are dried, this frequently takes place. However, adding 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washer will help to reduce static. To lessen lingering static, this will function like a fabric softener.
- Loud in use — Not to be obvious, but using the dryer will also make noise in your house. You might not want it to dominate conversation if guests are coming over. Try to find a dryer with vibration reduction when shopping to minimize noise.
- Can damage laundry — Items that are damaged in the dryer are probably one of the biggest problems we have all encountered. This can easily happen when the load is over-dried — either the material ends up feeling stiff and ‘crispy’ or the item has shrunk in size, ruining it completely, unless you know how to unshrink a sweater.
- Can create wrinkles — Despite the fact that heat will theoretically loosen the fibers in your clothing as it dries, clothes dryers will, regrettably, tangle the load as it rotates, which can result in a lot of wrinkles.
- Not environmentally friendly — Because it uses energy to operate, a clothes dryer adds to greenhouse gas emissions. These also contribute to climate change by releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide as they operate.
The Final Verdict: Air Dry Vs. Tumble Dry
In the end, your preferences, time constraints, and financial situation will determine which choice is best for you. Air drying is the winner when it comes to protecting your clothing. A tumble dryer wins for speed. Convenience, expense, space, and fabric are a few additional factors to take into account.
When drying delicate clothing or when you have plenty of time, many people who own tumble dryers prefer to split their drying time between using the dryer and air drying. When drying a large amount of laundry or needing it dried quickly, they then use a tumble dryer.
Does Air-drying in Dryer Save Money?
Investigating how to air-dry clothes is one option to think about if you’re looking for ways to save money. While a dryer certainly has its benefits, learning how to air dry clothes at home—indoors or out—may help lower the cost of your energy bill.
Is It Okay to Air Dry All Clothes?
Some clothing dries faster in a machine. There are certain items that do not fair well with air drying. Towels, as well as many bulky sweatshirts and sweatpants, are best dried in the dryer. On the other hand, lighter items like linen clothing dry well on a line.
Why Are My Clothes Stiff After Air Drying?
The stiff, crunchy feel of an air-dried cotton towel is caused by a small amount of residual water “gluing” the fibers together, new research shows. Because its primary constituent, cellulose, attracts water molecules, cotton naturally holds onto water even in the driest environments.