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This Old School Laundry Hack Was Way Ahead Of Its Time

Ever wonder why Grandma’s clothes seemed to last forever? She did things the old fashioned way (and here's why you should too!)

While I have nothing against my dryer, I still enjoy drying my clean bedsheets out in the sunshine and fresh air every once in a while. In fact, there are certain items that I always prefer to air dry, whether it’s outside on a line or inside on a clothes rack.

If you’ve always been one to simply toss a wet load of laundry straight into the dryer without a second thought, you could be missing out on a lot of hidden benefits! Today, we’ll be exploring the many perks of air drying your laundry, as well as tips, tricks, and advice for making the most of it!

Related: 9 Dryer Mistakes That Are Wasting Your Time And Money

4 Benefits Of Air Drying Your Laundry

There are many benefits to air drying, from lengthening the life of your clothes to saving you money. Here are a few to consider:

1. It Extends The Life Of Your Clothes

The heat of your dryer helps to dry your clothes quickly, but it can also destroy elastic in your clothing. Over time, that heat can lead to a total break down of the elastic in your socks, underwear, pants with stretchy waistbands, and more.

Dryers can also lead to pilling, which are those little fabric balls that can make your clothes look frumpy and worn. Pilling is a result of friction, as the fibers are slowly rubbed thin from tumbling around inside the dryer.

Dryers can also shrink clothes, as most of us know from personal experience. The best way to avoid any accidental clothing shrinkage is to simply avoid the dryer altogether!

And finally, the heat in your dryer can also set stains and make them nearly impossible to remove. To avoid this, pretreat stains before washing, then check the stain at the end of the wash cycle. If the stain is still visible, treat the stain again and wash the item a second time before air drying your stain-free clothing item.

Related: How to Wash (& Dry) Silk Clothing

2. It Saves You Money

While drying clothes in your dryer requires electricity and thus costs you money, air drying your clothes is free! Even if you air dry just a portion of your loads of laundry, you’re still likely to see savings on your monthly power bill.

Air drying clothes can also save you some money in the form of laundry supplies, as you don’t need to use dryer sheets or other dryer products. (Cutting back on these products is also a good thing for those who are sensitive to fragrances and chemicals often found in dryer products.)

3. An Indoor Drying Rack Helps Combat Dry Air

Colder temperatures and dry air can cause the humidity inside your home to plummet, leading to dry nasal passages, dry skin, and even increased susceptibility to viruses. Drying your clothes indoors on a drying rack can help boost the humidity in your home as the moisture in your clothes evaporates into the air.

(And for more ways to fight dry air and increase the humidity in your home, check out this list!)

4. Sunlight Naturally Brightens And Disinfects

Sunlight naturally brightens, whitens, and disinfects fabrics, so it’s a great way to dry both bedsheets and light clothing. For darker clothing and linens, hanging them in a shady area, turning clothes inside out, and drying them indoors are all good options for avoiding color fading.

The Best Clotheslines And Racks For Air Drying Your Laundry

AmazonBasics Foldable Clothes Rack

No clips or clothespins are necessary with this drying rack—simply lay your items over the bars to dry. It’s small enough to set up inside most bathtubs if you’re short on space, and its lightweight steel frame makes it easy to move around and fold up for storage. I love how sturdy it is too!

Riveda Retractable Clothesline

This retractable clothesline can be used indoors or outdoors, and you’ll hardly notice it unless you’re actively using it to dry clothes. It’s 40 feet long, giving you plenty of room to hang things, although the reviewers do wish it supported a bit more weight.

AERO W Wall-Mounted Clothes Rack

This space-saving collapsible clothing rack can be mounted to any wall or door, indoors or out! Simply pull it out and hang your clothes, then push it back in when it’s not in use. It’s very sturdy and works well in most laundry rooms (even small ones!)

HAWATOUR Portable Elastic Clothesline

If you need to dry clothes while traveling or want something you can move around as needed, this portable clothesline is perfect. It’s small, lightweight, and even comes with clothespins build right in!

Now that you’ve brushed up on the benefits of air drying and know all about the best tools for the job, here are some “dos and don’ts” that will help you master the air of air drying!

Dos And Don’ts For Air Drying Your Laundry

When Air Drying Your Laundry, DO…

  • Check your local weather forecast. You don’t want to hang your laundry right before a rainstorm. And if it happens to be a particularly humid day, you’ll need to plan for additional drying time.
  • Use less laundry detergent. Scaling back on detergent will help prevent that crunchy feeling clothes sometimes have after being air dried, which is usually related to lingering detergent residue.
  • Spin it thoroughly! Use the fastest spin cycle on your washing machine to wring as much water out of your clothes as possible, and it will speed up your drying time considerably.
  • Try combining drying methods. Want the best of both worlds? Run your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes before hanging them on your line or drying rack. Even a brief amount of tumbling action and airflow will help fluff up the fibers and prevent stiffness, and your clothes will air dry quite a bit faster too.
  • Wipe your line or rack. Before hanging laundry on a clothesline or rack (especially if you use an outdoor clothesline), wipe it with a towel to pick up any dust and dirt that may be sitting on it. You don’t want that dirt to soil your freshly-laundered clothes!
  • Shake each item before hanging. Shaking each item helps throw out the wrinkles, un-bunches hems, plackets, and sleeves, and helps softens the garment. After shaking, finger press hems or plackets back into shape to help ensure they dry correctly.
  • Organize as you go. You can save yourself some sorting time by allocating a section of your clothesline or rack to each person in your household. That way, they’re already in order when it’s time to take them down and fold them!
  • Use hangers. If you need more room on your rack or clothesline, hang some of the items on hangers.
  • Store your clothespins inside. Clothespins that are left out on the line can deteriorate, get discolored, and even leave spots on your freshly washed clothes. No, thank you!
  • Fold your clothes promptly. The best way to avoid wrinkles is to fold your dry clothes as soon as you remove them from the clothesline or rack. If they get crammed into a laundry basket and left for several hours, you’ll likely need to get out the iron.

When Air Drying Your Laundry, DON’T…

  • Air dry down items. Air drying can cause the down in your jackets, comforters, and sleeping bags to dry flattened or in clumps. Instead, dry down items in your dryer along with dryer balls or tennis balls, which will help re-fluff the down as they tumble around.
  • Hang sweaters to dry. Sweaters, especially heavier ones, can get stretched out of shape when hung out to dry. Instead, lay your sweaters flat to dry to avoid stretching them out.
  • Dry your laundry outside if you have allergies. For those with allergies, avoid drying your laundry outside when your allergies are acting up. You don’t want pollen and other outdoor irritants to collect on your clothes and linens and make things worse! Dry your laundry inside on a rack instead.

Do you ever air-dry your clothes?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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