One of my earliest laundry memories was hanging clothes outside with my mother on a portable folding drying rack with plastic lines between the metal poles. We had it so long that I was able to take it with me to my first apartment, where I used it on my balcony until it finally fell apart.
Very few people dry their clothes on the line, these days, but there are still benefits to letting your clothes dry the old-fashioned way (or something like it).
#5: Don’t Waste Time Repeat Drying Items After The First Pass
If you’ve just taken your laundry out of the dryer, yet you find that a few stray items are still a bit damp, rather than throw those few items back in the dryer, hang them up in the shower or lay them out on the back of a chair to air-dry for a few hours.
#4: Don’t Throw Items With Pesky Stains In the Dryer Until You Are Certain The Stain Won’t Come Out
Sometimes it takes more than one or two attempts to treat and permanently remove certain stains from our laundry. Sure, the stain is fading, but it’s not gone, yet. If you toss that item in the dryer before you are sure the stain is never going away, then it will likely become permanent. Air-dry it and wear until the next laundry day and pre-treat it, again (or leave it be until then). Repeat as necessary, until you believe your efforts are futile, then dry as normal with the rest of your laundry.
#3: Limit Further Damage To Already Precarious Items
If you have an item that you have discovered is damaged, from wear and tear for instance, such as the inseam of your leggings or the lining has become separated in a blouse, it is best to air-dry rather than toss such items in the dryer. Certain fibers tend to shrink in the dryer, so the lining in your blouse will be impossible to repair if any shrinkage takes place. Lay these items out or hang them in the shower until you have time to mend them or take them to the dry-cleaner or tailor to repair.
#2: Dryer Shrinkage: The Struggle Is Real
Denim jeans, sweaters, lingerie, nylon, rayon, and spandex should not be tossed in a dryer, if you can help it (if you must, only on very low temps). I won’t lie, I love the feel of toasty laundry fresh out of the dryer, but that very hot dryer is doing a lot of damage to the fibers of your clothes; particularly, synthetic fibers. If the item is prone to stretching when wet (sweaters, for instance), then it’s best to lay heavy items out a flat surface to air-dry (the item will maintain its shape better in the long-term). Lightweight items, lingerie, t-shirts, leggings, can be hung on hangers (or put on a traditional clothesline, if available). Be sure that the room where you air-dry your laundry has good air circulation so your items will be dry within a few hours.
#1: Per Manufacturer’s Instructions
Some rules were made to be broken, but if you don’t abide by the manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for your laundry, you could learn to regret it. Limit wear and tear and extend the life of your laundry by abiding the manufacturer’s label as often as possible. Items that manufacturers typically recommend air-drying: lingerie, sheer t-shirts and tank-tops, lace, and hats.
Air-drying your laundry will take a bit of effort, time, and patience but it will help extend the life and limit the wear and tear on your clothes, making it worth the effort.