Dryer dilemma — or how to line dry clothes without exposing them to pollen

My dryer has died … I've ordered the $14 part that will bring it back to life, but it won't be here until April 17. In the meantime, I have to wash and dry clothes for three people, including one clothes-horse of a teenage girl.

We've had weeks of continual high alert and extremely high alert pollen, so line drying outside isn't an option UNLESS someone here can help me think outside the box.

I've been hanging the clothes up on an indoor clothesline in my utility room, but it's taking forever to dry, especially towels and pants. 

I also hang up clothes on hangers and stow them on my bathroom shower curtain rod.

Anyone got any ideas on how to make clothes dry faster? 


Comments 26

  • AS

    Hi  - I have two drying racks that I use – they are set up during the winter and in the summer I take them outside (although we'll see – maybe I can't do the pollen anymore this summer). I really like the European style that has two "wings" that fold up or down – you can fit a lot of clothes on them. I try to place them over or near the vents so that when the heat is on it hits the clothes and helps speed up the process. I just try to plan ahead to leave them there overnight because it still does take awhile. I usually hang shirts on hangers to dry – I have a utility closet where I hang them. I also have a front loading machine, btw, so they come out already drier than in a traditional machine. Here is the link to the rack that I'm talking about – folds up a lot easier than the others and has more room on it – all the Europeans use these.



  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks, AS! I may order that clothes rack! Do you have problems with water dripping onto the floor? 

    I have, thank goodness, a front loader that definitely gets the clothes drier than they would in a traditional machine. We hang-dry a lot of DD's and my blouses and sweaters on hangers or flat anyway, but I never knew how much I relied on my dryer to handle towels and jeans. It took nearly two days for my DD's jeans to dry indoors.

    I'm wondering if I could hang them outside on a line and put plastic over them to protect them from the pollen … Boy, I can't wait until that part gets here. My dryer couldn't have gone out on me at a worse time. We got another high-pollen alert again today.

  • AS

    Nope, no dripping problems. I wouldn't put plastic over the line, then you're kind of defeating the purpose – plus you might get mildew/mold on the clothes. Yes the towels are a pain – you could iron them once they are mostly dry – that will also soften them since they come out stiff. Or put a a box fan or space heater close to the clothes (not too close!!!) if you have one. Luckily you don't have too many more days, right? It's amazing how much we miss our appliances when they don't work!!!

  • K8sMom2002

    Good point on the mold and mildew — that would be compounding the problem. I do have a small fan that I could set up — I'm going to try that!

    And thank you for your suggestion about ironing the towels. My DD is spoiled and hates the stiff feel of line-dried towels. From middle school on, I grew up on line-dried clothes, and I know well how stiff towels dried on a line are. 

    You're right! I don't have too much longer, and hopefully it will come a little quicker than advertised.

    Still, if I could figure out a way to dry more of our clothes, that would save money/electricity and wear and tear on our clothes. That was the reason my mom shifted to line drying — she said that drying clothes on a line was better for the environment (she was ahead of her time), better for our pocketbook and better on clothes. She would have agreed with something one person on the internet said about drying clothes in a dryer — the lint collector is filled with "fool's gold" because all that lint is actually fibers from the clothes.

    So you've given me some definite ideas on how I could do that. I was also looking at a wall-mounted scissor-lift accordion style clothes line, one that stretches out. I may get one of each — a folding one like you suggested that I can move over vents, etc., and the wall-mounted one. 

  • Kathy P

    I have quite a bit of clothes that I don't put in the dryer. Things like sweaters, t-shirts that tend to shrink, etc. I put them on hangers and the hang them up on the shower rod bar. When I first hang the stuff, out the bathroom exhaust fan on to get some air circulation. M not positive that it helps, but I think it does. 

    One thing my MIL does is to respin each load. So after it stops, she kind of fluffs up the stuff in the washer and resets the dial for just the final spin. On my washer, I have to figure out when the last rinse spray is and get it after that. But I use that trick on heavy things like comforters to get more water out before drying them. That might help with the heavy pants and jeans. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Ooh, cool idea, Kathy P! 

    AS, I sent my DH out to our utility room to retrieve the small fan we keep out there. He set it up to blow air in our bathroom. Hopefully that will help. 

  • Kathy P

    Do you have a dehumidifier you could put in there? Or maybe see if you can borrow one?

  • Jen

    We have a drying rack like the one AS has (I think I got it at Target).  We also have a traditional drying rack.  We use both, quite often.  They live in our laundry room which is in the basement and doesn't get much light.  However, if you're looking for things to dry more quickly, is there a spot near a window where you can put the drying rack?  

  • K8sMom2002

    Jen, there IS a spot near a window — unfortunately it is in our dining room by our French doors. I would really rather not put it there, although I can see the beauty of it — we had to put blinds up on our doors because the dining room would get so hot. 

    AS, the little fan worked really well! I think it helped speed the drying up! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Yahoo! I have a dryer, folks! 

    Saturday I walked out onto my porch to find the part had been delivered. I thought it was going to be super simple to replace it — and it would have been had the electrical arc which caused the original problem not welded the nuts to the screws. 

    It took me, my DD, my sister, and my DH to attack the problem, with helpful advice from my dad. We wound up having to saw off the nuts with a hacksaw. The actual wiring up of the new terminal block and the new dryer cord was easy. Getting the old part off — not so easy. Repairing the dryer vent that my sis accidentally kicked loose and tore the metal "cuff?" Not so easy.

    Having a dryer and hearing the sound of static electricity again? 


  • Jen

    I have to tell you that the amazon spies must've caught wind of this conversation because I started getting ads for dryer racks.   

    Hooray for a working dryer!  May it stay that way for a good, long time.

  • K8sMom2002

    Sorry that the bots are following you, Jen! And yes, it is so good to have a dryer! I actually feel very empowered that I was able to repair it. I've had to do a lot of recent repairs to appliances lately because we're in a betwixt and between zone where no appliance repair guys service our area. That means that I have to research the problem and fix it myself. 

    Let's see, in the past year, I have repaired:

    • my washer
    • my freezer
    • my dryer
    • an outlet or two
    • my steamer mop
    • my stand mixer
  • K8sMom2002

    Blessedly, yes! It's been sooo nice to have my dryer back. And an added benefit is that the new lint vent duct is working much better as well. So all that agony is worth it. 

    I still do want to get one of those racks, though, because I think it would be a great way to dry the things I hang dry. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I saw something in a store over the weekend that I wanted to share … a heated folding dryer rack. I was this.close to buying it, but I didn't. 

  • Jen

    That sounds really tempting.  I think of all the things that can't go in the dryer.  I wonder if something like that would be ok for those things.  What was the price on it?

  • K8sMom2002

    It was at a warehouse close out type of store — you know the type where they buy truckloads of stuff? I think it was about $30. The reason I didn't get it was because I wasn't sure I could trust the UL certification, as there have been reports of counterfeit goods. I thought I would try to find one from a reputable retailer and buy it, even if it were more, yanno? Haven't found one exactly like it, and I can't remember the brand. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Did I tell you that my sister gifted me with a yard sale find? It was a five dollar folding clothes rack that fits perfectly into my bathtub. No more drippy water everywhere! And it's great for laying out sweaters or other delicates that can't be hung to dry.

  • Pljohns

    oooo-what a wonderful gift!  I had one of those years ago-DH kept getting mad because he had to move it out of the bath tub to take a shower.  We don't have a spare (not used) bathroom now or I'd have another one!

  • K8sMom2002

    That IS the painful part of it, but I think DH has had enough drippy clothes everywhere to realize this is a better solution. I love my sis!

  • AS

    Actually, I have, although not as much as I used to. It's in the 90's now so they dry faster outside than in the dryer. I still do sheets and towels in the dryer, though. I thought the pollen was down but I just checked and grass pollen is high again. Oh well. It hasn't seemed to bother anyone more than any other irritants. It also helps being home during the day right now because I can take them in quickly. When we go back to school everything goes back in the dryer and I just keep my drying racks inside.

  • K8sMom2002

    I've been using my sister's gift of the folding clothes rack — very helpful, especially now that I realize I can put it in the tub to drip.  We can't dry clothes outside because of the pollen. If we could, it would be so much cheaper —  @AS – much cheaper to dry clothes on the line, and in the summer they dry quick. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm still loving the little rack that my sister gave me … I like the fact that I can put it in the tub and all the drips catch there. And I'm hanging some of our shirts on the shower curtain. I do dry clothes in the dryer, but what I can "line dry inside," I do. 

    How about everyone else? In the winter do you start to use the dryer more?

  • AS

    Gave up on drying outside because of the pollen but I still put at least half of the clothes on my rack or hang to dry – I only do towels and the kids' t-shirts/shorts in the dryer.