4 Best Ways to Dry Clothes in Winter (+ Pros and Cons)

jeans drying in winter

Last updated: October 26, 2020 at 8:40 am

In a rainy country getting your clothes dry can be a challenge all year round. In winter though almost all countries in the western world will find there aren’t many rain-free days for outside drying. As it’s doubtful you’d have enough clothes not to need to wash them at all for months on end you’re going to need a way to dry clothes in winter cheaply and effectively.

If you don’t do it properly they may still be damp when you want to wear them. If your clothes take too long to dry you might find they develop an unpleasant musty small and have to be washed again. It’s a problem! Never fear though, I am here to help. Today we’re going to talk through all the options for winter clothes drying.

Best Ways to Dry Clothes in Winter

1. Tumble Dryer

Let’s kick off with the most obvious. If you regularly have problems finding a dry day to hang your clothes on the line you must have considered a tumble dryer. Let’s consider the pros and cons.


Quick – If you’re desperate for clean clothes a dryer is hands down the fastest option.

Tidiness – All of your clothes are out of sight in the machine keeping your home looking neat

Capacity – If you have space for a large dryer you can dry a lot of clothes at once.

Damp – A tumble dryer either vents its moisture out of a hose or into a drip tray. Either way, it won’t add to moisture or damp in your home.


Expense – There’s the initial expense of buying the dryer which can be anywhere from £200-£600. Tumble dryers take a lot of energy to run so if you run it regularly it could push up your power bills.

Space – A dryer is another appliance to find space for. If you live in a small flat or house this could be a problem.

2. Heated Clothes Horse

If you don’t need to dry big loads regularly then a heated clothes horse might be an option. If you haven’t heard of a clothes horse it’s just a metal frame, usually with several tiers with bars to hang your clothes over. As the name suggests a heated one heats the metal frame to dry your clothes quickly.


Cheap – A heated clothes horse costs around £30 to buy and needs substantially less electricity than a dryer. It’s a much more economical option if money is tight

Space – Clothes horses aren’t particularly large and usually fold away when not in use. You won’t need to find a permanent space for it like you would a dryer.

Fast enough – While your clothes won’t be dry as quickly as they would in a dryer they will dry fast enough not to start to smell.


Uneven – Only part of your clothes is touching the rack so they’ll dry quickest there making drying a bit uneven. The heat will radiate out though meaning they’ll dry eventually.

Moisture – The clothes will give off moisture as they dry making whatever room it’s in prone to condensation and mould. It’s always best to put the dryer in a room where you can open a window if at all possible.

Capacity – Most dryers will accommodate a lot of clothes but it likely won’t be a full wash. You may need to spend time taking dry clothes off and wet ones on to get a full load dry.

3. Radiators

Almost every house in the UK has central heating nowadays so every room will have a radiator. There are two ways you can use the radiator to dry your clothes. You can put your clothes directly on the radiators to take maximum advantage of the heat. Alternatively, you can put the clothes on a clothes horse and put it in front of the radiator.


Space – If you’re putting clothes directly on your radiators you don’t need to add anything that will take up space in your house.

Economy – If you already have your radiators on to warm your house using them at the same time to dry your clothes means it costs you nothing extra.


Moisture – As with the heated clothes horse, the clothes will give off moisture as they dry. Condensation and mould are likely. It’s always best to open a window if at all possible but this may make the room cold.

Cost – Hanging clothes on the radiator or a rack in front will block a fair bit of the heat coming into the room. If you combine this with having a window open for ventilation you may need to leave your heating on longer which will impact your fuel bills. If you are putting the heating in solely to dry your clothes at times this will increase your costs even more.

Untidy – Clothes horses and clothes hanging on the radiators can make rooms look messier.

4. Drying Pod

If you haven’t heard of one, a drying pod is a rack for your clothes surrounded by a fabric enclosure. The pod blows warm air on your clothes to dry them.


Cheap to run – One popular model only costs 15p per hour to run. If you compare that to the cost of running a tumble dryer or putting your central heating on this a far more economical option. At around £60 to buy it won’t break the bank.

Tidy – Many pods compress down for easy storage when not in use.

Gentle – A tumble dryer can be hard on your clothes, particularly delicate items. A heat pod is far less harsh

Portable – Heat pods are portable so you can put them in an unoccupied room while drying so you can leave the window open and not get cold.


Speed – Light garments will dry in about an hour but heavier ones like jeans or jumpers will take longer. In an emergency, a tumble dryer is much quicker.

Top Tips for Winter Drying

Whichever method you decide to use, always spread your clothes out evenly. They won’t dry as well if overlapped, and will also take a lot longer. If your methods needs ventilation, open up windows to get some fresh air flowing through the house, also making sure condensation doesn’t start building up.

Rotate regularly, especially if using a heated clothes horse as this method can dry clothes unevenly. If rotated, they should start to dry evenly and speed up the time it takes.

And finally, try to place your clothes away from walkways or “busy areas”. As drying clothes will almost certainly effect air quality, you don’t want to be living or working in an area where they’re drying.


Hopefully, this has given you an understanding of what your options are when it comes to drying clothes in the winter (or possibly all year round where I live!). With a little thought about what your needs are as well as a little research, you’ll find the perfect solution.

You May Also Like

About the Author: AJ

Ever since the birth of my son (also called AJ!), doing the washing has become a big part of my life. WashingHelp.co.uk was created to provide tips, guides and recommendations to make life that little bit easier.