How Long Does it Take for Clothes to Dry?

Whether using air drying or a dryer, many of us wonder how long it takes for clothes to dry. Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. In this article, I will tell you all about drying time and drying methods fit for any type of clothes you have.

Sun Dry (Outdoor Drying)

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Letting the sun and air do the work is one of the oldest and most energy-efficient methods when it comes to drying clothes. Just hang your clothes in a clothing rack and let them dry.

Air drying has an estimated process time of 1 to 7 hours. These long hours in between the estimation are due to the fact that with air drying, a lot of factors are considered.


  • Since this method doesn’t require you a dryer, you can cut costs on your electrical bills.
  • You don’t need a lot for this method, just a simple drying rack or room is enough to completely dry out your clothes.
  • If it’s sunny outside, you can dry out even the big king-size bedsheets completely.
  • The ultraviolet rays from the sunlight can kill off any bacteria that remain after washing.


  • This method is not suitable for the rainy season as you need direct heat from the sunlight to dry out your clothes.
  • If you are in a less than pleasant area, you can get grime and dirt on your washed clothes.
  • Not properly lining them up can cause wrinkles and folds as it dries out.

If you live in a relatively sunny area, sun drying is a good way to dry your clothes and save both money and equipment. [4 Methods To Dry Clothes Without Dryer]

Tumble Dryer

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By using a mechanical dryer, you can ensure a fast and reliable way to dry your clothes. A tumble dryer can dry your clothes in just 10 to 20 minutes, especially if you increase the temperature settings.


  • As this method doesn’t rely on the sun, it’s very useful for the rainy season.
  • It’s time-efficient, if you want a quick and easy way to dry clothes, the tumble dryer is the one for you.


  • Since the tumble dryer rotates the clothes around, it can create static causing lint and dirt to easily stick to your clothes. If this happens then don’t worry, we have a guide to help you with that.
  • Mechanical dryers can rack up your electricity bill.
  • Dryers can cause your clothes to shrink. If you are not careful with your dryer, the high temperature that is meant to dry your clothes will also be the one to shrink them.

Flat Drying

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If you have delicate clothing, flat drying is the method for you. Since you will lay the clothes flat, you won’t stretch any fabric out. With flat drying, the estimated drying time is 5 hours to 24 hours.


  • Flat drying is energy efficient, only needing a flat space and the sun.
  • It’s suitable for knitwear and another delicate type of fabric.


  • It relies on the sun, so you can’t use this method during rainy and dim days.
  • You need a large and clean space for this method to work.
  • You need to check on your clothes every once in a while. Since it’s laid flat, your clothes are very susceptible to dirt and grime.

Indoor Drying

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Indoor drying is mostly done as a last resort as it takes a lot of time. If you don’t have a tumble dryer or a wringer, you can have an estimated 6-24 hours of the drying process. This method is mostly done if direct sunlight is not accessible.


  • This process can be done in the rainy season.
  • Your clothes are not exposed to germs and grime.


  • It takes a lot of time. Since there is no source of heat, the drying time is much longer.

Drying Time of Different Fabrics

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The following information below is just an estimate. It’s subject to change with what method you are going to use. It can be shorter or longer depending on the different factors such as drying methods and weather.

The table below is an estimated drying time depending on the fabric. To see more information, read further below.

Type of Fabric Outdoor Drying Time Indoor Drying Time
Polyester 1 ½ to 3 hours 2 to 5 hours
Cotton 2 to 4 hours 3 to 6 hours
Nylon 2 to 4 hours 3 to 6 hours
Denim 4 to 6 hours 5 to 8 hours
Wool 3 to 5 hours 4 to 6 hours
Silk Not recommended Less than an hour
Linen 3 to 5 hours 4 to 6 hours


Polyester is estimated to dry in 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Since it’s a synthetic fiber, it’s designed to be as efficient as possible. It soaks up a lot less water compared to natural fabric such as wool. It has the shortest drying time among all types of fabrics.

This fast drying time is why it’s recommended to choose polyester or other synthetic fabrics when traveling.


Cotton has an estimated drying time of 2 to 4 hours. Since cotton has a more absorbent material, it soaks up a lot more water during the washing process. You can cut off the drying time by wringing out as much excess water as you can.


Nylon, like polyester, is a synthetic fiber that dries faster than some other fabrics. It generally has a drying time of 2 to 4 hours when dried outdoors. The fast drying time with synthetic fabrics is fur to the fact that they are not made with natural fibers causing them to hold a lot smaller amounts of water.


Denim is estimated to dry from 4 to 8 hours. As this material is very heavy and thick, it’s has a very slow drying process. It’s recommended to put them under direct sunlight for a faster drying time. If you want to see a quick-drying process for denim, you can watch it here.


Wool is a surprisingly nonabsorbent fabric despite being heavy. Depending on how thick your clothes are, it’s estimated to dry from 3 to 6 hours, almost the same as cotton and other synthetic fabric. You can speed up the process by putting your wool clothes under direct sunlight.


Silk is estimated to dry in less than an hour. Since it’s a lightweight and non-absorbent fabric, it’s the fastest one to dry. It’s not recommended to put silk under direct sunlight as it can cause damage to the clothes. However, you can safely dry it indoors.


Linen fabric can take up to 3-6 hours to dry. This can be sped up if exposed to direct sunlight. As linen is a natural fabric, it’s not recommended for tumble dryers as it can easily shrink.

Tips on How to Dry Your Clothes Faster

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If you still have difficulty with drying out your clothes, here are some time-efficient tips to do it.

Wring out your clothes

If you are using a washing machine, you can easily wring out your clothes by turning it to the fastest rotating cycle or also called high-spin wash, and letting it squeeze out the water from your clothes. The fast-spinning will remove a good amount of excess water making the drying time a lot shorter.

If you don’t have access to a washing machine, wringing your clothes by hand is also fine. You can squeeze the water out before hanging it to dry.

Use an Electric Fan

If you want to dry out a few pieces of clothing, you can do it by placing them in front of a fan to dry out can decrease the drying time. This method is great if you have an urgent need for one or two pieces of clothing.

Just hang your clothes and put them in front of the electric fan. It can take from 2-5 hours for your clothes to dry out depending on the type of fabric you have.

Use a Hairdryer

If you want to dry out smaller pieces of garments such as socks or underwear, a hairdryer might help you.

Just turn it to the hot setting and let the hot air blow on your clothes. Be sure to wring out as much water from your garments before using this method so that it can be done faster.

Using a Towel

This method is good for a small amount of clothing only. Just get a dry towel, place the piece of clothes on top and roll it up like a burrito. Then, you can either squeeze or press it down.

The towel will soak up the excess water and cut off your drying time to just 1 to 2 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer to make it even faster. Depending on how thick your fabric is, when using a hairdryer, the drying time might only take from 10-20 minutes.

If you still have difficulty understanding this method, you can watch the process here.

It’s good for one-off clothes and if you are in a hurry.

In Conclusion

Whether in what process we decided to dry our clothes, we want it to be as efficient and fast as possible. We hope our guide and tips helped you with drying your clothes. If you have more questions or suggestions, make sure to comment it down below.

Quick Tips for Faster Clothes Drying

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