How Long Does It Take to Air-dry Your Clothes?

How you dry your clothes is equally as important as how you wash them because the drying mode determines the smell of the clothes. For this reason, it’s advised you air-dry your clothes because it’s safer and rid your clothes of germs. That said, how long does it take to air-dry your clothes? What factors determine this time?

Why Should You Air-dry Your Clothes? Here Are 5 Reasons To Do So


It makes your clothes smell fresh

The sun’s contact with clothes has proven to be a fool-proof odor removal. When you air-dry your clothes, the fabric is exposed to the sun rays and fresh, natural air, which infuses freshness into your garments.

It saves time and energy

Using a dryer to dry your clothes requires time and patience. You’ve to set the timer or go through the stress of checking your clothes often to prevent them from burning.  On the other hand, air-drying your clothes is easier and less time-consuming. You don’t need to know how to set a mechanical timer. All you’ve to do is spread your clothes on the line and let nature do its work.

It disinfects your clothes

Research shows that air-drying has a natural bleaching and disinfecting effect on your clothes. The sunlight kills the germs in your clothes and makes it impossible for bacteria and fungi infestation to survive in your fabrics.

Also, air-drying your clothes works hand-in-hand with the bleaching powder used for whitening your clothes. Now you know what to do if you want your whites sparkling.

It preserves your clothes

Do you know that using dryers to dry your clothes often affects the clothes’ quality? Some fabrics aren’t heat-resistant, and subjecting them to high heat significantly reduces the quality and longevity of the materials. But with sun-drying, it’s different. You have nothing to be afraid of because the sunlight has the proper heat suitable for every fabric type. Find out more in this video:

It is environmentally friendly

You are doing the environment a lot of good when you choose to spread your clothes on the backyard clothesline. Not only are you reducing the use of fossil fuel which is quite pricey(especially if you use the dryer regularly), you’re also reducing the amount of carbon emission in the atmosphere.

Exposure to excess heat, household accidents, etc., are some cons of using a machine dryer. The air-drying process is a safer, natural process that doesn’t put people and fabrics in harm’s way. Although certain environmental factors could affect your dresses, like dust and insects when air-drying,  they can’t alter the quality of your clothes.

How Long Does It Take to Air-dry Clothes Both Indoors and Outdoors?

Air-drying clothes indoors

hang dry clothes

Usually, it takes about 24 hours for your clothes to be properly dried when you spread them indoors.

Spreading your clothes indoors should only be considered if you can’t air-dry your clothes outside or if the clothes’ care label says so. You can be assured of your clothes getting just enough air to make them fresh and free from dampness. However, spreading your clothes indoors has its downsides. For example, it increases the level of moisture in the house.

It also promotes mold and mildew growth in the house, especially where the clothes are spread. The water dripping from the clothes can affect the longevity of the surfaces it drips on. Besides, it could also trigger health conditions like asthma.

On this account, if you’re spreading your clothes indoors, spread them away from your living space. You can create an indoor clothing line at the veranda or a spacious place, preferably beside the windows. Ensure you squeeze your clothes well and spread them widely. Open the windows, switch on the fan, and position the fan directly at the clothes.

Air-drying clothes outdoors

hang dry clothes

It takes about 30 minutes to 24 hours to get your clothes properly dry when hung outside. Air-drying your garment outdoors is the most common drying style. It is the choicest go-to because your clothes would have direct contact with sunlight; it’s fast (depending on the weather), economical, and you don’t have to worry about any harm, like shrinkage, happening to your clothes.

As clean and safe air-drying outdoors are,  certain factors make it seem not so perfect. Sometimes, your clothes could likely become an insect’s hideout. They can be stained with bird droppings as well.

Ensure that you get a strong clothesline and position it to face the sunlight. You can pin the line firmly against the wall or a pole. Use clothespins to hold your clothes in place too. Also,  wipe the clothesline before spreading your clothes to avoid dust or bird droppings staining your garments.

5 Factors That Affect How Long It Takes Your Clothes to Air-dry

hang drying


Before you decide to wash your clothes, especially if you need the clothes the following day or sooner, you should check the state of the weather before washing. This is because the weather plays a prominent role in how fast your clothes get dried.

If you live in a humid environment, the chances of your clothes getting dried within 24 hours are slimmer compared to a dry and sunny region. Here’s an article that provides more information.

Clothes arrangements

Have you noticed that when you space out your clothes on the clothesline, they get dry faster? As you wash clothes in small batches and spread them on the line, you give enough room for sunlight to penetrate every nook and cranny.

Spreading too many clothes on the same clothesline would lead all not getting enough sunlight. It’s also advisable to hold each end of the fabric to the line with a clothes peg to keep the clothes from falling while getting enough sunlight. This video here shows it all:

Time of the day

Clothes tend to dry faster when washed and hung earlier in the day, like between 10 AM and 12 PM, compared to air-drying them in the evening. When you spread your clothes overnight, there isn’t enough heat in the atmosphere to evaporate the moisture in the clothes. The environment is cooler, and the early morning dew also prolongs the drying process.

Fabric type

It is no brainer that how thick or thin a garment is, determines how fast it dries even after proper wringing. Thick fabrics like wool tend to hold on to moisture compared to silk or chiffon. Research also shows that dark-colored clothes dry faster than light-colored ones.


After rinsing, you have to wring your clothes properly to get the moisture out of them—proper wringing speeds up the drying process, especially for wool, cotton, etc.

There are several wringing methods, such as the machine spinner method, the classic hand wringing method, the rolling pin, and the punctured bag style. Whichever you choose, ensure that moisture is completely drained from your fabric.

How Long Does It Take To Air-dry Your Clothes According To Their Fabric Type?

air dry clothes


Usually, woolen clothes take between 12 to 24 hours to dry due to their tendency to hoard moisture. Here are a few handy tips  when air-drying your woolen clothes:

  • Wringe your wool towel, sweater, or dress well after rinsing to get almost all the moisture out of the fabric.
  • Spread your wool clothes flatly upon an iron clothing rail. You can also hold each end with a clothespin on the clothing line.
  • Use a plastic clothes peg instead of an iron peg to avoid rust affecting the fabric.
  • Finally, spread your clothes where there is direct contact with sunlight.


Depending on the type of clothes, e.g., undergarments, t-shirts, shirts, and pants, cotton materials get air-dried well between 2-8 hours. It’s one of the fabrics that quickly releases moisture when sun-dried. It’s pertinent to note that too much heat on 100% cotton materials could lead to their shrinkage. That being said, here are a few hacks for air-drying  your cotton materials:

  • Wringe your clothes properly before spreading them on the clothesline.
  • Stretch and straighten the material out after wringing.
  • Turn the dress, pants, or shirt inside out before hanging on the clothesline.
  • Ensure your clothes are hung directly under sunlight.
  • Lastly, don’t let your cotton fabrics sit under the sun for too long.

air drying clothes


It would take your denim jeans about 4 hours to get dry outdoors and about 24 hours to get dry when hung indoors. Air-drying is usually the best option for your denim as they are susceptible to fading and shrinkage when placed in a dryer. Air-drying your denim clothes doesn’t require much work; follow these simple steps, and you are good to go:

  • Wringe your denim jacket, shirt, or trousers properly before spreading.
  • Turn your clothes inside out before hanging them on the clothesline.
  • Preferably, hang each end of the fabric to receive enough air and heat.


It takes about 30-45 minutes to air-dry silk, as it isn’t a thick fabric. You can even air-dry it indoors when the weather isn’t encouraging.  Owing to the fragility, it is advisable to avoid direct sunlight when spreading your silk clothes.


Air-drying is an age-long method of drying laundry before the advent of machine dryers. Even though many people opt for machine dryers because they are reputable for their speed in drying clothes, air-drying your clothes has been proven to be a better choice. Air-drying might not be as fast as a machine dryer, but it isn’t as slow as you think, and it’s safer too.

 Air Dry Clothes

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