What is the best way to dry your clothes?

The absolute best way to dry your clothes is to peg them up outside and let the wind dry them naturally. This is very low cost, and uses no gas or electricity as the wind and the sun do all the work. It can even help with the ironing as a breeze will help smooth out wrinkles. However, this option is not always possible. Some clothes labels state they should not be dried outside, many people have no outdoor space and it is often not the weather for it. We have looked into the alternatives for indoor clothes drying to determine which is the most the best method.

A popular choice is to use a tumble dryer. These can be very expensive to buy and cost between £30 and £100 a year to run. Although they are not particularly environmentally friendly, they do dry clothes a lot quicker and energy used can be lowered by regularly checking if the clothes are dry and not letting it run a full cycle unnecessarily. Aside from the energy and monetary concerns, tumble dryers can also shrink clothes and damage delicate items. If poorly maintained they can causes fires, tumble dryers cause 15 deaths a year this way.

A cheaper and safer indoor drying option is to hang clothes on radiators and/or use a clothes horse. Only ever hang your clothes on water filled radiators. Do not hang clothes on electric heaters, as this may cause a fire. Hanging clothes on radiators would require the heating to be on, so does use some energy. You may think that because you would have the heating on anyway, it doesn’t cost extra, but the clothes would block the heat from circulating around the room so you may need the heating on for longer. Because of this it is important to check the clothes regularly and take them off the radiator as soon as they are dry.

When drying clothes on radiators, it is important that the room is aired and ventilated properly as moisture from the clothes can become trapped inside the house and cause condensation and mould which can lead to health problems. This is also true for clothes horses. The best place to position your clothes horse is wherever there is a movement of air or a source of heat such as a boiler or radiator. 

To dry your clothes inside a bit quicker, you could invest in a heated clothes horse. Although these are fairly expensive, ranging from £79.99 to £109.99, they only cost 6p per hour to run but if you have it on for 12 hours per load and wash clothes three times a week, this all adds up to £112 a year. Another downside is that they can still take a day to dry your clothes and if the air is not ventilated, may also contribute to condensation and damp problems.

If you really must dry your clothes inside, the cheapest option would be to use an ordinary clothes horse and make sure that the room is well ventilated, open a window if you can and move the clothes around regularly, removing the dry ones as soon as possible. You may also find that adding a dry spin to the end of the washing cycle may help take some of the moisture off your clothes and so help them to dry quicker.




Cost to Run

Drying time

Effect on Home/Safety

Drying Outside



3-6 hours


Tumble Dryer


£30-£100 a year

1 hour

If not properly maintained may cause a fire.

Hanging on Radiators


Varies from house to house


Can make house feel colder and contribute to condensation if there is no ventilation, which can lead to health problems

Clothes Horse



1-3 days

Can contribute to condensation and mould if there is no ventilation which can lead to health problems

Heated Clothes Horse


2-6p per hour (£30-£110)

1-2 days


  Clare Fearon

  clothes, damp, efficiency, heating, house and home, mould, tumble dryer, warmth

Meet the Radfan family

The Radfan is the UK's most popular radiator fan and with over 4 stars on Amazon is the most effective way to feel warmer at home.

Classic Small

Classic Medium

Classic Large