Tips for Drying Clothes Outside in High Humidity

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Have you ever wondered if humidity affects how long it takes to dry your clothes when you hang them outside? It does, and there are some tips and tricks that will help if you’re doing laundry in a humid area.

If you normally use an indoor clothes dryer, you won’t notice a difference. But if you like the freshness of drying clothes outside on the line, humidity will impact how long it takes.

Clothes drying on the line in a backyard

Humidity’s Effects on Drying Clothes

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture present in the air. It can affect the drying time of clothes due to its impact on evaporation.

When the air is already saturated with moisture, it becomes difficult for clothes to dry as the moisture from the fabric cannot easily evaporate into the surrounding environment.

General Tips for Any Climate

Before we look at drying clothes in each type of climate, take a look at these  general tips. Regardless of the humidity level in your area, these tips will help you get the best results when drying your clothes:

Shake out wet garments: Before hanging your clothes to dry, give them a good shake to remove any excess water. This will speed up the drying process.

Separate heavy and light fabrics: Group your clothes based on fabric weight to ensure even drying times. Heavier fabrics take longer to dry than lighter ones.

Use proper hangers: For delicate clothing items like blouses or dresses, use padded or non-slip hangers to prevent stretching or damage.

Avoid over-drying: Overdrying clothes can lead to increased wrinkles and wear on the fabric. Remove them from the drying rack or machine while they are slightly damp to minimize these issues.

Ironing or steaming: If your clothes are slightly damp after air-drying, consider using an iron or steamer to remove wrinkles before storing or wearing them.

Solutions for High Humidity

In high humidity climates, where moisture levels are consistently high, drying clothes can take what feels like forever. The excess moisture in the air slows down the evaporation process, making clothes feel damp even after hours of hanging them out to dry.

Dry indoors: If possible, choose to dry your clothes indoors. Air-conditioned rooms or well-ventilated areas with a dehumidifier can help reduce humidity levels.

You can run a clothesline in a room or hang clothing, on a drying rack, or on hangars to dry.

Use a fan: Place a fan near the drying rack to improve air circulation. This will help facilitate evaporation, even in high humidity conditions.

Time your drying: Try to dry your clothes during the driest part of the day, such as midday when humidity levels tend to be lower.

Avoid overloading: To ensure proper airflow around each garment, avoid overcrowding the drying rack or clothesline.

What About Low Humidity Climates?

In low humidity climates, where moisture levels are relatively low, drying clothes becomes much easier. The dry air promotes faster evaporation, allowing clothes to dry more quickly.

But you may run into other problems, like shrinkage and static cling.

Avoid direct sunlight: While the dry air is beneficial for drying, direct sunlight can cause fabrics to fade or become damaged. Hang your clothes in a shaded area or use an indoor drying rack if possible.

Prevent static cling: In low humidity environments, static electricity can build up on clothes. To prevent static cling, add a fabric softener sheet or use a dryer with an anti-static setting.

Quick drying times: Keep an eye on your clothes as they may dry faster than expected in low humidity climates. Overdrying can lead to wrinkling or shrinkage, so remove them promptly once dry.

Moderate Humidity Climates

Moderate humidity climates provide a balance between high and low humidity environments. If you live in this type of climate, here’s what you need to know.

Make use of natural ventilation: Take advantage of breezy days by hanging your clothes outdoors. The moderate humidity will allow for efficient evaporation without excessive drying times.

Adjust drying time: Pay attention to weather patterns and adjust your drying time accordingly. If humidity levels rise unexpectedly, bring your clothes indoors or move them to a well-ventilated area.

Consider using a dehumidifier: If you live in an area with consistently moderate humidity levels, investing in a dehumidifier can help create an optimal drying environment indoors.

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Last Updated:

December 1, 2023