How to Air Dry Clothes in an Apartment (And Avoid Wrinkles)

How to Air Dry Clothes in an Apartment (And Avoid Wrinkles)

If you're living in a small apartment, figuring out how to dry your clothes without a dryer or an outdoor space can put you in a pinch. Or maybe you'd rather not use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes because you have delicate or unique items, or you're looking to decrease your carbon footprint.

Either way, the lack of space is still an issue. So what can you do?

You can air dry clothes in an apartment by using a drying rack indoors or outdoors. If you don't have a drying rack, you can hang clothing inside your shower or roll them into towels to remove water. If you have enough space, you can purchase a compact electric dryer. 

If you're interested in finding out which drying system is best for your apartment, read on! The rest of this article will detail various drying racks, how to keep your apartment dry, and how to dry your clothes outdoors.

Drying clothes in an apartment

Luckily, there are various ways to get those wet clothes dry! The fastest way to dry clothes in an apartment is by hanging them on a rack with exposure to a heat source.

What works best for you depends on the space you have, so I'll go over a few options below. You're bound to find something that works for drying your clothes in a limited space!

Radiator clothes drying rack

A radiator clothes dryer can also dry clothes inside and is ideal for limited space. You can simply attach the rack to your radiator or above a heating vent to safely hang a few items near a current of warm air to speed up the drying process.

Alternatively, if you don't have a heat source, you can put this rack on an air conditioner or keep it wall mounted near a window to let in a fresh breeze.

These drying racks can also be helpful for rainy days, as they can be placed inside your apartment near your heating vents! However, be sure to remove excess water from your newly washed clothes, or put a towel beneath your rack, because you don't want water from your wet clothes dripping onto the floor inside!

Excess moisture in your apartment can lead to water damage and mould. But if you have to dry your clothes inside, how can you prevent this? Keep reading to find out!

Ceiling-mounted drying rack

Ceiling clothes dryers (sometimes also called a pulley rack) are popular in small apartments and are generally installed on the balcony to free up indoor floor space. These racks are mounted to the ceiling and operate using a pulley system that allows you to adjust the height of the rack for easy arrangement of your clothes.

These racks are a great indoor or outdoor solution because they save space; when you aren't using them, they fold up nicely into the ceiling! Because they're so popular, there are many excellent ceiling-mounted racks on the market today!

ceiling mounted drying rack

Wall mounted folding rack

A wall-mounted rack is another great option for a folding rack that saves space, making it a popular choice for people in small apartments.

Like the ceiling rack, these are mounted to the wall and fold out so you can drape clothes over them. Pull out vertical racks like these can close up against the wall for easy storage and are barely visible!

Wall Mounted Folding Rack

Foldable clothes drying stand

A simple collapsible folding drying rack is always a great choice. These are lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. These racks come in many different materials (steel, solid wood, or plastic) and shapes, so finding one that fits your apartment should be no problem.

These racks are also the best solution for drying larger or heavier pieces of clothing as they provide a flat surface where items can dry evenly and avoid wrinkles.

Unlike the other racks discussed above, these drying racks take up floor space, so if you have minimal living space, you may want to reconsider. However, you could always move it outside!

Invisible drawer dryers

If you're able to make modifications to your small apartment, invisible drawer dryers can be a great and stylish solution! These are flat drying racks that are built in to kitchen drawers, making them blend seamlessly with your decor.

When you need to dry your laundry, just pull out your drawer! Invisible drawer dryers are a huge space saver, but you'll have to sacrifice some kitchen space. Still, a drawer like this takes up less space than electric dryers do!

Shower rod

What if you don't have the space or the budget for a larger drying system? Or maybe you only have one or two items that require air drying. Well, most apartments already have a great solution for drying your clothes: a shower rod!

You can use your existing rod or hang another one just behind it, giving you extra space for drying. Hang all of your clothes on hangers and attach clothes hangers to the rod. You can also speed up the process with another common bathroom staple: a hair dryer. It's as simple as that!

Where do people dry clothes in apartments?

Now that you've got your hands on a drying rack, where should you put it? Well, most people who live in a small apartment opt to put a rack or clothes line on their balcony.

Because of the breeze and warm air (if it's warm, that is!), this method can dry clothes fast, getting all your laundry fully dry within a few hours.

If you don't have access to the outdoors for air drying clothes, or if the weather isn't good, you can hang your clothes inside using a drying system discussed above.

where do people dry clothes in apartments

Is it okay to dry your clothes indoors?

Well, added humidity in your home can cause mould or spores to form, so it's preferable to dry your laundry outside if you can. If you're absolutely unable to do so, keep your clothes well ventilated on a drying rack, speed up the drying time with a heat source (radiator, hair dryers, or heat vent) and work on removing moisture from the air.

In order to do that, it's as simple as opening a window! This allows moist air to escape and fresh air to flow inside. If you can't open a window due to weather constraints, consider using a dehumidifier to regulate the moisture level in your apartment and prevent mould. An air filter is also a good addition, because it can remove allergy triggers like spores from the air.

How long does it take to air dry your clothes in an apartment?

It generally takes 24 to air dry clothes inside. You can dry clothes more quickly by adding heat, such as a hair dryer or space heater. However, it may take up to 72 hours to dry all the clothes.

Avoid layering too much laundry on your racks because it can slow the drying time. Hang your clothes evenly over a minimum of one inch to allow for airflow. Be sure to turn your items every couple of hours to allow them to dry evenly!

How can I dry my clothes without a balcony or drying rack?

If you don't have access to a rack or drying line, an outdoor space, or a shower with a rod, what else can you do? For starters, put your laundry on a high spin cycle to remove excess water. Then, you can roll your laundry tightly in towels to further remove moisture. Finally, hang dry your clothes on a coat hanger somewhere well ventilated.

Is it illegal to air dry clothes on a balcony?

In the United States, drying clothing on your balcony is not illegal. However, by-laws vary by location, and individual renters or landlords may have their own community rules for whether or not you're allowed to hang clothes outside your apartment.

Many of these rules are in place because most Americans chose to dry their laundry with a dryer as opposed to manually airing them out. However, this doesn't mean you can't dry your clothing outside!

Get in touch with your landlord to determine whether or not you can dry your laundry outside. If not, you've got plenty of options for drying clothing inside without a dryer!

Can I put a dryer in my apartment?

If air drying your clothing isn't your thing, but you live in a small apartment without access to a dryer, what else can you do? Well, it's possible to get an electric, apartment-sized dryer!

One of these can be a great option to meet your laundry needs. While it can take hours or days to dry a week's worth of washing, a portable dryer can do it in no time.

Of course, one of these are downsides when compared to other options - mainly cost and space. But if you value your time, it might be a worthwhile purchase!


Once you've done your washing, there's always the problem of drying it, no matter where you are. In small apartments, this issue is only compounded by lack of access to amenities, outdoor drying lines, and interior space. But there's always a way to get around that!

Drying your clothes inside is a viable and sustainable option for small apartment renters, and there are a variety of tools that help you get the job done. From air drying outdoors to setting up a rack inside, you can easily get your washing dry without a dryer!