How to get the washing dry when it’s cold and wet outside

How to get the washing dry when it's cold and wet outside - Ever-changing Life of a Mum

The cold, wet weather has well and truly set in. I usually notice the drop in temperature and change of season the most when I start pulling out my jackets, scarves and boots for the first time, but also when I’m doing the washing.

Gone are the summer days of popping the clothes outside on the line and having them dry in just a few hours. Now when I hang them out, there isn’t any certainty that they will be dry by the end of the day, even if it hasn’t been raining.

So it’s time to move into wet weather mode when it comes to drying my family’s clothes. For me, that’s usually means a mixture of strategically placed clothes airers around the home as well as consciously using my dryer so it doesn’t send our next electricity bill sky high.

Here are a few of my wet weather washing tips to get help your clothes dry.

Watch the weather forecast

If it looks like even a slightly sunny day is in the outlook, plan to wash your clothes that day and get them out nice and early to take advantage of the weather conditions. Even if they aren’t fully dry by the end of the day and you still need to pop them in the dryer or on a clothes airer, at least it won’t take as long to dry if they have already had a few sunny hours outside in the fresh air.

Check your washing machine settings

When starting your washing machine, check the settings and use the highest spin cycle to reduce the amount of water left on your clothes to help them dry quicker.

Using your clothes dryer more efficiently

Usually the first thing people do when they can’t get their clothes dry on the line outside is pop them in the dryer. While there are more energy efficient, budget-friendly and gentler ways to dry your clothes, as mentioned in this post, if you do decide to use your dryer there are some ways to reduce the length of time it needs to operate, saving you both time and money:

  • Check the energy usage on your dryer and opt for one that is cheaper for you to run. A few years ago, we needed to replace my dryer and I was amazed at how much faster it dried our clothes. Our old dryer would take such a long time to run and really drive up our electricity bill in the process. Now I have a sensor dryer that doesn’t run on a set time but senses when the clothes are dry and shuts off automatically. I’m sure there are even more energy efficient models out there, but we also needed to fit the cost into our budget.
  • Woollen dryer balls - Ever-changing Life of a MumConsider using woollen dryer balls. I absolutely love these things! I came across them when looking for ways to further reduce our energy usage and bills, particular when it came to our dryer. A batch of six balls permanently live in my dryer and help reduce drying time by bouncing around the machine and helping to separate the clothes as it turns while also soaking in some of the moisture from the wet clothes.
  • Reduce the time and number of loads you need to run in the dryer by taking out towels and other heavy or bulky items, such as jeans, thicker jackets, blankets and so on, to hang on a clothes airer then place the rest in the dryer. Don’t run the dryer yet, instead wait and then do the same with your next load of washing. This often means I only need to run the dryer once by combining loads in the dryer.
Dry your clothes inside or undercover

Clothes airer - Ever-changing Life of a MumWhen drying my washing inside, I place items on a clothes airer and try to position it safely near one of our ceiling heating ducts to help speed up the process.

If you’re lacking space inside, another option is to place the clothes airer (or airers as is more often the case in my home!) outside in an undercover decking area or even in the garage.

I’m currently considering mounting a small wall hung clothes line in my laundry, however it isn’t a large space so I’m not sure if it will work well. Another option may be to mount an extendable washing line in the undercover decking area.

How do you get your washing dry during cold, wet weather? Any tips you can add?

15 thoughts on “How to get the washing dry when it’s cold and wet outside

  1. I’m in the UK right now where the weather is decidedly chilly and there is no dryer! Argh! At home, we’re not allowed to hang washing on the balcony (because silly strata) so we use a combo of dryer and airers. We got a new dryer a year or so ago and it’s much more economical, it has some sort of sensor so it stops when the clothes are dry which is great because it saves time and money!

  2. Makes it even harder when we only have an apartment balcony rather than a yard. We end up using our dryer a lot, so those tips on using the dryer more efficiently are something to think about 🙂

  3. Our clothesline doesn’t get any sun at all in winter – it’s just oddly placed – so there’s no point at all putting clothes out on the line in winter! It’s very annoying. Fortunately we have central heating, so putting the clothes airer directly over a vent is usually a winner. We also use our dryer, with dryer balls – cuts about 10 minutes off the cycle, I find.

    • Yes, our clothesline is placed around the side of our house so doesn’t get continuous sun throughout the day … I’d love to move ours further out in the backyard but that would involve taking down my kids’ swing set and that’s not really an option right now. I find that so long as the dryer is on sensor mode and isn’t overloaded that the dryer balls help with both the drying time as well as less wrinkly clothes because they bounce around the machine as it dries.

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