Why You Should Think Twice Before Hang-Drying Laundry Indoors

To prevent using unnecessary energy in the home and maintain the longevity of their clothes, many people choose to avoid using tumble machine dryers and opt to air dry their clothes after washing them. Though hanging your laundry outside on a clothesline is an efficient way to dry each item naturally, the weather doesn't always permit doing so. But should you hang your clothes indoors to dry instead? Research says no, if you can avoid it. 

Not only does air drying your laundry indoors take longer, it can lead to unhealthy levels of humidity in your home. While line drying your laundry outside allows the evaporated moisture to escape into the fresh air, when doing the same inside, the moisture from your laundry gets trapped within four structural walls, creating a much more humid environment. "Moist environments encourage the growth of mold, which can release 'seeds' called spores," explains Pheena Kenny of the Asthma Society of Ireland, warning that the spores can cause allergic reactions in some people and worsen symptoms of those with asthma. "Mold and fungal spores are often invisible to the naked eye."

In addition to increasing humidity levels in your home, textile and apparel expert Elena Karpova tells The Washington Post that air drying your laundry indoors can leave it with a lingering musty smell when it's finally dry due to the increased time it spends saturated with water. So, what can you do to curb these issues? You need to increase airflow. Here's how.

Increase airflow to decrease mold, mildew, and odor

Drying your clothes outside on a clothesline can prevent moisture buildup in your home and is a great way to conserve your energy usage, making it better for the environment and better for your wallet. Drying your clothes on the line is also better for them than tossing them into the dryer, as it prevents the fabric from rubbing together and wearing it down. "The life-span extension that you get with [air drying] is pretty incredible," Cosette Joyner Martinez, an associate professor at Oklahoma State University in the design, housing, and merchandising department, tells The Washington Post. With that being said, if you cannot hang your laundry outside to dry, using a dryer is still preferred over hanging it indoors to keep your home mold and mildew-free and your laundry smelling fresh.

However, if drying your clothes on a rack indoors is your only option, set your drying rack up where it will see a decent amount of airflow, such as in front of a fan or an open window (assuming it's not excessively humid outside.) Running a dehumidifier near your rack of wet laundry also isn't a bad idea, as it can absorb excess moisture from the air in the room before it has the chance to accumulate.