I discovered a bed sheet trick to dry clothes quickly without a dryer – and it's cost-free

This tumble dryer alternative has revolutionized my laundry routine and saves me money – using only three household essentials

Marloe interiors cotswolds country house all white laundry room
(Image credit: Marloe Interiors)

I will confess, laundry is my least favorite chore by quite a significant margin. The exercise of washing clothes, towels, and sheets is the most tedious of all jobs – and it's not helped by the duration of the entire process.

Living in a small urban apartment means my laundry room ideas are compact. So compact, in fact, that city living has denied me a dryer. Therefore, when it comes to drying my laundry, the task falls to a drying rack.

My drying rack does get the job done eventually, but it was by no means a quick way of getting clothes dry quickly (an all-too-familiar struggle for someone like me who forgets to wash my outfit until a few hours before I need to leave the house). However, this changed when I learned about an incredible drying trick with a bed sheet. And while I will never love doing laundry, things are refreshingly easier.

How to dry clothes quickly without a dryer

whittney parkinson design laundry room hanging bar

(Image credit: Sarah Shields / Whittney Parkinson)

After sharing my laundry woes with a friend, she told me of a hack she had seen – using only a drying rack, radiator, and a bed sheet. 

The process involves placing my drying rack next to a radiator before filling it with my wet laundry. After my clothes and towels are in place, I cover the rack with a sheet – then tuck the other end of my sheet in the back of the radiator. I use this drying rack from Amazon, which is a great size for my weekly laundry cycle, but the trick will work on any model you may have. 

Then, I simply leave my heating on as I normally would and get on with other jobs while the concentrated heat accelerates the drying process. 

However, just as you might need to decode a tumble dryer temperature guide – this trick does come with caution. I avoid turning the heat too high (and I don't leave my home) to be sure it doesn't become a fire hazard. The clothes always dry at a lower temperature than I would normally keep my radiator at, anyway, so running heating at a high temperature is not necessary for success. 

How to organize a laundry room, with a pulley drying rack, wooden clothes rail and stone countertop in a neutral and white scheme.

(Image credit: Future / Alicia Taylor)

I did, in desperation, invest in the best dehumidifier I could afford some time back, and I keep that running nearby to ensure the moisture is removed from the air as the clothes dry. As I am navigating a small space, I need to do everything I can to get rid of condensation inside windows to prevent mold (as I have already used bleach to kill mold once before), and the dehumidifier helps with this hugely. However, my friend has also tried this trick without a dehumidifier, so it's still possible to do so without one.

And if you want to try a similar drying method (without a tumble dryer), James Higgins, a eucalyptus bedding expert, recommends taking your small laundry to the kitchen. 

'Everyone likes a 2-in-1 hack, and drying your sheets in the kitchen is just that,' James says. 'The kitchen space tends to be the warmest part of the house as it’s where we cook, and there is plenty of footfall traffic. So, if you cook with the oven, you can often use the excess heat to dry your sheets in the room at the same time.

'Putting your drying rack next to the oven door will allow the excess heat to speed up the drying process,' the expert explains. 

devol kitchens laundry maid

(Image credit: DeVol Kitchens)

Whether you're working with small laundry room ideas or an open-plan kitchen and living space, there are ways to dry clothes quickly. And as winter approaches, I recommend this housewarming trick, whether you have a tumble dryer or not. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.