How to dry clothes in a small space – 6 space-saving ideas

Tired of your laundry crowding your space and creating visual clutter? These efficient solutions can make the most of your small space

How to dry clothes in a small space
(Image credit: Dunelm / Benchmarx Kitchens / Future PLC / Carolyn Barber)

In the realm of compact living, finding the space to conveniently dry clothes requires tactical use of your space alongside some really practical solutions. To create an efficient drying area, consider how to blend drying and organizing strategies for a small space.

These drying solutions and space-saving techniques – designed to accommodate the requirements of clothes drying, including ensuring adequate ventilation – can make it easy and convenient to dry clothes quickly indoors.

Our experts have explained the best smart drying solutions to integrate into your small space.

How to dry clothes in a small space

Assess your space requirements to determine the most appropriate ways to seamlessly blend drying solutions into your space while maintaining a good flow in your space.

1. Use a retractable clothesline

yellow and green laundry room with tongue and groove

(Image credit: Original BTC)

'Employ vertical hanging systems with retractable lines that can be pulled out when needed and neatly tucked away afterward,' says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid. 'These systems utilize vertical space efficiently, making them perfect for small rooms or apartments.'

These can be mounted indoors on walls, on balconies, or in cabinets to offer a discreet drying solution that can be easily tucked away when not in use.

These compact drying solutions can be extended when drying clothes to ensure anything hanging on them can receive adequate airflow. They come in varying flexibilities, allowing you to customize one to the size and shape of your space. 

You will need hangers to use retractable clotheslines, so ensure those that you choose won't be damaged by damp clothes and have enough grip so the clothes won't slide off, such as these heavy-duty wet clothes hangers, from Amazon.

Additionally, if you want to maximize the amount of clothes to be hung on the retractable clothesline, you could use multilayer hangers, such as these, from Amazon.

2. Choose over-the-door drying solutions

Over the Door Concertina Airer

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Utilize over-the-door drying racks. These can be mounted behind closet doors or any unused door in your home, providing ample room to hang clothes for air-drying while keeping them out of the way.

These use hooks so you don't have to drill any holes in the wall, unlike most other solutions.

3. Utilize drying nets or mesh racks

farmhouse modern laundry room with a basket, lots of linens, white cabinets and neutral walls

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

'For delicate items like lingerie or woolens, consider using collapsible drying nets or mesh racks,' advises Angela Rubin. 'These can be expanded when needed and easily folded when not in use, saving valuable space.'

You can hang these from hooks or on the back of doors to utilize vertical space, ensuring the clothes are adequately ventilated

4. Install a foldable or wall-mounted drying rack

wire laundry baskets and industrial towel rails

(Image credit: Future PLC / Carolyn Barber)

'Invest in foldable drying racks or wall-mounted drying racks that can be easily folded away when not in use,' recommends Angela Rubin. 'These space-saving solutions are versatile and can accommodate various clothing items without occupying much room.'

These racks offer ample hanging space for clothes and can be placed in a bathroom, or laundry nook and can be installed on walls or the back of doors, providing a discreet and convenient drying area that won't interfere with your living space.

We recommend this wall-mounted drying rack, from Wayfair.

5. Consider a ceiling-mounted pulley dryer rack

Flower blind, wicker rug and box

(Image credit: Alecia Neo)

'Installing a suspended drying rack that hangs from the ceiling is a fantastic alternative if floor space is limited. The most creative use of space when it comes to a clothes drying rack is one that normally sits against the ceiling and can be pulled down using a rope pulley or a hinge mechanism when it’s needed,' says Kerry Sherrin at Ownerly.

This will save you floor and wall space and is an especially efficient choice if you have a small space with high ceilings. We love this Höllsen ceiling-mounted clothes drying rack, from Amazon.

6. Install hanging rods

Laundry rack

(Image credit: Benchmarx Kitchens)

'Install tension rods or hanging rods in any available space, such as small nooks or alcoves within your space,' recommends Angela Rubin.

'These rods are ideal for hanging clothes on hangers or using clips to secure them in place, allowing for air circulation and drying without cluttering the area.'

Drying tips

  • 'To dry your clothes quickly place a dehumidifier in the room and close the door, this will absorb the moisture from the clothes and they will dry quicker,' recommends Michelle Barrett, founder of Capsule Closet Stylist. 'However please be aware that dehumidifiers tend to be expensive to run.' You can check out our guide for how much it costs to run a dehumidifier
  • 'Always lay clothes out as flat as possible as they will dry quicker,' continues Michelle Barrett.
  • 'Place larger items at the top and smaller ones at the bottom as heat rises. Anything that is a thicker material will be better on the outside.
  • 'Use a spin cycle if you do not have a tumble dryer to reduce moisture in your clothes before you lay them out to dry.
  • 'Invest in a heated clothing horse. You can buy options that have a cover too which further retains the heat. This will dry clothes quicker if you live in a cold climate.
  • 'If you live in a small apartment, always have a window cracked open slightly to allow moisture to escape and prevent mold build-up.'


Where can I dry clothes to keep them out of sight?

To dry clothes without visually cluttering your space with laundry, consider using ventilated cabinets or wardrobes with slatted doors.

This setup provides a discreet drying area while keeping your clothes out of sight.

Keep clothes on hangers or collapsible drying nets spaced apart in conjunction with a dehumidifier to ensure adequate ventilation. 

You should also consider compact and portable clothing dryers. These electric or ventless dryers offer a convenient option for quick drying. They are designed for small spaces and can be easily stored when not in use.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.