5 ways we cut our laundry drying time in half! (And made our home safer, too)

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by Robin

reduce laundry drying time

As colder weather approaches I'm sadly aware that my favourite and cheapest way to dry clothes will no longer be as appealing to me.  I'm going to need to get my dryer working better.

Now I know that I can continue to line dry right through the winter.  We live in Old Order Mennonite country and I see their stiff clothes frozen to lines all winter long.  But my reality is: I won't do that. I hate getting bundled up and shivering while I try to pin icy wet clothes on the line as my hands turn red.  Not going to happen.

So very soon I will be using our dryer regularly again.  And that electricity sucking device costs much more to run than the $0 clothesline loads.  (I almost wrote that it would cost many times more than $0 to run - but I heard my daughter scold: "Many times 0 is 0, Mom.)

So we found ways to make the dryer more efficient.  Here are our tips for you to save power and money drying clothes! Including one that will make your family safer (at the risk of sounding like ominous newscasters...)

laundry tips

How to Cut Your Laundry Drying Time (in up to half!)

First some easy ideas:

1) Cut your drying time by increasing your spin time.

My washing machine has a "My cycle" feature - which I've programmed to cut drying time.

I've set mine to run the clothes through an extra spin cycle to shake every possible drop out of the clothes before they make it to the dryer.  A minute extra spin time could save 10 minutes in the dryer.

cut dryer time

2) Hang items that take a long time to dry.

We have a hanging drying rack (similar to this one) - and I swear by it!  Along with delicate items - I'll hang up things that take a long time to dry.  Examples include bath mats, lined jeans, coats, etc.  These super wet items can dry for free on a rack and not drag out your drying time.

If we had the space I'd add one of these folding drying racks. Between the two racks I could likely fit a full load.

3) Add in moisture absorbers

Throwing a couple of these in with your load will cut the drying time down by moving the clothes around to get airflow going and absorbing and spreading out the moisture. (These are under $10 and get great reviews.)

clean lint filter

4) Clean out your lint trap with every load.

I keep a small garbage pail right near the dryer and scoop out the lint in the filter after every load.  That lint holds moisture and slows the airflow through your dryer.  A full lint trap = a slower dryer = more power use and $$$.  And, most importantly a full trap is a fire hazard.

5) Clean your dryer ducts.

The importance of this one cannot be overstated.  Full ducts mean extra long dry times, sure. But they are also a safety hazard. Dryers with full ducts are more likely to catch fire.

How do you know if your dryer ducts need cleaning?

I've seen recommendations of cleaning them every 6 months and every year - mostly commonly every year.

A good indicator is the length of time it takes for the load to dry. (I know: well, duh. Seems pretty obvious.)

But here's the thing - the longer dry time happens very, very, very gradually. Could be a couple seconds longer per load - almost nothing really.  But it adds up.

Hopefully, you're quicker to clue into this than me.  It's almost embarrassing how long it took me to realize just how full our ducts were!  I just kept running the dryer a few minutes longer - and then a few minutes more.  Somehow along the way, I forgot that it used to take so much less time!

When FINALLY my dim-witted lightbulb went off - and Ed and I cleaned out the dryer duct - my drying time had doubled.  (Yeah, I feel like a super genius.)

And it took us just 15 minutes to solve the problem. (My head hangs in shame while I type.)

Here's a DIY, super quick way to clean out your dryer ducts (and save power and dollars!):

1) Pull out your dryer.

2) Unplug it.

3) With the right tool (usually a slotted screwdriver) take the ducts off the dryer and the wall.

dirty dryer vent hose

4) With a powerful vacuum - we used our shop vac - suck out all the lint in the dryer and reach into the wall ducts with the hose.  Get as far into them as you can.

cleaning dryer duct
Hmm...might be a good time to also clean the crud from under the dryer too. (More head hanging shame.)

5) Suck the lint from the hose.  Or if it's really bad, pick up a replacement dryer vent hose - usually just a few dollars. (For safety make sure you're using rigid or flexible metal tubing.)

clean dryer vent

6) Suck out the lint from the opening outside your house - if you can safely reach it.  (Later, make sure the vent opens when your dryer is on.)

7) Reattach the hoses. Plug your dryer in again and push it back into place. Make sure the flexible tubing hasn't gotten pinched or bound up when you pushed it back in - you want direct airflow.

8) Marvel at how fast it works now and pat yourself on the back for such an easy solve!

How about you, do you have more ideas on how to cut your clothes drying time?

Keep reading: We've got more ideas to save electricity right here!


  1. For thick or heavy towels, I pull the wet ones out of the washer and pile them loosely in a laundry basket. I let the basket sit out all night In the morning, put them in the dryer. They've had some "air" time and some of the towels will feel dry but once you put everything in the dryer, things will even out and all the towels will be soft. And no they don't smell sour or mildewy.

  2. I live in FL, so it's always Sunny and hot. We also have a screened in porch. I put a shower curtain rod in between the screen posts. They are the same color as the posts so they blend in perfectly and look like they belong there. I string my towels on the rods and let sun do all the work.
    We also use a leaf blower to clean the air ducts. Our vent outtake is on top of the roof. My husband takes the roof vent cover off first, sticks the leaf blower tube right into the vent in the laundry room and blows it all out. You should've seen all the lint bunnies on top of our roof!!!!!! Don't forget to put the roof vent cover back on!

  3. Wow, such good advice! I have cats and MUST put clothes in the dryer at least a few minutes to get the cat hair out of everything. I also use this huge antique wood clothes rack that can hold a full load and it folds down and away when I am done. My dryer is against an outside wall and I clean out the lint every time and vacuum when I clean the utility room but not the vent; it "should be" clear as it's only about a foot to the outside BUT, that blower idea is very cool and fun! I am going to try that! I also use those little rubber balls that help fluff and get rid of static.
    Just a comment, I say a posting where a gal saved all the dryer lint and put it in empty toilet paper tubes, wrapped that in paper and used them as "firestarters". In just a few weeks I already have almost 4 complete and will use the white paper bag from prescriptions and tie the ends with the string from my duck food bags! EVERYTHING recycled! I use a wood stove in the winter so they will be used then.
    Good post!


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