How to Dry Hand-Washed Clothes

Some fabrics need special care when laundering or they suffer damage beyond repair. Hand washing is often the answer, but it's important to observe just as much caution when drying them. Rough or unwise handling of hand-washed items causes shrinkage or weakening of fibers in textiles. Always follow label directions, but if there are no directions for drying hand-washed items, use a few special techniques to ensure the safety of these items.

Some hand-washed items are dried on a clothesline.

Step 1

Lay a large, thirsty towel underneath small items of clothing and roll the towel up with the item inside. Wring the towel if it contains plain cotton items that will be ironed later. If the towel contains silk or woolen items, simply press the roll gently but do not wring at all. This technique does not dry items fully. They must still be dried in a way that is safe for the material.

Step 2

Hang items on a clothesline, using clothes pins, to drip dry. A slight breeze coaxes wrinkles out.

Step 3

Hang shirts or pants or other items on clothes hangers, using clothes pins where necessary to secure the items and then hang them on the shower rod in the bathroom. Be sure to put down towels to catch drips to the floor.

Step 4

Place hand-washed sweaters and scarves on a drying net over the bathtub to prevent stretching while drying.

Step 5

Tumble your hand-washed items in the dryer if the items are safe for machine drying.


  • Take color-fastness into consideration if the sun is very hot, since sunshine can have a slight bleaching effect. Silks are often damaged over time if they are always dried in the sunshine.

About the Author

In 2007 Nannie Kate discovered that the words she had been writing all her life had an actual cash value. She's been writing professionally through brokers ever since. With an English major background she creates articles and ebooks on a wide variety of subjects.