Can I Hang Dry Baby Clothes Outside? (With 3 Surprising Benefits!)

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Nothing compares to the fresh smell of laundry that has been dried outside. If you have been considering hang drying your baby’s laundry, you should know that there are many great benefits to line drying laundry, especially for baby clothes. 

It is safe and beneficial for both you and your baby to dry clothes outside on a nice, sunny day. Line drying laundry can help your clothing, linens, and cloth diapers last longer, provide a natural alternative to potentially harmful fabric softeners or dryer sheets, and actually kill germs. Don’t leave your clothes out in the rain or overnight.

If hang drying your clothing or your baby’s clothing outside is something you have been considering, keep reading to find out more about the benefits of line drying laundry outdoors. 

Is it okay to hang dry baby clothes outside?

There are a few things to keep in mind when you start hanging baby clothes outside, but there are so many benefits to consider, too. 

Before you start hanging your baby’s clothes outside, take a look at the most frequently asked questions on the topic below. 

How long should baby clothes air dry?

Most items of clothing that are hung on a line are completely dry within four hours. However, because baby clothes are smaller and typically thinner than adult clothing, they will dry much faster than the rest of the clothing you put out to dry. 

You can expect your baby clothes to be dry within 1-2 hours. However, this will vary greatly based on the weather, humidity, and wind, so keep that in mind when putting clothes out to dry. 

A dry climate with lots of hot sun will dry clothes much faster than a cooler climate, or one that is very humid. To make sure that your clothes are able to get enough air circulation, be sure to space them out on a line or use a special air dry hanging system like this one (for less than $20 on Amazon) to keep everything in one place with great airflow. It’s made from stainless steel so you won’t have to worry about rust or cheap plastic breaking!

It is possible to hang dry clothes outside in just about any climate, so just figure out what works best for you. 

Is it OK to dry clothes outside overnight?

Drying clothes outside overnight is generally frowned upon. Of course, it is a personal decision, but consider a few things before you decide to leave clothes out overnight. 

The type of climate you live in plays a big factor in whether or not it is safe to leave clothes out overnight. High winds can cause your clothing to go flying off the line and around your yard. 

Humid climates can keep your clothes damp overnight which can lead to mold or stinky clothing. Cooler climates can result in morning dew settling on your clothing. If you live in a very dry climate with little wind, it will probably be fairly safe to keep your clothes out overnight. 

The other things to consider when leaving your clothes out overnight are wildlife and insects. Typically insects like mosquitoes come out in full force when the sun goes down, and you definitely don’t want mosquitoes (or any type of insect, for that matter) settling on your clothing. 

Also consider the wildlife in your area such as raccoons, foxes, deer, and so on, that may see your clothing as a new toy or something interesting to munch on. I would hate to wake up to holes in my shirts or tiny footprints across my pants. 

Once you have considered the above items, you can make a decision about whether or not you want to leave your clothes out to dry overnight. 

Why do my clothes smell when I air dry them?

In most cases, your laundry should not smell bad when you air dry it.

Air drying your clothes outside should result in your clothing smelling fresh and clean – in fact, many detergents and dryer sheets are fragranced to make clothing smell as if it has been line-dried on a sunny spring day.

If they do smell bad, there are a few things you can do to fix this problem. 

Ensure that when you put your clothes out to dry that it is a warm, sunny day. Hanging clothes out to dry when it is especially humid or overcast can make it much harder for clothing to get dry, which can result in musty smelling clothes. 

Before hanging your clothes out to dry, make sure they do not spend any time sitting in a wet pile. As soon as they come out of the washer, they should immediately be hung on the line. This will definitely improve the smell of the clothing. 

Additionally, you should make sure the air quality in your area is good before hanging your clothes out to dry. Climates that get large amounts of inversion, smog, or other debris in the air are not ideal for drying clothes outside. 

Bring your clothes inside to be put away as soon as they are dry, and they should be smelling fresh and clean for their next use.  You could also use an all-natural clothes spray like this one (with great reviews on Amazon) on your air-dried clothes before you store them away!

Does air drying clothes cause mold?

In general, air-drying clothes does not cause mold. There are a few factors that play into this, though. 

The climate in which you live can have a big influence on how your clothes dry. Air drying clothes in tropical or exceptionally humid climates can lead to mold if clothes are left out for too long without being able to dry completely. 

Letting your clothes dry in direct sunlight should reduce this problem, however, even in very humid settings. The rays from the sun will help sanitize your clothing and keep mold from forming, as well as keep bacteria from growing.

Should you hang dry cloth diapers?

Many cloth diapers are dryer safe, but it may be more advantageous to hang them out to dry. Along with the benefits for air drying discussed below, air drying diapers can help sanitize them even more than what the washer is able to do. 

The UV rays from the sun will kill harmful germs and sanitize the diapers in a way that is not possible for the dryer to do, plus the shells will last much longer when they’re exposed to the heat of the dryer regularly.

Another benefit of air drying diapers is eliminating the lingering smell that inevitably hangs around after it has been washed. The effect of the air and the sun on the diapers will kill the scent and leave them as clean as new. No more musty, stinky diapers!

Potential benefits of air drying baby clothes outside

Many people don’t have the ability to hang clothes outside to dry, but if you are lucky enough to have the space and opportunity to do so, there are some great benefits to the extra time and effort.

You’re probably already aware that sun-dried clothing smells fresh in a way that your dryer can never really replicate, but did you know that the sun is also better at sanitizing your laundry as well? If that’s not enough, your clothes will actually last longer and they’ll be safer against your baby’s sensitive skin.

Clothing lasts longer

We’ve all had to deal with clothes that have shrunk in the dryer, and it is always a pain. As babies grow out of their clothing so quickly as it is, it is important to keep them wearable for as long as possible. 

Clothing that is hung to dry outside has a much smaller chance of shrinking, keeping your baby’s clothing wearable for much longer. 

Clothing gets worn out and can be potentially damaged in the dryer, so line drying is a much more gentle way to dry clothing. With tiny little baby clothes, one small tear or a little hole can quickly become a much larger problem that renders the clothing unwearable, so preventing damage is a must. 

Avoid harsh chemicals

There is nothing that compares to the smell of clothing that has been hung outside to dry.

Another benefit of hang drying clothing outside is being able to avoid harsh chemicals in the dryer.

Your clothes will come inside warm and dry from the sun, and they will smell great without any added chemicals that can be harmful to a baby’s sensitive skin. 

No static cling

Hang drying your clothing and your baby’s clothing outside will almost completely eliminate static cling, which can be seriously annoying and a pain to deal with. 

Your baby will be much more comfortable in their clothing, and you can rest easy knowing their clothing isn’t sticking to them or potentially shocking them. 

Getting rid of dryer sheets will not only save you money, but will also keep potentially harmful chemicals off of your baby’s skin. 

Other benefits

Hang drying clothes outside is something that many people swear by.

There are so many benefits in addition to those discussed above such as saving money on dryer sheets and electricity, spending more time out in the sun (and getting some vital vitamin D for yourself and your baby!), and reducing wrinkles in your clothes. 

Hang drying clothing is also much more environmentally friendly than using a dryer, and something that the planet will certainly thank you for doing.

While line drying your clothing outside may not be possible or practical for you year-round, there are so many great benefits to consider for both you and your baby. 

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