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Drying clothes washed by hand often requires a little extra patience. Start by gently squeezing excess water out of the garment. You can then lay the clothing out on a flat surface to dry or hang it up to air-dry. Take care of your clothing by drying it properly and it will last you a long time.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:
Removing Excess Water
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  1. 1
    Squeeze excess water out of the clothing. After washing, pick up the garment and gently squeeze it with your hands. Avoid wringing or twisting it, since this can damage the fibers. Squeeze out as much water as possible before moving on.[1]
  2. 2
    Lay a clean towel on a flat surface. Clear out space on a flat surface, such as on a countertop, tile flooring, or in the bathtub. Choose a white towel to eliminate the chance of color bleeding and make sure it’s freshly washed so it doesn’t leave annoying lint on your clothing.[2]
  3. 3
    Flatten the piece of clothing on the towel. Dry 1 piece of clothing at a time. Lay the clothing on top of the towel. Pat it by hand to help flatten it into shape.[3]
  4. 4
    Roll the towel to squeeze more water out of the clothing. Start with 1 of the towel’s ends. Roll the towel over and onto the clothing. Gently press down on the towel roll to squeeze as much water as possible out of the garment.[4]
    • If the towel becomes soaked, unroll it. Roll the clothing up in a different towel and squeeze out the remaining water.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:
Laying Clothing Flat to Dry
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  1. 1
    Find a flat surface in open air. Any piece of clothing can finish drying in a spot where air circulates. This could be on a countertop, tile floor, or the bottom of a bathtub. The more out in the open the spot is, the faster the clothing will dry.[5]
    • Pick a surface that won’t be damaged by moisture. A garment rack is one option and can be bought from any general store.
  2. 2
    Look for a sunny spot. Sunlight is another factor that can speed up drying. Direct sunlight is the fastest way, but this can fade colors and damage delicate fibers. Try to find a spot that is out in the open, but not directly in sunlight.[6]
    • For example, pick the far side of the counter instead of the spot under the window. This gets your delicates some sunlight without exposing them directly.
  3. 3
    Spread a clean towel over the surface. Use a dry, white towel to avoid any chance of color bleeding. Wash the towel in advance to ensure lint doesn’t stick to your clothing. Lay the towel flat over your chosen surface.
  4. 4
    Flatten the clothing on the towel. Lay the clothing on the towel. Pat it by hand to flatten it as much as possible. More contact between the clothing fibers and towel means faster drying, which can also help prevent musty-smelling clothing.[7]
  5. 5
    Flip the clothing halfway through the drying time. Many times doing this isn’t necessary, but it can speed up the drying process for difficult items. After 15 to 30 minutes of drying, come back to the clothing. Flip it over and pat the clothing flat again.
    • Flipping also helps eliminate that wet, musty smell some clothing gets after it dries.
  6. 6
    Replace the towel if it feels soaked. A saturated towel is nothing more than water sitting under your clothing. Get another clean, white towel and lay it flat on the drying surface. Put the clothing back on top of it and flatten it again. Replace the towel whenever it feels soaked.
    • This can happen if you dry multiple items using the same towel.[8]
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:
Hanging Clothing to Dry
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  1. 1
    Avoid hanging heavy items to prevent stretching. Water and gravity will pull down and stretch any clothing you hang vertically. This can turn heavy clothing, like a precious knit sweater, into a misshapen article that no longer fits. When in doubt, dry your clothing on a flat surface.
  2. 2
    Hang a drying net to avoid stretching clothing. Pick up a drying net from the general store. Set the end of the net over a hook or shower rod above your bathtub. The net provides flat space, so it’s a great way to avoid stretching, especially for your knit clothing.[9]
  3. 3
    Use hangers or rods to dry clothing indoors. Drape the clothing over a curtain rod or slide it onto hangers placed on the rod. It’s similar to using a clothesline, except it doesn’t require as much space. You may already have a shower rod in your bathroom that would be perfect for this. Place towels on the floor as needed to catch dripping water.[10]
    • Remember that if the rod is in an enclosed space, the clothing will dry slowly and smell musty. Open the doors and windows nearby to let in air and sunlight.
  4. 4
    Use a clothesline to dry clothing outside. String up a line to dry clothing on a warm, breezy day. Your clothing will never dry faster than this. Hang stretchable fabrics such as cotton with clothes pins. Drape more delicate clothing over the line so the pins don’t leave marks.[11]
    • Again, delicates such as silk and spandex aren’t the best options for this. Sunlight and even the clothes pins can wear out the fabric.
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      • To avoid stretching clothing, dry clothing by laying it on a flat surface instead of hanging it.
      • Always be aware of the type of fabric you're drying to know how well it can handle stretching and sunlight.
      • You can still machine dry clothing you washed yourself. Read the clothing labels and use lower temperature and minimal spin settings when needed.
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      Things You’ll Need

      • Clean, white towels
      • Flat surface
      • Space for longer drying or an alternative option

      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      wikiHow Staff Writer
      This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 36,237 times.
      27 votes - 72%
      Co-authors: 3
      Updated: September 15, 2021
      Views: 36,237
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 36,237 times.

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