benefits of sun drying clothes

6 Benefits of Drying Clothes in the Sun (and 3 Downsides)

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Throwing your clothes in a dryer may be the easier option, but it’s not the smartest option. What if I tell you there’s a safer, eco-friendlier, and cheaper way to dry your clothes? 

You probably guessed it from the title—it’s line-drying your clothes in the sun. This traditional method is better for the environment, saves money, and makes your clothes last longer! 

For those who aren’t familiar with sun drying their clothes, allow me to clarify. 

What Is Sun Drying?

clothes in the sunSun drying is a method of drying clothes by hanging wet clothes on a line outdoors to dry in the sun. 

This is a more traditional way of drying clothes, and it was a common practice before the 1960s. Still, not everyone had the luxury of direct sunlight year-round, so many people hung their clothes in a laundry room or in a basement.

Once electric dryers were introduced to the market in the 1960s, everyone wanted one. Electric dryers were popular because they saved people time, they are easy to clean and easy to use. That’s when dryers became present in most households.

Nowadays, people can’t imagine living without their dryer, but they’re missing out. 

In the last few years, many people have been learning the many benefits of drying clothes in the sun and are giving up their drying machines. Let’s get into the reasons why people prefer to dry clothes in the sun.

sun dried sheets

6 Benefits of Drying Clothes in the Sun

Leaving your wet clothes out in the sun to evaporate all the water is much better than using a drying machine for so many reasons, including:

1. Clothes Will Last Longer

Tumble-drying clothes are harsh on fabrics. The intense speed causes hooks and zippers to snag onto your clothes, the heat causes your clothes to shrink, and the whole cycle causes microscopic tears in your clothes, leading to holes—that’s where all the lint comes from.

So, using a traditional tumble dryer can lead to irreversible damage to your clothes.

Sun drying, on the other hand, is much gentler and helps preserve your clothes for longer. There’s no pulling or snagging, and your clothes will never shrink. 

2. Natural Bleaching of Whites and Lightens Stains

You may have heard from your mother to leave your white linens in the sun to lighten any stain residues. It’s true! 

The ultraviolet rays coming from direct sunlight act as a natural bleach that brightens any yellow color left from a blood or tomato sauce stain, for example. 

Sun drying is also great for brightening your white sheets, towels, and linens. As a bonus, you’ll also disinfect your laundry from any bacteria.

3. Removes Odors

Since sunlight helps disinfect your laundry from any bacteria, it ultimately cancels out the cause of any unpleasant odor. It also removes any lingering odors—like smoke, mildew, or food—leaving your clothes smelling fresher than ever. 

So why use a laundry freshener to make your clothes smell like “a fresh, sunny morning” when you could have that same effect from sun drying, minus the chemicals and extra costs? 

4. Saves Money and Energy

Using a dryer can burn a hole in your pocket. You’ll need to pay for a dryer, its dryer sheets, and its annual maintenance. All of this will cost you a lot of money in the long run. 

Meanwhile, you could dry your laundry for free without using up any electricity or propane gas. Just hang your laundry on a clothesline in the sun for a couple of hours.

5. Quick and Safe Method

Hanging your clothes under direct sunlight will heat up your freshly washed laundry and gently evaporate all the excess moisture within a couple of hours at most. Some light fabrics only need a few minutes under the sun to dry up completely. 

That way, you save yourself the risk of ruining your favorite clothes in a dryer or waiting forever to dry your laundry in a dark laundry room. That’s especially true for big bedsheets and heavy blankets. 

6. Reduces Wrinkles

The heat from the sun smoothes out most, if not all, of the wrinkles while drying, leaving you with fresh, crisp laundry. It’s like a two-in-one deal. So, you won’t need to put in any elbow grease to iron your wrinkled clothes after putting them through the dryer.

Think of the sun and its heat as a natural steamer that won’t add to your electricity bill and won’t harm the environment. 

sun drying clothes

3 Downsides of Sun Drying

Unfortunately, sun drying may not be ideal for everyone. There are downsides to sun drying that are related to your residential area. These downsides include: 

1. Extreme Weather Changes

Although hanging your laundry outdoors has a ton of benefits, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the weather. Some locations are usually hit with surprise rain storms—or worse, a sandstorm—and that could ruin your freshly washed laundry. 

So to prevent that from happening, keep an eye on the weather when you have your laundry hanging outside. Once you detect any changes, quickly move your laundry indoors before the weather changes.  

2. Local Ordinances

Homeowners and condo associations in some towns or neighborhoods, also known as HOA or COA, can sometimes prevent people from hanging their laundry outdoors on a clothesline or even a balcony’s rail.

If the residents don’t comply with these rules, they might end up receiving a hefty cash fine. So before you switch to sun drying your laundry, make sure that it won’t cause you any problems where you live. 

3. Insects and Animals

If you have insects or animals outdoors, sun drying your laundry may be tricky. Sometimes birds in your backyard would leave bird droppings all over your clothes and bedsheets. Now, whether you believe it’s good luck or not, you still need to do a rewash. 

As for insects, it’s possible to find a few insect specks or stains on your clothes. Sure, it’s easy to clean, but it will take some additional time from your day.

benefits of drying clothes in the sun


All in all, hanging your laundry outdoors to dry in the sun is 100% worth trying. Not only is it better for the environment and gentler on your clothes, but also it’s healthier for you and helps you save so much money. 

You won’t need to worry about shrinking your favorite top in the dryer or having your fuzzy sweater shed lint everywhere. And as a bonus, you get fresh, crisp, wrinkle-free laundry that’s ready to go straight to your closet. 

If you’re trying sun drying for the first time, though, keep in mind the downsides we’ve mentioned before you give it a go.

Also, if you live off-grid, we recommend using energy-efficient washing machines and other off-grid appliances. To learn more about these, consider reading related articles on our website.

People Also Ask

Does Sun Drying Clothes Fade Them?

In short, yes—but not as much as you think it does. Fading your clothes depends on their material, their color, and how long they’re left in the sun. 

So, to protect your clothes, try flipping them inside out to prevent the outer layer from fading gradually. Another tip is to shield your dark and vibrantly pigmented clothes with your whites or brighter colors. Finally, don’t leave your clothes out in the sun for too long. 

What are Energy-Efficient Ways to Dry Clothes?

  • Sun Drying
  • Air Drying
  • Propane Gas Dryer
  • Rotate Clothes
  • Dehumidifier Dryer


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