out on a line
September 18, 2011 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Laundry intervention! Washed clothes, but no dryer and no space to line-dry...how can I make it so my clothes are minimally wrinkled and mildewy in the morning?

Did a big load of laundry (basically all my clothes...) before realizing that no dryer in the complex worked. It also ate my $1.50. I live in a studio apartment with no outdoor space: other than some hangers and a shower rod, there is really no place to stretch clothes out...even in those places there is really not the necessary air circulation. Any tricks to make sure my clothes don't end up with the over-the-top wrinkliness of poorly-dried clothes, and especially that they don't get that gross mildewy smell? I can dry them in a laundromat in the morning-- will that rectify both?

(side question: is it too petty to expect to be able to deduct the money eaten by the dryer from my rent?)
posted by threeants to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Put them on hangers and then hang them up in doorways by balancing the hangers on the top of the door frame.
posted by jschu at 8:49 PM on September 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Do you have lots of towels? Roll the thick stuff like jeans into towels like the ingredients of a burrito. Hang lighter stuff up to dry. If you have an iron, you can iron your thinner clothes dry, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:49 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: You probably have a lot more space to hang things than you think you do. Look for any raised horizontal surface: the edge of a table, the molding around a door frame, the molding around a window frame, the backs of chairs, the oven door handle, the refrigerator door handle.

I have been in this situation (dryer broken, small apartment), and have never had to want for hang space. Just get creative.

If you leave them in a sopping heap, by the time your morning laundromat run comes, the damage will have already been done.
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I guess the issue is, in the past when I've randomly hung things, it seemed to barely make a difference. I guess it will help stave off the gross smell, and then the laundromat can take away the wrinkles?
posted by threeants at 8:51 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: Give everything a good, solid shake before you hang it, and then do things like tug down sleeves and pant legs to smooth. That should take care of 90% of the wrinkles. I line-dry all of my nice clothes, and I never have wrinkle problems.

A dryer will only take the wrinkles out if the clothes are wet when you put them in. Put a dry, wrinkled shirt in a dryer, and when it comes out you will get a...dry, wrinkled shirt.
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: If you have a tub, you could just submerge them in water overnight. That would keep the bad smell away, and you don't have to wallpaper your apartment in wet clothing. You would have to wring 'em out real good before you put them in the dryer, though.
posted by carsonb at 8:55 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: You can buy an iron from any big box store for about six dollars. If you can get the clothes dry, an iron would be a much smarter investment than lugging all the clothes to the laundromat, etc.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:56 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: What fabrics do you have? To dry my line-dry items, I stick them on hangers in the closet. The weight usually pulls out any wrinkles. If, instead, I throw the item over the back of a chair (like I did last night in laziness), it dries faster but has wrinkles. Try pointing a fan where you hang them, or putting your A/C on (for the dehumidifying properties). Mildew smell should only be a problem if your apartment is poorly ventilated and/or very humid.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:59 PM on September 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, guys. I get disproportionately irritated by things like these because it's like, I have a lot of work to do tonight and instead I sunk all this time into washing clothes for nothing and then running around turning my apartment into a wet clothes Christmas tree. Will hanging wet t-shirts on a flimsy wire hanger stretch them out permanently where the weight causes them to pull down and sag?
posted by threeants at 9:01 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: Will hanging wet t-shirts on a flimsy wire hanger stretch them out permanently where the weight causes them to pull down and sag?

Another tip: hang your knit shirts (like t-shirts) inside out. That way, any shoulder nipples that form will point inside, and the simple act of wearing the shirt will put everything back in the right shape again.
posted by phunniemee at 9:02 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: Will hanging wet t-shirts on a flimsy wire hanger stretch them out permanently where the weight causes them to pull down and sag?

No. In fact, line drying is generally better for cottons like t-shirts for maintaining their shape and helping them to last longer. They'll be a little stiffer than you're used to at first, but should be fine.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:04 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: I often hang a shirt over the back of a kitchen chair to dry. I think if you take your clothes to dry at the laundromat tomorrow you won't have to worry about mildew smell. Even if you left them in a big wet heap, it's not for that long. I have 2 kids and am the main laundry person in my house, so I know whereof I speak. Also, dry-but-wrinkly clothes can be rapidly unwrinkled by running them through the dryer for a few minutes with a damp towel.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:20 PM on September 18, 2011

Best answer: To answer your side question - yes, it is too petty to deduct $1.50 from your rent.

Check the landlord-tenant laws in your area for the process required for effecting repairs. Being in arrears on your rent even by $1.50 may limit your options for getting repairs made (e.g., in Washington you can only repair and deduct if you are current on rent).

Feel free to ask your landlord for the change your lost when you notify them (in writing) about the dryers, but pay your rent in full.
posted by rube goldberg at 9:24 PM on September 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all. Yeah, rube goldberg, I'm not sure I totally intended to do that; was just having a moment of vent against my landlords. :)
posted by threeants at 9:33 PM on September 18, 2011

You didn't mention whether you had any small fans, but certainly pointing one at some of your clothes will help them dry faster. If it was colder and you were in the Northeast, then radiators are pretty good sock-dryers.

And, if you end up with some things that are too wrinkly/stinky, you can always just throw them in the dryer with a dryer sheet tomorrow, will take care of most of that kind of problem.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 PM on September 18, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, we're at the exact climactic point here in Atlanta where both the A/C and the heat would make it uncomfortable in here!
posted by threeants at 9:49 PM on September 18, 2011

I had this exact proble when I first moved to the UK and discovered that dryers were rare as hens teeth and most people just hang their laundry. Do you have a drying rack? That made all the difference for me - this Treehugger post has some good ones. I use a similar rack to the over-bath one everyday and we don't have any funky smell or wrinkle issues.
posted by ukdanae at 1:27 AM on September 19, 2011

(sorry, I just realised that this question is about an immediate problem and recommending that you buy something isn't very helpful! When my drying rack is full, I just hang my items on regular hangers)
posted by ukdanae at 1:29 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you run out of space on door frames, you can open your cabinet doors partway and put hangers on them.
posted by runningwithscissors at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2011

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