Can You Dry Clothes In The Oven?
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If you’re stuck with wet clothes and realize your dryer isn’t working, you can find yourself in a pickle. You can’t wait for your clothes to air dry, so what do you do? Can you put your clothes in the oven to dry?
Yes, you can technically dry your clothes in the oven, but it isn’t the most effective method. It can actually take a long time, doesn’t work well for large items, and can potentially ruin your clothing. If you do use the oven to dry clothes, only small items and never when the oven is on. Instead, preheat it to the lowest temp, turn it off first, and place small items inside on a baking sheet.
First, it’s worth pointing out that you should only attempt drying your clothes in the oven if there’s no other way. You also should recognize the high possibility that your clothes could end up damaged.
Tips For Drying Your Clothes In The Oven
Drying your clothes in an oven isn’t the most effective method, but it can work in a pinch for small items. However, if you’re going to attempt this technique, it’s critical to do so smartly and safely. Otherwise, you risk damaging your clothes, your oven, or worse, starting a fire.
1. Remove As Much Excess Water As You Can
Before putting any clothing in the oven, remove as much water as you can. Hold the clothing in two hands and twist to wring out as much water as possible. Don’t pull or yank the fabric; you don’t want to stretch it.
To get even more water out of the clothing, place it on a fluffy towel first. Roll the garment up in the towel, then twist. You can also use a rolling pin to roll out as much water as possible.
Fold the towel over the clothing and roll the rolling pin back and forth. You could repeat with another dry towel if the fabric is very wet.
Another kitchen item that can help get out excess water from small clothing items is your salad spinner. Simply place the items inside and spin, and then your clothing won’t be so saturated.
2. Use The Lowest Temperature Possible
The lowest temperature setting for most ovens is 170 degrees, but it’s better to go lower for your clothes. Set your preheat to the lowest possible setting and push start. Allow the oven to preheat for about 10 minutes or less.
3. Turn Off Your Oven
After the oven preheats for about 10 minutes max, turn it off. Never put clothes in the oven while it is still on; you’re trying to dry your clothes, not bake them. Plus, you need the temperature to reduce down a bit from 170.
4. Put Items On A Baking Sheet
Lay your wet items on a baking tray. It’s important not to let your clothing touch the oven itself or the racks.
5. Don’t Dry Too Many Clothes At Once
To speed up the drying process, don’t attempt to dry a lot of clothing items at once time. Just a couple of small things is your best bet. The larger the items and the more of them you put in the oven, the more water vapor they create.
Plus, if the clothing material is very absorbent, it will hold onto more moisture and create more vapor. This vapor stays inside of the oven, making it hard for your clothes to get dry. But, if you attempt to open the door to let out some moisture, you also let out the heat. Then, your clothes still won’t get dry.
6. Don’t Leave The Oven Unattended
It’s best to stay nearby as you’re drying clothes in the oven. Check on it periodically by putting on the oven light. Don’t open the oven to peek or you’ll let out the heat.
If anything starts to smell off or you notice a problem, you can open the oven and remove the clothing. Make sure to wear oven gloves, so you don’t burn your hands. Even though the oven is off, it will still retain heat, plus the baking sheet will be hot.
Are There Other Ways To Dry Clothes Without A Dryer?
Again, drying your clothes in the clothes dryer is your best bet for fast and efficient drying. If they are really wet, you can toss a few dry absorbent towels in with them to help absorb extra water.
But, what if your dryer is broken? Or, what if you’re already running a load of clothes and you need to dry something else? Plus, certain materials can’t go in a clothes dryer because it can damage them.
Here are a few alternative options to drying your clothes:
- Hair Dryer — You can dry your clothes with a hair dryer. Most people have a handheld blow dryer in their homes. After getting out excess moisture with a towel or spinner, lay the garment down on a dry surface or towel. Then, using the warm or high temp on your dryer, move the dryer around to dry the clothing. Work on the outside, then turn the garment inside out and do the same. Don’t hold the hair dryer in one place for too long; the targeted heat could start a fire.
- Drying Rack — Use a drying rack to lay out garments that need to dry flat. Flip them every so often to speed up the process. The key is to allow air to heat the garment from every side, so simply laying it out on a flat surface will take a while. Racks are open, so the power of ventilation can dry your clothes.
- Line Dry — If you hang your clothes to dry, do so near a heat source, but not too close. Also, hang them separately and not on top of other items. Hanging them outside on a sunny day is best. Still, air-drying clothing can take between 2 and 4 hours to dry.
- Clothes Iron — Some people will use an iron to dry their clothes. But never put an iron directly on wet clothing; it can burn and damage the fabric. Instead, cover the garment with a thin towel, then iron using high heat. Flip the garment over, recover it, and iron the other side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you dry clothes in the microwave?
MIcrowaves are designed to heat food by causing friction and vibrations in water molecules. This is why people will sometimes add a splash of water to leftover food to help maintain moisture as they heat it up. Trying to dry your clothing in the microwave probably isn’t the best idea.
The microwave will likely dry some spots but overdo it in others because of the excess water, and you’ll burn your clothes. Or worse, start a fire.
Plus, if you miss any metal zippers or buttons on the clothing, that’s a big no-no. You’ll cause a significant fire hazard and damage the microwave and your clothes in the process.
How can I set my oven to 100 degrees to dry clothes?
Ovens typically don’t go lower than 170 degrees. You can place an oven thermometer in the oven on the middle rack and start preheating the oven. When you see it reach just above 100 degrees, turn off the oven. Then, you can remove the thermometer and put the tray with your clothes in its place.