Drying racks! Are actually not the most exciting topic in the world, but they are incredibly handy items to have as part of one’s laundry arsenal. The thing is about drying racks is that they come in all sorts of different designs, and there’s one for every need. Since we’re here this week (and probably next week, too) talking about laundering delicate items like bras that really are best air dried, I figured I’d make you a primer of different drying rack styles so you can pick the one that’s best for your needs.
They’re a classic for a reason: Wooden dowel-style clothing racks are lightweight, fold up flat for storage purposes, and the accordion design doesn’t require any assembly. This rack, which is made of bamboo, has a slatted flat top for drying clothes and accessories flat or hanging, and nine lower rods for hang drying. It collapses down to 5 inches, so it can easily be stored in a utility closet or under a bed. And, because it’s bamboo, it won’t rust when exposed to outdoor elements.
The beauty of this gullwing-style drying rack is that it can accommodate garments that can be hung dry, by draping them over the rods, and things that can be hand- or machine-washed but need to be dried flat, like sweaters, or sneakers. And, because it’s stainless steel, it’s sturdier than its wood or plastic counterparts, making it a good choice for drying heavy items like jeans; but beware that it’s not ideal for outdoor use in coastal areas, because exposure to salt water can cause rust spots to form. Best of all, it folds up to 3 inches when flat, so it won’t take up a lot of storage space while not in use.
We’ll talk much more about this when Sweater Weather rolls back around but: Most sweaters benefit from being hand- or machine-laundered rather than sent out to be dry cleaned. The thing is with washing sweaters is that they should not be dried in the dryer (they’re like bras in that way). But they also need to be dried flat, rather than hung to dry, so that weight of the wet fibers doesn’t cause the sweater to stretch out and become misshapen. The mesh allows air to circulate around all sides of the garment while it’s drying. If space is limited, a similar style is available as a hanging rack that doesn’t require floor space.
One of the biggest rules of maximizing a space is to use vertical surfaces, and this wall-mounted drying rack does just that. It has 8 stainless steel accordion rods that telescope out to hang everything from small, delicate items like bras, to heavy garments like jeans — up to 60 pounds (that’s A LOT of laundry). When not in use, simply fold it back up to sit flush against the wall. This style can work in a laundry room, but in smaller homes, can also be installed in a bathroom without taking up too much extra space.
While clip-style hangers for drip drying aren’t ideal, they have a few things going for them: They’re cheap, and they’re small, so they don’t take up a lot of storage space — making them great for use in apartments or for people who don’t do a lot of air drying. It’s also a good gateway into the world of hang drying, as has been discussed in this space. Basically, these are the starter homes of drying racks: You’ll probably end up upgrading to a bigger drying rack with more amenities, but it’s a good place to start.