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When you think of burning fossil fuels, your clothes dryer might not be the first machine that comes to mind. But according to the EPA, the dryer uses more energy than your fridge, dish washer or clothes washer. Many dryers burn methane (although you may know by its “nicer” name–natural gas), which is a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Hanging your close out to dry can prevent an estimated 700 pounds of carbon from going into the atmosphere per year, and save you money on your utility bill at the same time.
Air drying the laundry has other advantages. Because this is a more gentle process than the one clothes experience when being thrown around by a dryer, it can help prolong the life of your garments, and can even improve the smell of workout clothes. Even if you don’t air dry every load of wash, the benefits of using a drying rack can really add up.
Before you shop for a new rack, consider what items you already own that could be repurposed. Maybe you rig up a clothes line, or put some unused hangers to work. The shower curtain rod or a clean railing in a sunny spot might do just the trick.
However, sometimes only a durable new clothes rack will get the job done, particularly in tricky spaces. A drying rack doesn’t need a huge amount of area to operate. Whether you have a large garden that can add that delicate sunny-day aroma to your laundry, or live in an apartment and need the most compact dryer available, there are options to suit your needs. Most racks store flat or can retract for space-saving when they’re not in use. Before you commit, we strongly recommend taking measurements of the room or space where you plan to use the rack.
To help, we’ve compiled this list of the best clothes drying racks for laundry rooms, living rooms, and even for underused spaces such as the bathroom.
Read Next: The Best Sustainable Bamboo Sheets
Our top pick is the Lavish Home bamboo clothes drying rack (available on Amazon), for both its sustainability and versatility. For a clever over-the-door option, consider the Brabantia Radiator Hanging Clothes Dryer (available at West Elm).
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