Cleaning experts swear by this affordable, must-have accessory for drying clothes on a radiator – it's perfect for small spaces

You should never dry clothes on a radiator without it

Shelving built into a corner alcove below elaborate coving with a dark metal radiator and dark wooden flooring
(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Drying clothes on a radiator is something a lot of us are likely considering in the height of the cold and rainy weather. However, experts say we ought to proceed with caution before undergoing what may seem like an otherwise mundane task.

It's undeniable that using the best heated clothes airer is the most favoured way to dry clothes fast while ensuring your energy bills don't take a hefty blow this season. However, for those of you who would rather utilise what you've already got – radiators – there are ways to maximise them to help you dry clothes in a pinch, and it all lies with an important accessory: a radiator airer.

That's right. Unless you're using a radiator airer, experts urge against drying clothes on a radiator altogether, heightening this accessory's importance all the more. Not to mention, it's the perfect space-saving solution.

Handbasin with white and grey marbled top, blue vanity unit, wood panelled wall and original cast iron radiator

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

How to dry clothes on a radiator

Investing in the best clothes airer is something you won't regret, as they'll be sure to streamline laundry day and help you save energy at home.

But, for those who may not have the luxury of space to flesh out extremely grand drying rack ideas, small and compact solutions are best. That's where radiator airers shine.

'There are several reasons why you should avoid drying your clothes directly on a radiator,' begins Nicholas Auckland, heating and radiator expert at Trade Radiators. 'It reduces radiator efficiency, increases the risk of damp, mould, and condensation in your home, and could cause clothes to be damaged or musty.'

Standing mirror on a wooden floor beside pale grey built in wardrobe and window with venetian blinds

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'Radiators are designed to heat rooms and not dry clothes. As a result, heat may not be distributed evenly over the clothes, leading to longer drying times,' warns Carlos Garcia, son of the founders of Total Clean.

These are just some of the potential dangers to consider when drying clothes indoors without the proper means, care, and consideration. Proper airflow and circulation are so important when drying clothes indoors, and using an airer or rack attachment to dry clothes on a radiator is more or less a non-negotiable.

White painted hallway with circle mirror hanging, decorated festive floating shelf, and radiator

(Image credit: Future PLC/Malcolm Menzies)

The importance of using a radiator airer

'Using an airer or rack is a more efficient and safer way of drying clothes, which also avoids causing damage to fabrics or to the radiator itself,' assures Carlos.

Better air circulation

'As your clothes aren't placed directly on the radiator, there's air circulation and space between the clothes and the heat source,' continues Nicholas. 'This means that your clothes are more likely to not only dry evenly, but there'll be less condensation suddenly brought into the air of your home.'

This minimises the chance of mould and mildew coming back and forming in our homes, which is always a welcome benefit to us.

Even TV presenter and cleaning expert, Lynsey Queen of Clean, has vouched for the use of radiator airers to dry clothes fast on ITV's This Morning and on her Instagram.

Contemporary monochrome and streamlined bathroom with marble wall tiles and black accents

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Prevents you from wasting energy

'As there's a gap between the clothes and the radiator, there's still space for the warmth from the radiator to heat the room,' explains Nicholas. 'This is really important as it means that you're saving money and not wasting any energy on simply heating up your clothes and making them hot.'

This means you can slash the cost of running a radiator as it won't have to work as hard to do its job, saving you money on your energy bills in the long run.

Shelving built into a corner alcove below elaborate coving with a dark metal radiator and dark wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Helps to extend the lifespan of your radiator

Ensuring our radiators are in tip-top condition is of paramount importance during the winter months, which is why many of us may consider flushing our radiators or even balancing our radiators to keep them working better for longer.

Well, using a radiator airer will also contribute to extending your radiator's lifespan as you won't be causing it to rust or damaging it as a result of hanging wet clothes directly on it. So, it's a win-win.

Shop radiator airers and racks

So, the next time you consider drying clothes on a radiator, be sure to keep this nifty little accessory in mind if you don't already have one in your laundry day arsenal.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.