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19 Different Types of Clothing Drying Racks

Clean clothes on drying racks.

We have 3 clothing drying racks and when it’s laundry time (almost every day with 2 young kids), those racks are put to use drying clothes. While we put kids’ clothes in the dryer, I prefer my clothes drying naturally to prevent them from shrinking.

Drying racks are one of those simple things that make simple everyday life such a breeze. It’s the traditional yet brilliant solution when you need some space for your wet clothes to dry. To help solve your mundane yet practical real life problem, there are many types of drying racks are available to make life easier. The different types come in a range of sizes, functions and features. Here they are.



Freestanding clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Freestanding clothes drying racks tend to be very large and are perfect for a home that relies on a drying rack for most of their drying needs. While there are some that are expandable and will fold down into themselves when not in use for each storage space, most of the other freestanding drying racks are so large that once they are installed, it is too much of an effort to break them back down. These racks need enough space around them for the air to circulate and to help dry the clothing. When looking for a freestanding drying rack, you may want to consider getting one with wheels, as it will allow you to move it easily in and out of storage. Also make sure you have enough space in your home, as some of them will telescope out and become quite large.


Wall-mounted clothing drying rack

Source: Houzz

These drying racks are a much more permanent solution to your drying problems than a freestanding drying rack, because they are actually screwed into the wall of your home, making it very difficult to relocate them later on. They offer all of the same other benefits you will enjoy from a drying rack, but are great if you don’t have a lot of space in your room to store your drying rack. Users love that once installed on the wall they will fold up into themselves, saving space and keeping the floor nice and clear of any items. When the drying rack is needed, the rack will simply pull out from the wall and unfold. It can be stretched out as far as you need, either just a little to get the space that you need or all of the way if you have a lot of clothes and need them to be really spread out. Once the clothes are dried and removed, the wall-mounted clothes drying rack will simply fold back up on itself for storage against the wall.

Ceiling Mounted

Ceiling mounted clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

These clothing drying racks take advantage of the fact that warm air rises to help dry clothes a lot faster than they would if they were on a rack that was closer to the ground. By mounting these clothes drying racks on the ceiling, not only do you enjoy warmer air circulating around your clothing to dry them, but they will also be lifted up and out of your way. These drying racks are unique in that they will have a series of strings that allow the user to lower the drying rack as well as to raise it back up. This means that you don’t have to get a ladder or step-stool in order to use the drying rack, as you can simply lower it down to your level to easily fill it with wet clothing and then raise it back up out of the way for the clothing to dry. Then, when the clothes have dried, it’s easy to lower the drying rack again to remove them.


Hanging clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

These are much smaller clothes drying racks than the other ones that are available, and are generally used for smaller items. Some versions are available that are perfectly designed to dry sweaters in a flat position so that they do not wrinkle, while others come with multiple clips for hanging up delicate items like handkerchiefs. No matter what kind of hanging clothes drying rack you buy, the process for using it is going to be the same. They have larger hooks that they hang from, and these hooks can be easily slipped over the shower curtain rod in your bathroom. This gives the drying rack enough room that the air in the bathroom can circulate around it and around the items that you’re drying. When you are finished using the rack, it can be removed and stored in a closet or in the laundry room until you need it again.

Over the Door

Over-the-door clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Not everyone has enough room in their home to warrant a freestanding clothes drying rack, or has the need for a large one. If you want to be able to dry your clothes on a drying rack from time to time but don’t want to make the commitment of buying a more expensive and larger one, then a drying rack that fits over the top of the door may be perfect for you. When these are not in use, they will fold up flat against the door, making it easy for the door to operate normally. When you need the use of the drying rack, you can easily fold it down where it will hang at a 90-degree angle from the door. You can then hang your damp clothes on the rack. Of course, when the rack is being used, your door will not be able to press flush against a wall, but this small sacrifice is worth it to many people who otherwise wouldn’t have room for a drying rack in their home.

Fold Out

Fold out clothing drying rack

Source: Etsy

Freestanding clothing drying racks are among the most popular kinds that are available. They are relatively inexpensive and generally very easy to take care of. When you are looking for a freestanding clothing drying rack, you will want to make sure you buy one that is large enough to meet your needs, because they tend to be a bit on the smaller side. These drying racks are very popular in smaller homes or for a teenager to take to college. Larger freestanding drying racks can become a permanent fixture in the laundry room, but it’s really common to take smaller ones with you when you are moving, going on vacation, or simply need to dry some items. One of the major benefits of these kinds of drying racks is that if the weather is nice and you want to dry your clothing outside, you can set up the drying rack on the porch or in the yard. This allows you to get that fresh smell in your clothing without the hassle or the commitment of installing a clothesline, and as some neighborhoods do not allow clotheslines, you can get around that regulation by using your freestanding clothes drying rack instead.



Mesh clothing drying rack

Source: Hayneedle

Instead of throwing your sweaters and other delicate pieces of clothing in the dryer only to find that they get ruined, if you use a mesh or nylon drying rack, then you can rest easy knowing that they will be held in a neutral position while they are drying. This prevents them from becoming damaged or stretched out in the dryer. These laundry drying racks are generally fairly small, as most people won’t be drying more than a few sweaters at a time, and either hang over the shower curtain rod in the bathroom or can be simply placed on top of the dryer or the washing machine. They do a great job at giving your delicate pieces of clothing a safe place to dry without much risk of damage. With a breathable mesh, the air will circulate easily around the clothing, and there won’t be any concern or risk of mold or mildew.


Metal clothing drying rack

Source: Houzz

Metal drying racks are among the most popular kinds out there, and for good reason. While they do tend to be a little heavier than some of the other available options, they make up for that little bit of extra weight by being very sturdy and strong. You won’t have to worry about accidentally overloading your clothes drying rack and causing damage to it when you opt for a metal rack, and there is very little chance that it will ever be damaged during storage. When you want to buy a clothing drying rack that will last for a very long time, not need a lot of maintenance, and do a good job drying your clothes, then opting for a metal one is a good choice. Make sure you have enough space in your home for a metal rack, as they tend to be a little bit bigger than other available choices.


Plastic clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Plastic drying racks are great because they are very lightweight. This means that you can easily move your rack from one location to another in your home. If you buy a plastic wall mounted rack, then you won’t have to worry about the weight of the rack accidentally damaging the wall, and you can rest easy when you load up the drying rack with a number of damp clothes. Another great benefit of plastic drying racks is that there isn’t any chance that they will mildew or mold, no matter how wet the clothing is that you’re trying to dry, or how long you leave it on the rack. It is important to note, however, that these racks are a little easier to damage and to crack than metal or wood ones are. When this happens, you will have to get a new drying rack, because unlike wood racks that can sometimes be repaired, once the plastic has cracked, there is no easy way to fix it, and you will be putting yourself at risk of injury each time you use it.


Wood clothing drying rack

Source: Wayfair

Wood is a very popular material for clothing drying racks, and for a few good reasons. It’s very sturdy, can be painted to match the décor in the home, and is the best option if you are going to have your drying rack out and on display. When you opt for a wood drying rack, you won’t have to worry about how it will look, as even natural wood is very appealing. Some wall-mounted wood drying racks are decorated to become part of the décor in the laundry room, bringing personality into that specific room. If you do accidentally crack your wood drying rack, it can sometimes be fixed with wood glue, making this rack a great choice if you have a busy home that may damage it and are handy enough to fix the problem yourself. One problem with wood drying racks is that they can become damaged by wet clothing over time. Make sure you give your wood drying rack a chance to air out in between uses so that you don’t have problems with mold or mildew. When the wood is left wet for extended periods of time, this is a problem that can occur.



Folding clothing drying rack

Source: Etsy

Folding drying racks are incredibly useful and make it very easy to have a nice place to dry your clothing even if you have a smaller home. Because they can be folded flat, you don’t have to worry about how they will look out in your home when they’re not in use. These can generally be made quite flat, perfect for storing beside the washing machine, under a bed, or in a closet. While some people do not like these kinds of drying racks because they have to be set up and then taken down each time they are used, if space is at a premium in your home, then they are most likely your best option. These racks do tend to be a little smaller than freestanding ones, but offer enough flexibility that they are worth using.


Portable clothing drying rack

Source: Wayfair

If you need to be able to take your clothes drying rack with you, then you will want to make sure you buy a portable one. This is ideal for college students who will need to move back and forth to their dorm each year or for the family that loves to travel. Instead of paying exorbitant amounts for laundry facilities, it’s much less expensive to pay to wash clothing and then hang it up to dry. Another great use for portable drying racks is going camping. After a long day hiking or swimming, it’s very easy to take off wet clothing and dry it on the rack overnight. This also keeps all damp clothing and towels out of the tent and prevents a musty smell from building up in the sleeping space.


Indoor clothing rack

Source: Hayneedle

Indoor drying racks generally aren’t as heavy-duty as ones you can use outside. While you may be able to take your portable indoor drying rack out onto the porch or the deck to dry your clothes, it’s best to use a drying rack that has been specifically designed and manufactured to stand up to the elements. These drying racks are going to be lighter, as they don’t have to stand up to high winds, and won’t be made of materials that are as heavy-duty or as strong. Over time, using your indoor drying rack outside can cause it to become damaged by the hot rays of the sun. These racks really are best suited for indoor use, and when used correctly and properly taken care of, they will last for a very long time.


Outdoor clothing drying rack

Source: Wayfair

Being able to dry your clothes in the sun without having to worry about the hassle and frustration of installing a clothesline is a major perk to some people. It’s easy enough to take your portable clothes drying rack outside with you, but if you know that you’re going to be drying your clothes outside a lot of the time, you will want to invest in an outdoor drying rack. These can be attached to the side of your porch or deck and folded up into themselves so they don’t take up a lot of space. When you need to dry your clothes, you simply pull it out to the size you need to allow for great air circulation. Instead of worrying about damaging your indoor drying rack, when you buy one that is specifically made for the outdoors, you can rest easy knowing that it will be able to stand up to elements and to pests without any damage.


Pop-up clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

When you want to be able to quickly and easily get your drying rack into position, you will want to opt for one that is a pop-up drying rack. These are going to store flat for ease and to keep them from using a lot of space, and when you need them, all it takes is gently pulling upward for them to spring into shape. This reduces the frustration of a lot of moving parts and ensures that you can get started drying your clothes right away. These drying racks will normally lock into position once they have been popped open so that you don’t have to worry about them collapsing prematurely. If they did, they would not only drop your clean clothes on the floor, but could also actually injure someone. Buying a pop-up clothes drying rack is a great way to save on space and get a rack that is very easy to use.


Rolling clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

It’s very nice to be able to push your clothes drying rack out of the way when not in use, and if you have enough space in your home or laundry room to store a full-size drying rack, you will want to make sure that you opt for one with wheels. Without wheels, you will find that it’s almost impossible to easily move this drying rack from one location to another, but wheels make the job incredibly simple. This means that no matter if the rack is empty or you have it full of heavy, damp clothing, you will be able to push it out of the middle of the room. These drying racks normally don’t collapse, so you will want to have a designated storage space for them so you don’t have to deal with a large drying rack taking up from when it is not in use.


Stackable clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Don’t worry about where you are going to put all of your sweaters and delicates while they are air-drying when you use stackable laundry drying racks. These can easily be placed on top of each other if you need more drying space, but they have enough room between the racks to allow for great air circulation. This means you won’t ever have to worry about your clothing staying damp for a long time or mildewing. Because they are stackable, they are a great way to save space when you need to dry your items but don’t have a lot of floor space or room on top of your dryer.


Retractable clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Keep your drying rack out of sight with one that retracts. You’ll be able to easily pull out this drying rack when you need it, and it will snap back in on itself when not in use. No matter where you have this drying rack installed, it will fade into the décor and the wall so that it doesn’t become a focal point of the room. These are ideal for very small homes, as they allow users to hang up a lot of clothes to dry and then retract back into their small space so you don’t have to worry about an eyesore in the room.


Tilt-out clothing drying rack

Source: Home Depot

Save space with your hanging or wall-mounted drying rack when you choose one that tilts out. Instead of always being in the ready position for hanging wet clothes, racks that will tilt out when you use them save you a lot of space and ensure that you only have them out when you actually need them. These are great in smaller apartments or homes that don’t have a dedicated laundry room.