Can You Dry Clothes in Front of a Log Burner?

Log burners are a great way to heat your home in the colder months. Of course, this time of year is also difficult for drying clothes, leading us to ask…

Can you dry clothes in front of a log burner? Generally, it’s fine to dry clothes in front of a log burner, provided you don’t put them too close. You’ll also have to think about all the moisture you’re adding to the room’s air, but this shouldn’t be a massive issue.

In this article, we’ll look at the best way to dry clothes in front of a log burner, and any potential risks you might face.

clothes near in wood stove burner

How Do You Dry Clothes in Front of a Wood Burning Stove?

The best way to dry clothes in front of a wood burning stove is to use a clothes airer such as this:

Vileda Sprint 3-Tier Clothes Airer, Indoor Clothes Drying Rack with 15 m Washing Line

or an old-fashioned clothes horse. While you can hang clothes on furniture, it generally won’t provide enough airflow. This could mean your clothes don’t try evenly and might get a bit smelly.

Using a wood burning stove to dry your clothes is as simple as putting the clothes airer in the same room. There’s theoretically no maximum distance, as stoves kick out a lot of heat.

If you want to improve efficiency, either shut the door or position the airer around 2m from the stove.

You won’t want to block the stove completely, as this could reduce airflow and heat circulation. While it won’t make a massive difference, you don’t need to put the clothes super close anyway.

Can You Dry Clothes in Front of a Log Burner?

Can You Dry Clothes on a Wood Burner?

You shouldn’t put your clothes on the wood burner itself, as this is a fire risk. Clothes are pretty flammable, and it’d only take a rogue spark to set them alight.

The closest you’d want to hang your clothes would be a metre or so. However, using an airer allows you to change the distance when needed.

Of course, if you have an open fire, you’ll want to keep your clothes well away. Open fires can spit sparks, and at best this’ll leave burn marks on your clothes. At worst, it could start a pretty big fire.

Risks of Drying Clothes on a Stove

Using a wood burning stove to dry clothes is fairly low-risk. That said, there are some things you should be aware of before you start using a fire to dry your clothes in the winter.

clothes in a fireplace

Fire Risk

We’ve touched on this already but it bears repeating: clothes are flammable, so minimise your risk of starting a fire. Provided you keep the clothes a good distance from the stove, there shouldn’t be any issues.

If you typically leave your fire to burn out overnight, it’s best to not leave clothes hanging in front of it. While you don’t need to constantly monitor drying clothes, it’s best to be around in case something happens.

Just as you shouldn’t leave a tumble dryer unattended, neither should you leave clothes drying in front of a fire.

Damage to Clothes

Prolonged exposure to heat can damage the fibres in clothes, particularly high quality, cotton shirts. Leaving them brittle. This is true of washing machines, tumble dryers, and wood burning stoves.

Ideally, you should aim to only keep your clothes in front of the fire for as long as it takes them to dry. Luckily, this should only take a few hours.

Extra Humidity

It should come as no surprise that drying clothes indoors will create extra humidity. A stove doesn’t have a massive impact on a room’s humidity levels, as it only slightly increases the air exchange.

The best way to control humidity and condensation is with airflow. Leaving the door open should ensure air can move in and out of the room, although this’ll obviously reduce the stove’s heating efficiency.

If you want to keep an eye on things, consider setting up a hygrometer such as this:

ThermoPro TP50 Digital Thermo-Hygrometer Indoor Room Thermometer with Recording and Climate Indicator for Room, Climate Control Monitor

You should aim to keep a room’s humidity under 50%, and mould can start growing at 55-70%. If you find it difficult to control humidity levels, consider getting a dehumidifier.

Log Burner Clothes Dryer – A Summary

Lighting a log burner is an energy efficient and inexpensive way to dry clothes (at least compared to tumble dryers).

Make sure you monitor humidity levels to avoid damp problems in your home, and you’ll never have to worry about clothes taking days to dry in the winter ever again!