is it bad to sleep with wet clothes drying?
Questions And Answers

Should You Sleep in A Room Where Clothes Are Drying?

(Last Updated On: January 1, 2023)

Not everybody has outside space or dry weather, forcing them into drying clothes on radiators. However, drying clothing with artificial heating carries certain risks.

Avoid drying clothes indoors, and never dry them in an occupied bedroom. Damp laundry increases air moisture by 30%, magnifying the risk of breathing difficulties while sleeping and compromising the immune system. Also, damp clothing can lead to mold in the bedroom.

If you must dry clothing indoors, keep your garments away from the bedroom. Wherever possible, keep wet laundry out of the home entirely.

Is it Bad to Dry Clothes in Your Room?

Drying laundry can be problematic if you don’t have an outside area within your property. Experts always recommend air drying damp clothing in open spaces, but that may not be an option.

When we drape damp laundry around our home, we increase the interior moisture levels by around 30%. This can lead to health concerns, which are magnified when they apply to a bedroom.

The main concern related to moisture in the air is that it causes dampness in a property’s walls, and dampness often leads to black mold. As per Indoor and Built Environment, inhaling black mold is often linked to ill health, and mold smells unpleasant and looks unsightly.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid black mold, moisture will create a humid environment, which is ideal for dust mites.

Moisture in the home may cause a reaction to chemicals found in a fabric softener. Be particularly wary of the synthetic dye D&C Violet 2. Despite being FDA-approved, this dye is a suspected carcinogen.

As you’ll just be passing through, these risks can be mitigated in a larger space, such as a hallway or a dedicated laundry room. A bedroom is usually smaller, and you’ll spend more time in the location.

Is It Bad To Sleep with Wet Clothes Drying

Now you know why drying laundry in a bedroom isn’t ideal. You may decide it’s OK if you distribute the laundry early enough so it’s not lying around when you retire for the night.

In these instances, you may have the occasional night when you’re ready for bed, and your clothing isn’t yet dry. Would it hurt to leave the damp clothing lying around while you sleep?

is it bad to dry clothes in your room?

Breathing Difficulties

The main risk of sleeping with wet laundry in a bedroom is the problems it can cause to breathing. The enhanced humidity and moisture levels can be hazardous to anyone with asthma or COPD.

As mentioned, these higher moisture levels have two primary side effects – dust mite infestations and mold growth. If you’re sleeping while breathing in mold spores, your immune system may not react in time, and an asthma attack could be triggered.

As per the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, dust mites are another significant asthma trigger for many people. Do you feel comfortable knowing that you could suffer an asthma attack at night?

Even if you don’t have a diagnosis of a breathing issue, be wary of sleeping in such moist conditions. The human body expects a cool, dry environment when at rest.

Compromised Immunity

While we sleep, our body repairs itself from the wear and tear of the day, including internal organs and muscles. By breathing in damp air caused by drying laundry while we sleep, the immune system works overtime to counter the impact.

At best, the immune system will be successful, and you’ll not fall ill. As a result, your sleep will be disturbed as the body works overtime when it should be resting and recuperating.

There’s no guarantee that your immune system will combat the additional moisture while you sleep, especially if you regularly surround yourself with damp laundry. This vulnerability will lead to upper respiratory infections that will likely grow increasingly debilitating.

Increased Temperature

If you have ever compared drying laundry inside to hanging it on a line, you’ll have noticed a fundamental difference in drying time. Leaving clothes to dry at room temperature may take all day, whereas exposure to the sun and wind takes half as long.

This is because clothing hung outside provides more significant space for water molecules to evaporate. These molecules escape faster, especially when blowing in the wind. Naturally, exposure to the sun’s rays generates more heat.

A simple solution seems to be turning on the radiators in your home, increasing the ambient temperature and speeding up the dissolution of water molecules. This introduces new problems because sleeping in a cooler room is advisable.

Frontiers in Neuroscience explains how our body relies upon a natural drop in temperature at night, reflecting the expectations of circadian rhythms. Cranking up artificial heat sources makes it challenging to cool off at night, which will disturb sleep.

Solutions to Drying Clothes in a Bedroom

We have established that drying clothes indoors is far from ideal and that doing so in the bedroom is even worse. Some people may feel they have no choice, though. For example, if you share a home, you may not feel comfortable leaving your laundry in communal areas.

If you have no choice but to dry clothing within a bedroom, there are some steps you can take to make this safer. None are ideal, but they’re preferable to breathing in the damp air created by wet clothing in a bedroom overnight.

Enhanced Ventilation

We have mentioned how you should avoid increasing the temperature in a room to dry laundry while sleeping. If you have no choice but to do so or wish to enhance ventilation, consider sleeping with your windows open.

Opening windows may not always be an option. If you live in a city, this can be too noisy to sleep in. According to Indoor Air, letting CO2 into the bedroom impacts sleep quality and introduces security risks.

In these cases, investigate alternative ways to ventilate the room in which you sleep. If appropriate, keep doors open and invest in a fan to keep air circulating. Installing vents into walls, or even a full air conditioning system, will also help.

drying clothes on radiators

Dedicated Cupboard or Closet

Another solution could be to use an empty closet for drying your clothes.

If you place the laundry inside the wardrobe and close the doors, the damp air will have limited opportunity to circulate in the bedroom.

Include a small fan in the closet and drill ventilation holes for the best results. If you hang clothing without taking these steps, moisture will become trapped in the closet itself, resulting in smelly clothing, dampness, and rot within the furniture.

Always dry out the closet between bursts of drying and stop using it at any sign of mold. Use this solution sparingly and ensure you spin your clothing in the washing machine multiple times before hanging it in a closet. The closer laundry is to dry when placed in a closet, the longer you’ll be able to sustain this approach.


This is arguably the most effective solution to drying wet clothing in a confined space, such as a bedroom. The fan on a dehumidifier reduces humidity in a room, which is essential when wet clothing is present.

A dehumidifier achieves this aim by extracting moisture from the air of a room. Better yet, most modern dehumidifier models have a laundry setting designed to work harder to counter the side effects of drying damp clothing.

Dehumidifiers are more cost-effective than tumble dryers, requiring significantly less energy. They take up to six hours to dry laundry in a bedroom. Arrange your damp clothes early, leaving plenty of time to dry them before bed.

It’s not always easy to get laundry dry in a small home but do all you can to avoid leaving your damp clothing in a bedroom. The best solutions are visiting a laundromat with drying facilities or getting a tumble dryer. They may come with a price tag, but your health will be enhanced.