Drying soggy A.M. gear for the P.M. commute home

Reader and new run commuter Eric asks a very good question:

[M]ight you add where you store your wet running clothes during the day? I mean, they have to get dry before the pm commute, right?”

Technically, no: they do not have to dry before the return home. I will impinge on no person’s prerogative to ball up sweat-soaked clothing in an IKEA bag, shove it in a filing cabinet, then don the clammy bundle eight hours later to endure a mildew-scented run home. No! Such freedoms are what made America great.

Not my cup of tea, though. While I will neither impinge upon nor impugn the right so stated above, I will talk wrinkle my nose before turning it up, and then talk trash. C’mon: gross. So I take great care to dry everything out before my p.m. run, and do so in as clandestine a manner as possible. Surprisingly, no one here has ever asked me how I dry my clothes. They must assume I am one of two things: awesome or disgusting. Perhaps both. Regardless, should they step behind my desk, they would see this beneath it:

Sub-rosa sub-desk drying

My clothing is drying, or a homeless man was Raptured.

Here you see my shorts, hat, bag, shirt, gloves and socks; my tights and a pair of outer gloves are hanging respectively behind and beside my shirt. Upon arrival, I close (and lock) the door to my office, then start shucking yucky, salty running gear. It goes in a pile in the corner as I clean up. When I am once again fresh, I have this configuration in my office.

It is nothing special, nor certainly is it MacGyver-worthy, yet it is practical. The shirt is held with medium binder clips to my recycling bin, which is stacked atop a cardboard box. The shorts and hat hang from pushpins shoved into the softer wood beneath my desk. Unseen is my jacket, which is on a hanger behind my door. The star of the show, though, is my little portable fan, which even on low dries everything out before mid-afternoon. Thank you, Honeywell. I am glad I cleaned you, rather than trashed you, after a friend vomited into your whirling blades so long ago.

It is a lot less complicated outside winter, when I have fewer layers. I have also known folks who might drape their shirts or shorts over a tower computer, to be dried by its heat; I am uncertain whether that is a good idea. One reader told us she dries her sports bra near the fluorescent light inside a desktop cabinet. Who’d of thunk?

By |2016-10-22T20:26:50+00:00January 31st, 2012|Categories: How To|Tags: , , , |10 Comments

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  1. halltp January 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Haha airing out sweaty running clothes with a pukey fan. I’m sure it smells fine (or close enough to it), but the concept alone is pretty funny.

    • Kyle
      Kyle January 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      It is like sitting in the middle of a Byzantine market. Quite the melange. (After the years-ago aforementioned barfing, I scoured that fan for days with Simple Green.)

  2. Colin Delderfield January 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    I run in and cycle home then cycle in and run home, leaving my bike at work for the run home. Always have a spare set of clothes with me. But I’m a hot runner wearing only shorts/tech tee/ nike elements running jacket this am in 0 celsius and wind chill so not much to carry.

    • Kyle
      Kyle February 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Colin, I do the same thing some nights!

  3. Terry January 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    1. Selection of clothes – some dry faster than others. A consideration for what I wear/buy is how quickly it dries.

    2. I find that a folding chair generally does the job unless things are absolutely soaked (and I live in a fairly humid environment). In those instances, a shirt on a hanger that is left pretty much anywhere for an hour or so is good.

    3. Some items are more important than others – I like my base layer shirt to be dry. Shorts are less important. Hats are really important in winter, less so in summer, and so on.

  4. Kit January 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Yes and Yes! This has been my trick for commuting by bicycle for years. I found if you lay out your gear in a row infront of a desk fan with your shoes at the very end the airstream will have everything dry by the end of the day. I am in Portland so I know how to deal with daily rain. Also, roll of paper towel. Stuff three loose balls of the stuff in your shoes with a fan and you are money! I am going to be run commuting in a few weeks so I will have to try this same trick with running clothes.

  5. stephaniedevlin
    stephaniedevlin February 3, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

    great tips. i’m keeping some in mind for use when the weather gets extreme. my work provides lockers to exercise commuters, so my strategy to dry wet clothes is to use the locker located under the heater vent. i hang my clothes on a hanger in the locker and the dry air blowing at the locker all day has my stuff dry by afternoon. if it is a really soggy morning, i’ll leave my clothes hanging outside the locker for the direct hit of the hot air.

  6. Eric Nolan February 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    “Awesome or disgusting.” Great point. Who knows what our colleagues think of us? One of God’s great mysteries, I suppose. Thanks for the info. I place my garb on the heater, fyi, possibly cooking the odor, not sure.

    • Kyle
      Kyle February 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      Toast the sweat out! I wonder, Eric, if that does cook any odor out. Perhaps you just have no foul scent? And my colleagues’ appraisals of me go something like “strange and loud, and vegan,” the last of which just adds to the “strange” part.

      • Eric Nolan March 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm - Reply

        Kyle, Update on the odor-toasting: it smells really bad. I started hanging my clothes on the outside window sill once I came to that conclusion.

        And although my colleagues probably think I’m strange, a few have recently seen me running from their cars and thought it was interesting. I think they want to try it. Never thought I’d be a positive influence at work.

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