Mar 8, 2010

Drying your clothes without a dryer-air drying

Air drying your moist clothes after washing them can certainly be a practice that most in the country can do without trouble. In the middle of winter in the northern half of the country perhaps it is harder to dry outside and of course one must be cognizant of rain always to dry outside but indoor drying is possible with the devices offered by Conserv-A-Store

As we learn in the article below, air dried clothes can smell better and last longer:

Air Drying Clothes Without A Clothesline
by Jill Cooper

from 2004

We all know that if we don’t dry our clothes in the dryer we save on electricity, but many of us don’t think about how the dryer reduces the life of our clothes.

* * *

Fast forward a couple decades. One day after folding my grandson’s new underwear, I noticed that the waistband was terribly rippled. After doing some research, I discovered the answer: The dryer was destroying the rubber elastic in the socks and underwear.

The dryer also shrinks clothes and sets in stains.

The two reasons I think most people don’t line dry their clothes are that they think it is inconvenient or they’re just not sure how to do it. Here are some of the best tips I have found to air dry clothes without a clothes line.

If you have no clothesline, you live in an apartment or your homeowners association won’t allow clotheslines, here are a few ways to dry without a clothesline.

You need at least one drying rack and some type of clothes rod. You can buy drying racks at most discount stores or hardware stores. You might locate a clothes rod in your laundry room above the dryer, use a sturdy shower curtain rod in the bathroom or get a metal clothes racks that hooks over the back of a door. You don’t need much. I can hang two loads of laundry on one drying rack and 2 feet of clothes rod.

Hanging on a Clothes Rod

Hang as many items as you can on clothes hangers, beginning with the obvious things like dresses, dress shirts and blouses and hang the hangers on a clothes rod to dry. Be sure not to put the hangers too close together or the clothes will not dry. You can also hang things like pajama tops, t-shirts, small kids shirts and one piece outfits. Lightweight pants, pajama bottoms, skirts and sweats can be pinned on clothes hangers and even sheets can be folded and hung on them. If you are really short of drying rack space, you can hang socks, underwear, wash rags, hand towels and towels on hangers and add them to your clothes rod, too.

Hanging on a Clothes Rack

When hanging clothes on a drying rack, I start at the bottom with socks and underwear, wash rags and baby clothes. Young children’s clothes and hand towels go on the middle layer and the top rack is for towels, jeans, pillow cases, sweaters, sweats, pajama bottoms and t-shirts. I try to use every inch of space, so if I put a pillow case on the rack and there are a couple of inches left next to it I put a sock there. I even hook bras on the corners of the rack.

Drying racks are handy because they can be moved to speed up the drying process. Place them outside on a sunny (but not windy) day. Inside the house, try putting them over a vent and the heat or air conditioner will dry them faster. If you don’t have central heat or air then you can place them in front of your heater or a fan. Don’t place clothes close enough to heaters to be a fire hazard.

If you are short on space and don’t want to look at a drying rack in the middle of the room, do the laundry before bed, hang it and in most cases it will be dry by morning (especially if you set it above an air vent).

Try hanging large king sized sheets or blankets over your shower rod, over the rail of your deck, between two lawn chairs or folded in half or quarters over your clothes rack. When you fold large items, you must flip and turn them every 5-10 hours so that each side gets dry.

Sometimes it is useful to hang a clothesline in the basement or attic. Be sure to check out your department stores and hardware stores for other ideas. They have many clever items like retractable clotheslines, things to hang over doors and some not so new ideas like extra large drying racks that can hold two loads of laundry each.

Even though this may sound complicated at first, once you do it a few times it becomes second nature to you. Pretty quickly, you will discover the most efficient way to hang your clothes on the rack. I know automatically that three wash rags fit across the bottom bar of my rack and the two socks will fit next the that particular t-shirt. It’s like putting a puzzle together- the first time takes you longer than the times after that because you know where the pieces fit.

Conserv-A-Store is proud to offer a nice selection of air drying devices for indoor or outdoor drying

The Indoor 3 tier drying rack

can be put in most kitchens with a towel underneath to dry after the meals are prepared and the kitchen is not in use

The over-the-bath air dryer

is perfect for any bathroom and is perfect for a tub. If you have no clothes washing appliance you can wash your clothes in the tub and then dry the clothes on this airer which can be positioned in the tub

Umbrella style outdoor air dryers

are the way we've dried clothes for years and offer the most surface area

Oddly you must be cognizant of local code rules when drying outside. Some local municipalites do not allow outdoor clothes drying and some condo associations feel outdoor clothes drying makes their condo seem low income which seems sorta strange.

Here's an estimate of what the cost of using an electric appliance to dry clothes can be to your pocket book and to the Earth:

Cost/load (electric): $ .35
CO2/load (electric): 5.6 lbs.
Loads/year for a family: 365
Cost of a clothes horse: $ 5-10
$ saving/year (1/2 loads air dried): $63.88
lbs CO2 saved/year (1/2 loads air dried): 1016 lbs.
from july 24.2006 by orrin cook

1 comment:

  1. As more and more of us are trying to be more green and more frugal in this economy. I think more and more people are considering air drying on a clothes drying rack or a clothes line. I would like to say that I dry all my laundry on racks year round. It is really easy. It took a few new habits. My clothes last longer and my utility bills are lower a win win proposition.