Whenever possible, line-dry your clothes. A little planning and a mobile drying rack means you’ll rarely need the energy-intensive dryer
The dryer is the 3rd largest consumer of energy in the typical American home and is surpassed only by the refrigerator and washing machine. Given the current disruption of our daily routines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the perfect opportunity to begin doing things differently. As many of us have extra time on our hands, let’s get reacquainted with the practices of our grandparents as well as the other 80% of the world and begin air-drying our laundry.
Our information today is coming from Green America’s 5 Reasons to Ditch your Dryer article.
Air-Drying Clothing Outdoors
A natural option is to hang clothes out to dry outside, on a line or a rack. A clothesline enables you to spend some of your laundry time enjoying the outdoors, your clothes smell “sunny” when they come back in, and drying in the sunshine helps to naturally disinfect clothes, and to gently bleach whites.
You can purchase a variety of racks and lines for outdoor air-drying of clothes. Some fold out into a rotary umbrella shape; others stretch multiple lines between two “T” posts. The innovative Cord-O Clip is a time-saving clothesline with built-in clips that close automatically when people place clothes on the line and push, and open automatically as the line is pulled around once the clothes are dry. One Green America member gets her active family’s clothes—including cloth diapers for two young children—on or off the line in less than ten minutes with this device.
Air-Drying Clothing Indoors
If you have pollen allergies, don’t have an outdoor space for hanging up clothes to dry, or expect the weather in your area will be too rainy or cold, forego the outdoor approach and use an indoor drying rack instead.
Many online retail stores offer racks and other accessories for air-drying your clothes indoors. Many of these creative items store flat or retract to save space when not in use. Real Goods, for example, offers a pine drying rack made in Maine (Editor’s Note 01/2020: No longer available) that can handle a full load of laundry, with 56 feet of drying space, and it folds flat between uses. Other drying racks perch over a bathtub, in a shower, or lower from the ceiling to which they’re bolted.
Large items like sheets and towels can dry draped over a door, banister, or a shower rod; and tablecloths generally dry happily right on the tables they cover. Socks and smaller items can air-dry using hangers lined with clips.
Why fire the dryer?
- Save energy and curb emissions
In many households, the dryer is the third-most energy-hungry appliance, after the refrigerator and washer. Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.
- Save Money
Not many people can afford to spend any more than necessary on energy bills, and many households pay more than $100 a year on the electricity claimed by their dryer. Most households will likely have less than a year of payback time for purchases that enable air drying.
- Save time
Anyone who’s had to wait around the laundromat or delay an errand to fold clothes right when the dryer finished will appreciate the flexibility of air-drying clothes. While it may take longer for clothing to get dry, you don’t have to be present to fold them to prevent wrinkles. You can hang your laundry on the rack or line and go about your day, then come back to fold whenever you get around to it.
- Save your clothes
The lint you find in your dryer is evidence of your wardrobe literally wearing away. When you stop using your dryer, you’re conserving your favorite clothes longer and saving the cost of replacing them before their time.
- It’s safer
It eliminates the risk that your dryer could ever start a dangerous fire. According to a report by FEMA, clothes dryer vents can become clogged with lint, causing more than 15,000 house fires every year.