It’s one of the sights that most evoke summer – crisp, clean clothes hanging on the washing line, blowing in the gentle breeze as the sun shines down. But, while we all know what the optimum conditions are for drying our laundry, rain is predicted to continue through June. So just how can you dry your clothes when you can’t hang them up in the sunshine outside?
Well one eco retailer has just compiled a list to help householders struggling with piles of wet washing.
Nigel’s Eco Store MD Nigel Berman says: “Where to dry clothes when it’s raining outside is a dilemma for 55% of UK households who don’t own a tumble dryer and, for those that do, it’s expensive to use it all the time. Finding resourceful ways to dry clothes will use less energy, save money and get your clothes dryer faster.” No one wants to put the heating on just to dry their clothes – it’s supposedly summer and it’s expensive to heat the house just for washing. And, although 45% of us own one, according to the Energy Saving Trust, tumble dryers are one of the most energy-hungry appliances in the home, using around four times as much energy as a washing machine.
When the air is damp, clothes can take ages to dry on indoor drying racks, or hung over radiators and doors, and they can be a breeding ground for bacteria, starting to smell.
So here’s Nigel’s Eco Store’s tips for drying without a tumble dryer.
- Use a fan to move the air around a clothes drying rack – clothes can dry in as little as a few hours instead of a few days.
- A dehumidifier near the clothes rack helps. It uses electrical power to drive its compressor but will use less energy than heating devices. On average, they cost around 36p to run for four hours.
- An extra spin cycle on your washing machine can reduce drying time considerably by squeezing out an extra few drops of water from your clothes.
- Put your clothes rack outside if the forecast is for showers. That way, it’s easier to pick it up and bring it inside rather than unpeg a whole line of washing.
- Use the thermostatic valves on your radiators to isolate most of the central heating system, leaving one radiator on for your washing.
- Invest in a low-energy tumble dryer, making sure it has an automatic drying sensor function so it doesn’t over-dry clothes, but switches off when it senses the moisture level is low. If you do use a tumble dryer, use Dry Cubes, which save 30% on drying time and cost by distributing the heat better in the dryer.
Invest in a Sheila Maid clothes drying rack. They can carry 8kg of laundry and can be hoisted out-of-the-way above your heads. Clothes dry faster on one because they’re in the warmest part of the room even when the heating’s not on because warm air rises. They’ve been part of British households for more than 100 years, and are a great alternative to a tumble dryer, drying clothes on radiators or floor level drying racks.