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Air Drying Clothes: Dry Clothes Absolutely Free!

Posted By Jim On 07/22/2008 @ 2:13 pm In Frugal Living | 17 Comments

When JD wrote a post about how you could air dry your clothes [3] indoors, I laughed. I laughed because my family growing up always air dried our clothes and always did it indoors. We didn’t even own a clothes dryer!

Our laundry room shared the same space as our furnace so the room was always hot and always dry, the perfect atmosphere for drying clothes. The laundry room also only had washer and two lines that ran across the room, which was only slightly bigger than some walk in closets these days, and we hung all our clothes on that line.

Why did we always air dry our clothes? There were several reasons:

  • Clothing last longer. When it isn’t subject to super high heat and thrown around and around and around, clothing tends to last a little bit longer and the colors are a little brighter. The edges of shirts don’t get frayed but you do get more wrinkles and lint, which can be removed with those sticky garment rollers.
  • Less opportunity to ruin clothes. I’m a pretty simple minded person and I can’t really remember if a shirt or pair of pants has special drying instructions (yes, I could read it but when you’re grabbing clothes in bunches, sometimes stuff gets enveloped!). Is that garment tumble dry low or can I put it on high? Will it shrink? Bah, just air dry it all and you can’t possibly mess something up.
  • Less heat in the home. We tend to air dry clothes more often in the summer because the hot air of the dryer vents into our home. I’ve been meaning to go to Home Depot to get a longer exhaust hose but until then the hot air is vented into our kitchen. In the winter, this isn’t bad because the hot air heats up the house. In the summer, this is terrible because it introduce unnecessary heat into a home we’re trying to keep cool!
  • Less electricity. Obviously air drying consumes less electricity than the dryer.
  • Better for the environment. This goes hand in hand with using less electricity, which reduces demand and the burning of fuel.

If you’re not a fan of air drying, consider air drying part of the laundry load. In the winter, I always pull out towels or other thick materials for air drying. Towels suck up water so they’re especially damp and take forever in the dryer. By pulling them out, you cut down the drying time while not giving up “softness” on the garments where softness matters. I don’t care about soft towel so I use the crunchy towels while my wife uses the softer ones.

Finally, you don’t always need a clothes line to air dry your clothes, we have a fold up rack that we stick in our kitchen. It holds most of our laundry and can be bought at a Wal-Mart-type store for a few dollars (and it’s easy to move so you can stick it outside if you have a nice day out). For those items that don’t fit on the rack, we just stick them on random dining room chair backs, hangers on doors, etc. You can pretty much hang them on anything that allows for some air flow.

Give it a try, even if it’s only one a handful of items, you might like it! (and look out for rabbits!)

(photo: TheTim [4])


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[3] air dry your clothes: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/07/12/frugality-in-practice-air-dry-your-clothes-even-indoors/

[4] TheTim: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetim/458733962/sizes/l/

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