IN A TWIST: Tumble dryers can be expensive to run. (Getty)
Additional reporting by Sophie Harris
With warm weather well behind us, finding ways to dry clothes indoors can be impractical and often expensive.
Many UK homes rely on using a tumble dryer for clean, soft, fragrant laundry, but with energy costs ever rising, meaning a single load in a vented tumble dryer can cost you up to £1.82 or more, many are looking to alternative options to dry their laundry. From humidifiers to drying racks, laundry doesn’t have to cost the earth this winter.
Whether you’re washing a single load once a week or keeping the whole family clean, there are some safe ways to dry your clothes without turning on the tumble dryer. In a recent article in The Express, Daniel Nezhad, Director of UK Radiators, shared advice on practical and economical ways to dry your laundry.
While it might seem that warm rooms with closed doors could help get things dry, the expert explained that wasn’t the case. He said: “Contrary to popular belief, you should not choose to trap the heat in your home by keeping the windows and doors tightly closed.
“If the area is filled with wet clothes, it dampens the air in the room and makes it almost impossible for laundry to dry in time. When the clothes are wet and the air is wet, you give the laundry no chance to lose its moisture.
“Also, you could cause real structural damage to your home by encouraging the formation of damp spots and even mold.” in. This allows the moisture to escape and the room doesn’t get too humid. Your laundry dries quickly if it’s in the right environment.”
Try a dehumidifier
If the thought of opening the windows in winter sends shivers down your spine, try a dehumidifier instead. These portable devices help collect the moisture in the air that could otherwise turn into mold and damp.
A humidifier is cheap to operate and takes up very little space. It keeps the surrounding area relatively dry, which helps dry your clothes more efficiently. Some models even have a clothes drying mode that blows a stream of warm, dry air into the area.
Remember that sometimes less is more
Overloading your washing machine not only risks leaving stains and wrinkling clothes, it also massively increases the drying time of your wet clothes. The final spin at the end of each cycle is designed to reduce excess water, making your clothes easier to manage and dry.
The expert said: “If you have a severely overcrowded washing machine, the clothes will have trouble drying on the last spin. The washing machine is designed to wring some of the water out of your laundry when there isn’t room for it.” In order to move, the moisture is essentially trapped.
“Try to limit the amount you put in your washing machine. The first step is to take control of your breakup—white, dark, and the color of winter.”
Invest in a drying rack
While a drying rack is already a staple in some homes, they can often be overlooked. Available in all different shapes and sizes, they are affordable, safe and the first step to keeping your clothes dry in winter.
Daniel said the decision to dry clothes on doors, chairs and radiators was “not a good solution to the problem”, especially as radiators can pose a fire hazard. “After you’ve hung your laundry on it, position the drying rack in a safe spot but close to your radiator and in the warmest, driest room in the house – generally somewhere small and cozy, like a small spare room that gets a lot of sunlight.”
“Turn on the heat and let the room fill with warmth, be sure to turn your drying rack from time to time. This distributes the heat evenly around all garments, so the entire load dries at the same rate.”
Leaving wet laundry in the machine after it has finished its cycle is a surefire way to keep it smelling damp.
The expert explains: “If all your wet clothes are in a pile, they can never dry because of constant rubbing against other wet objects. Hanging your laundry allows the laundry to air out.
“Put the laundry on your drying rack immediately so that it can dry in time and retain the wonderful scent of your washing powder.”
When you wash your clothes can be just as important as how you wash them. If you put on a load in the morning, they have a longer drying time in the heat and in the light.
According to the expert, hanging the laundry “correctly” is also an “important factor” so that it dries properly. Always leave gaps between items on the tumble dryer and for thicker items like jeans and towels, give them two rods on the rack so their two sides don’t even touch. You can also turn the items inside out or inside out to ensure they dry evenly.
If your drying rack is tall enough, hang shirts and nicer clothes directly onto a hanger to prevent wrinkles and increase airflow.
Daniel remarked, “If anything scratches the floor, it can’t air out and will actually make the problem worse, which is also likely to get the floor wet. Socks and underwear may secretly get into other items during the spin cycle, look for stuck fabrics to avoid long-lasting moisture.”
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