When and how to dry laundry has become more challenging as the year progresses because of the disturbing combination of unpredictability in the weather and growing energy costs. There is a time and a place for using a clothes dryer, but line drying is healthier for the environment, the durability of your clothing, and your electric bill.
According to experts, it is always preferable to dry clothes outside in the shade. When this is not possible, a clothes rack in a well-ventilated room will suffice.
Remove as much extra moisture as possible to begin. As long as the item can withstand a spin cycle, Ashley Iredale of the consumer platform Choice advises using the maximum spin speed on your washing machine. For garments that must be hand-washed because they are fragile or made of wool, carefully squeeze out as much water as possible or lay them on a flat towel and roll them up slowly while exerting pressure.
George Chan, a fashion technician at RMIT University, recommends spreading your items out as much as possible and staggering them according to weight when hanging out your laundry. Thicker garments should be hung at a greater height, and garments should never be stacked.
The smoother your wet garments are draped on a rack or clothesline, the crisper they will be after they are dry. This involves ensuring that shirt cuffs, stockings, and collars are completely turned out and flattened. This will also expedite the drying process. Knitwear must always be laid flat and in form, either on a rack or a towel, especially if it is exceptionally heavy.
Some clothing, such as shirts or pants, can be hung on a coat hanger with the buttons fastened and the legs or sleeves smoothed out to decrease (or eliminate) the need for ironing. Ensure that your coat hangers are sturdy enough to support the weight of any wet clothing and wide enough to allow their width to prevent deformed shoulders, as recommended by Chan. Observe caution while hanging wet garments on stained wood, dyed fabric, or wire hangers, since both dye transfer and rust can cause stains.
Putting in a line
According to Gary Nickless, proprietor of Lifestyle Clotheslines, space is the most important consideration when building a clothesline. While a Hills hoist may have a nostalgic or romantic appeal, according to him, “it is not a practical alternative, which is why folding, wall-mounted variants have become the most popular.” A retractable clothesline is an additional excellent choice for a balcony or a small yard.
Nickless then recommends ensuring that the drying space provided is sufficient for your needs. For example, if you tend to do larger loads of laundry (which is encouraged to conserve resources) or if you only wash laundry once per week, you will want more room. “Generally speaking, 35 to 40 square meters of space is plenty for a family of four, and 45 to 50 square meters is excellent for a family of five,” he explains.
Additionally, he advises Australians to purchase locally produced clotheslines to ensure they have been created with Australia’s climate in mind. Given the unseasonable rainfall in some areas of the country and the fact that sunshine can fade or age your garments, he recommended purchasing a clothesline cover, such as these from Clevacover. This enables year-round drying, as they are entirely waterproof, and provides a fantastic shaded place to protect your clothes during the hot summer months.
Nickless recommends investing in pegs to hold your clothes on the line, such as a durable stainless steel version that will outlast typical plastic pegs.
What about the inside?
A portable garment rack is the closest alternative to line drying. Since the majority of these are designed to be folded and stowed, seek one constructed of durable yet lightweight materials so that it is easy to maneuver but not flimsy. It must also be waterproof, therefore steel, aluminum, or sealed woods are the best options.
Similar to a clothesline, you must evaluate the available space in your home and the desired capacity of the rack. A rack with numerous crossbars of varying heights is ideal for underwear and T-shirts, while higher bars are preferable for larger goods such as towels or pants and flat bars or shelves are ideal for drying knitwear.
Before purchasing a drying rack, it is a good idea to spend some time reading online reviews of various models and looking for pre-owned options. A secondhand drying rack of high quality may endure longer than a brand-new drying rack of inferior quality.
Dealing with the heat
There are two disadvantages to indoor drying. The first is that moisture emitted by your clothing can worsen condensation and mold growth in your home. The second factor is duration.
It is tempting to address the latter by positioning a clothing rack near a heater. Iredale states, “It’s generally safe to point an electric heater at a drying rack, so long as it’s not too close; you don’t want water dripping into the heater, and you certainly don’t want your clothes to become so hot that they catch fire.”
Chan advises being cautious of the fabric composition if you intend to accomplish this. He advises against placing anything combustible, such as 100 percent nylon or 100 percent polyester materials, near a heater or leaving them to dry near one for an extended period.
Never drape clothing directly over the heater, as doing so offers a severe fire risk. “Not only is there a chance of the cloth or the heater itself catching fire, but the heater might overheat and deform, falling on a child, a pet, or something that is highly combustible,” explains Iredale.
He suggests a dehumidifier that can dry your laundry by blowing hot air over it. Dehumidifiers are intended to remove moisture from the air and should “greatly accelerate the drying time.” Additionally, an electric fan can aid with air circulation, which is beneficial in particularly humid areas.