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really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer  RSS feed

 
Destiny Hagest
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Location: Little Belt Mountains, MT
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Galadriel Freden
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I have noticed that synthetic materials are most prone to going mildewy if not dried quickly.  Cottons and woollens aren't quite so affected by this in my experience.

I live in a very humid, cool climate, and I can dry most things indoors by hanging them up really high, near the ceiling.  I dry t shirts, trousers, towels, and more on hangers hung on a curtain rail above a south-facing window;  I sometimes just drape towels over the rail too, and they generally dry overnight.  Quick drying things like linens can hang on a drying rack stood on the floor, but as a rule I try to hang things up as high as possible. 

If I can, I prefer to dry out on the line, and will wait until a clear day is forecast and do all the laundry at once;  if clean clothes are desperately needed. I'll do a small wash to hang indoors overnight.  I also sometimes do both:  in the winter I will line dry while it's sunny (though too humid to fully dry) and then finish drying indoors when the sun goes down.

(Ed for spelling)
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Just had to add this here. Besides using the latest tech, it also imparts the best scent, IMHO.



(source)
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 364
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I've been using this rack for several years now, similar to one pictured earlier.  It's one side of an Ikea crib/cot, and is attached to the wall via some hooks and baling twine (classy, I know).  It's positioned on the upstairs bathroom wall, above a radiator and next to a south facing window.  You can also see a hanger on the curtain rail above it:  I usually hang shirts to dry on the rail and everything else goes on the rack.  This set-up fits one load of laundry, and during the winter or on rainy summer days, will dry most things in less than 12 hours.  During winter, when the heating's on, I can do two loads of laundry a day, by laying things over all the radiators in the house.  This rack doesn't fit sheets or blankets--I drape these over a door (tip:  wipe the dust from the top first).

There's a tricky month or so, starting around this time of year (mid-autumn), before we turn the heating on:  it's not usually warm/dry enough to fully line dry clothes outside, and it's a bit too cool and humid inside for fully drying clothes on the rack.  I usually leave the window open to help the process, but I try not to wash heavy things like jeans unless I'm sure I can hang them outside, even for a bit--if they don't fully dry while outside, they'll finish easily on the rack overnight. 
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Clothes rack, in use
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Clothes rack, not in use
 
Olga Booker
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Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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I grew up without a drier and never owned a drier in my life so it never occurred to me that drying clothes could be a problem for anyone.  I have always adapted to the circumstances, whatever the weather.  My preferred method is a clothes line, but it was not always available to me like when I lived in an apartment in London.  It certainly was a challenge when I lived in Wales in the UK.  The UK is pretty wet but I think Wales takes the biscuit!  I'm now back in France and as soon as the sun hides behind the mountains, the humidity sets in, so you have to bring the clothes in pretty quickly and finish the drying indoors.  I have a folding clothes rack that I put in front of the wood burning range and it seems to dry everything pretty quickly.  Now that all the fencing, gates and animal housing are more or less finished, I'm going to ask my husband to build me one of these:
http://st.houzz.com/simgs/5631d5510ddc1601_4-5672/traditional-dryer-racks.jpg

Had one when I was young and it's just great.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Location: Denmark 57N
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It's never been an issue for me either, I've only had a dryer for two years out of 36, the worst place to dry stuff is probably where I am now, I live in a bog, everything is damp all the time. cloths inside on the lines in the room with the furnace take two days even when the furnace is running. We try to get things outside to dry, but that won't really be possible for the next 6 months, a combination of damp, rain and wind. The neighbours do not need my knickers.  I'm thinking to try stringing something up in the big barn, it's very drafty in there might well be better than in the house.

What we do have for the dampest periods, i.e now, same as the previous poster, our heating is not on but the outside heating has stopped. is a dehumidifier, it's a sillica gell type so it gives off a bit of heat as well (has to be the refrigeration type stop working at a much higher temp than our house is kept at!), and it can dry a full load of washing in around 10 hours. And stop all the water ending up making the house even damper.
 
Lori Whit
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I recently moved into my home, been here less than a year.  It came with a clothesline outside, but no washer or dryer.  The house is set up for only an electric dryer, not gas, which is kind of an issue.  I was adamant about getting the ability to wash and dry, however.  Tried to get a used washer and dryer, but after waiting months with nothing available for me, I got fed up.

Ran across some stuff on YouTube that inspired me to look into alternate laundry methods.  A few hours of research later, I was pretty excited by the possibilities.

I ended up buying these two things:
Costway Mini Washing Machine Small Compact Washer 6.6lbs Capacity Blue 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y28L3S1
(It was about 42 dollars at the time, which is a good deal for a washer...)

Mini Countertop Spin Dryer
http://www.laundry-alternative.com/our-products/mini-countertop-spin-dryer/

There are some adjustments to using them.  I don't think you can wash big items in these.  However, the small washer is OK for one person, and a load can include a pair of jeans and a couple of smaller items, or several shirts, etc. 

The spin dryer gets out a LOT of moisture.  Running it for 1-2 minutes, the clothes are nearly dry to the touch.  It's better than you could ever wring them by hand, and it spins FAST.  It also unbalances very easily, and I'm finding it a balancing act to learn to load it properly, not overload, not underload, etc.  It can be frustrating but I think I'm getting better at it.

This hasn't solved my entire laundry needs, but I'm definitely learning, and these were good purchases for me.  I also have to iron, which adds to the time spent on laundry.  But to be honest, it's more about the energy than the time, for me personally.  It's still less taxing to drive out and do laundry the modern way...

Since then, I've bought the Solaris Plus (http://www.laundry-alternative.com/our-products/solaris-plus/), which is a smaller sort of air dryer for indoors, but I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet.  I hope it will work well for me, since winter is coming and I'd like to be able to transition to doing more laundry without driving somewhere, and dry indoors when it's really cold out.

These are still electric appliances, but they don't use much electricity or water.  The washer doesn't agitate as such but rather spins, first one way, then the other.  There aren't a lot of safety mechanisms built in, so don't stick your hand in while it's running.  (The spin dryer does have safety measures.) 

I'm finding a good way to wash is to run the washer for five minutes, let it soak for about an hour, then run it for another five minutes, drain, and rinse.  It works pretty well like that.  The spin dryer is a bit of a hassle to manage but it's definitely worth it just for how much water it gets out.  Definitely less pain than trying to wring clothes by hand!  Clothes outside on the line can dry within a few hours on hot days.  The house on damp days...not as great.  Perhaps the Solaris will make the difference for those days, we'll see.

Just wanted to share my 2 cents!  I definitely recommend either the washer or the spinner if you're looking for a lower-energy (but still electric) alternative. 
 
Olga Booker
Posts: 96
Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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Since we are talking washing as well as drying, I have a similar system as yours Lori, except that mine is a full size washer and combined spin drier called a twin tub.  It uses 365w for washing and 180w for spinning.  Mine can take a king size duvet cover and sheet a any one time and it is true that the spinner takes away a LOT of the moisture.  We've used this for the last 15 years and they are now very common to find on Amazon or some other sites in the UK.  I love it.  It is so light that I can tuck it away somewhere when not in use and drag it in front of the sink when I need to.  I can fill it from the tap, via a rubber hose or, like when we had no running water for nearly 3 years, just fill it wit buckets.  If you forget a sock or something, just lift the lid and add it while it is washing.  Because we are totally off-grid, we only do laundry when it is sunny, therefore, we dry outside on a line and take advantage of the sun, even winter sun and a bit of wind does wonder and you just can't beat that fresh laundry smell  -  you just can't bottle that!

http://twin-tub.co.uk/

As an aside, when we used to go go off-roading, many, many moons ago, we used to have a waterproof flare container, fill it with water and a bit of grated soap, tie it to the roof and the motion of the car on rough roads would do the laundry for us.  Upon arrival, a quick rinse and hang to dry.

http://www.lifejackets.co.uk/products/152/universal-large-waterproof-container-flare-box-save-5
 
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