Do you air dry your clothes?

  • Beki's Avatar
    I saw a post over on Money Saving Expert the other day and it asked:

    Would you line or air dry your laundry for free, potentially in full view of neighbours or family, or tumble dry at a cost so your washing is hidden from sight? That's the question on the MSE Forum this week!

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    With nearly 60% of UK households owning a tumble dryer, I wondered what the impact is on the climate is, but also the impact on household bills and I would love to hear from you if you have one. Do you class your tumble dryer as an essential or a luxury item? Have you reduced any luxuries a home?

    I do not own a tumble dryer but a lot of my friends and family do and they rely on them heavily. I have had one in the past but barely used it at all, preferring clothes to be air dried outside on the line. I must admit I did feel very smug when I looked into the carbon impact of using a tumble dryer. Over the course of one year, it can emit more carbon that a tree can absorb in its first 50 years!

    The average drying cycle uses over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg of CO2...If all households with a tumble dryer, dried one load of washing outside each week, they could save over a million tonnes of CO2 a year and 1460 kWh of energy. 😱
  • 12 Replies

  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    Not everyone has an outside to dry clothes. We found that MIL who lived in a 9th floor flat benefitted from a tumble dryer because it captured the water vapour and reduced condensation in the property considerably. Of course the heat produced was also a slight benefit in the winter months.

    But in general limiting the use of tumble dryers will help people limit their electricity consumption. Some usually more expensive models, have integral heat pumps and so are much more economical to run. Those shopping for appliances of all types would be well advised to include running costs in their decision making.
    Current Eon Next and EDF customer, ex Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • Crunchie66's Avatar
    Level 1
    Ours all goes on the line and the neighbours have survived so far ! It saves twice as it hardly needs any ironing either. We are lucky to have outside space to do it though.
  • Han_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    Person who lives in a flat here 🙋‍♀️

    I live on the 18th floor of my block and there unfortunately is no outdoor space for me 😮. Couldn't even hang my socks out the window if I wanted to! We do have a tumble dryer but I refrain from using it as much as possible; the costs of running those and also the impact on the environment scares me to say the least and you will catch me with clothes on a air dryer almost 24/7!
    I have found that it is a good idea to hang bedding/towels on the doors and putting thicker clothing on the radiators (not turned on) with the window slightly open helps to dry those a lot faster, but I guess my windows are right above the raidator so I am not too sure if that would work for everybody.

    Any advice or tips on what I can do will be so much appreciated!
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  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    Use the maximum rate of spin in the washing machine, hang clothes as spaced out as possible in one room with the window open and door to rest of the flat firmly closed. Using a fan to circulate the air will help dry them more quickly - think wind day versus still day.

    Wearing clothes for longer without changing them will reduce the amount of washing to be done - less loads less drying.
  • Han_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    Thank you @meldrewreborn
    I will deffo start locking them in a room and trying it! I am hoping that as we get into warmer months they will dry a lot quicker. Most certainly is a pain getting them dry! What about you? Do you have a garden to hang your clothes out?
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    The problem here is the variables in how they're used. What size load how often and the specification of the machine?

    Take Beki's calculation above. The 4kwh per load is probably too high. The annual consumption calculation assumes 3 full loads per week. 1460 kWh per annum is half of my actual electricity usage, so it has to be an over estimate. The OFGEM price cap assumes circa 3000 kWh per year for the average home. So I'm very happy to be almost average - humble I am! But yes, of course, limiting their use will be of benefit to nearly every person with some responsibility for paying the bills.
  • Beki's Avatar
    @meldrewreborn 4KwH is an average how much energy is used on a daily cycle so of course, there is higher and lower usage than that.
    Absolutely love the idea of hanging it in one room (I wish I had a spare in winter time) but I am lucky to have outside space.

    My great grandmother lives in an area where there is a service charge to be paid and part of the rules is that they are not allowed to hang clothes in their garden... I could not believe it when she told me! Purely for aesthetic reasons!
    @Han_EONNext I heard very similar to @meldrewreborn about using a dehumidifier too...but of course that runs on electric.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91

    A dehumidifier does make sense in a flat. Condensation from excess water vapour meeting cold surfaces is a perennial problem in flats. The solution of opening a window to ensure a change of air can also be expensive as you are losing heat as well that has cost a lot to obtain.

    The excess moisture comes from breathing, washing - both people and clothes, cooking and the like. That moisture has to go somewhere, and releasing it externally does work. But that mean losing heat too. Using a dehumidifier to capture the moisture and dispose of it therefore makes sense and the electricity consumed adds heat to the premises as well. If on one of the two tier tariffs, using the dehumidifier at night means it costs less to run.