5 Effective Tips for Hanging Clothes to Dry Inside

indoor drying rack clothes energy efficient effective tipsAmong the appliances in your home, the clothes dryer is one of the top 3-4 users of electricity. For many people, this means they spend several hundred dollars a year to dry clothing. In addition, using a clothes dryer destroys your clothes (that lint you clean out from the lint screen every time? That’s your clothes being shredded to bits). Dryers also contribute substantially to indoor dust levels if they’re not vented perfectly, which most aren’t. Finally, a clothes dryer is one of the biggest fire hazards in the home.

So…to prolong the life of your clothes and save buckets of money on your energy bill (while also reducing carbon emissions), simply use an indoor drying rack to hang your clothes. (Don’t have one yet? Go to the laundry section in the Pono Home store to find a few that we’ve tested and found to be very effective). In most climates, the clothes will be dry in a few hours. The drying rack will save you so much money it’ll pay for itself in a few months, making the it one of the best investments you’ll ever make. However, some people express resistance to drying clothes inside, as they can sometimes feel a little crunchy or in some climates, take more than a few hours to dry. Other folks express dismay that some of their finer fabrics end up having a wrinkle line across them where they were hanging on the bar of the drying rack (see tip #3 to address this one).

Take it from someone who’s not used a dryer in almost 10 years, it’s not only possible, it’s actually really enjoyable and 100% effective.

Here are 5 tips to help you effectively dry clothes inside and save piles of money.

1. Wash in the mornings so that you have the full day for clothes to dry. Drying is not ineffective at night, but it’s far more effective during the day when there’s warmth and light. Wash your clothes in the morning before work, hang them up, and by the time you get home from work, they’re likely to be ready to be put away.

2. Make sure there’s space between your clothes that are hanging. This is probably the most important thing to make sure your clothes dry. If they’re touching each other, the moisture in the clothes is not exposed to air and therefore has nowhere to go. For thicker items like jeans and towels, give them two bars on the rack so that both their two sides aren’t even touching each other. For thinner items, one bar is usually sufficient.


3. Hang your nicer clothes on hangers. This is a great tip my girlfriend showed me a few years ago–since you are going to end up putting clothes on hangers anyway, why not use those hangers to dry them? Hang the hangers off the drying rack around the edges or on surrounding furniture or on the chain of a ceiling fan in a little used room. Super effective, and very convenient–when the clothes are dry, just move them to the closet–after all, they’re already on a hanger!

4. Put the drying rack in the sunniest and breeziest part of the house. Hanging clothes in a dank and humid cement basement will surely cause your clothes to take a lot longer to dry than if they’re hanging out on your balcony or next to an open window on a sunny day, exposed to sunlight. If you don’t have access to a balcony or a window you can leave open, place it in the sunniest part of the largest room you have for best results.

5. Flip. If you find your clothes are taking a little too long to dry or come up smelling a little musty, you might consider flipping clothes over on the rack, or inside out halfway through the drying process. This exposes the other surface of the clothes to the air and helps them dry much more quickly. I’ve never found this necessary, but if you have some extra time during the day, it can’t hurt.

Geographic caveats

Live in Alabama or South Florida where the relative humidity is always 99.9% and rain is just a mere dew drop away? You may consider using a dehumidifier inside. It’ll not only help your clothes dry faster, it may help with many other of the issues that come with living in moist environments. A dehumidifier will use FAR less electricity than a clothes dryer, and comes with all those side benefits.

Live in a cold climate? First, as a resident of Hawaii, I’ll say, “sorry.” Then, I’d advise that you move your drying rack to a place where your furnace or other heat source is putting off the most heat. A vent or somewhere close to a pot-belly stove where the microclimate is warmer than areas next to windows might be the best and most effective place to set your drying rack.

 


About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

1 comment

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