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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Four Reasons Why You Should Hang Dry Your Clothes Outside

I like drying my clothes outside after washing them.  There is an old-fashion pleasure in hanging clothes outside.  Of course for the less romantic students who are short on time, I’d better make my choice better-justified.  So here are three reasons you should hang your clothes to dry outside:

  1. It’s economical; the clothes dryer is one of the most power-hungry appliances in your house.  Drying outside is free.  In winter, I hang-dry inside (it’s dry in most houses in winter; air-drying your clothes balances that a bit, and the clothes take less time than you’d think to dry indoors).
  2. It’s more efficacious way to dry:  clothing drying outside airs out more than in the machine and therefore it will smell better – less smoke, less perspiration, etc.
  3. It’s better for your clothes: clothes get damaged with high heat (from the washer and the dryer), from movement and friction (think of the washer and dryer) and from chemicals; if you can reduce the heat and the movement (from the dryer), your clothes will last longer.  Elastic and spandex are especially sensitive and should never be in the dryer – the elastic gets dried out and starts breaking.
  4. It’s better for your health; spending a few minutes outside hanging your clothes is almost a meditation exercise; you cannot go too fast (or you’ll drop everything), the action does not make much noise, and it is outside.

Now that you are totally convinced that you want to hang your clothes to dry, you may be concerned about the lack of space you have; here are a few tips on HOW to do it:

  • If you live in a house, ask your landlord for a clothes dryer tree – they run about $200 but last for years – and it will make his/her house easier to rent later.  The trees are sturdy and can easily take two loads of clothing to dry.
  • If you cannot get the house owner to pay for it, consider sharing the cost between housemates
  • Another, much cheaper alternative is a small metal dryer – these also fit on a balcony if you do not have a yard; as well, they can be taken indoors in bad weather.
  • Hang a rope – make sure it’s high enough that you won’t decapitate anyone walking by, or make it removable at one end – you only have it strung when you are using it.
  • If you only have a balcony, go with the small metal dryer – for indoor and outdoor.
  • The most obvious place for a hanging dryer is in your laundry room if you have one and it is large enough.  Remember though, that the top of the dryer is a great space to put a drying rack.
  • Inside your home, in winter (unless you are in sunny Victoria or Vancouver!), you need to find space to set up your dryer.  If you do a load of wash late at night, you can hang your clothes inside your bedroom early in the morning, before leaving for classes.  By the time you get back home, they will most likely be dry. 
  • After everyone’s had their shower, announce that you need to use the tub to hang your clothes – unless you have roommates who shower continuously, this should not inconvenience anyone – set the dryer in the tub.
  • Hang some towel bars on the ceiling for an easy way to dry shirts: hang the shirts on plastic hangers (in case you get rust from the metal ones) and hang the hangers from the towel bars for maximum air flow.  You can do this in your bedroom or in the bathroom (or the laundry room). 
  • Towels can often be dried directly on the towel bar they usually hang from – we dry our tea towels (that we use to dry our dishes) in the kitchen on towel bars.
  • Most horizontal banisters are great hanging spots for damp clothes.  In summer, you can use the one on the balcony.
  • Sheets are hard to dry because they are so large; if you have a spare set of sheets (so you can change your bedding without washing your sheets right away), wash EITHER the top sheet or the fitted one in a load (not both) so you only have to dry one at the time.  With a large banister you can hang-dry your sheet indoors; otherwise, a few hooks high on your walls/ceiling should let you hang the drying sheet ‘from the ceiling’ for a day – that should be all it takes to dry (you can do it at night when you sleep as long as it’s high enough – and you’ll sleep better in a slightly less dry room in winter).
  • If you find your undies a bit stiff after slow air drying, put them (once dry) in the electric dryer for a few minutes – they just need the agitation to regain their softness.  Stiff towels dry your skin better, and exfoliate at the same time, so enjoy!

Yes, hanging clothes is a bit more work, BUT… it’s SO MUCH better!

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