Air drying your clothes is an easy way to save money on your energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, clothes dryers account for around 6% of a home’s total energy use. By air drying instead, you can cut your electricity bill significantly. Below I’ll explain the benefits of air drying and provide tips on how to effectively air dry all types of clothing.
Why Air Dry Your Clothes?
Air drying clothes has several advantages over using a clothes dryer:
- Using a clothes dryer costs around $0.30 per load. Air drying is free. For a family doing several loads per week, this can add up to over $100 per year in savings.
Less Wear and Tear on Clothes
- The heat from dryers can damage fabrics and cause them to wear out more quickly. Air drying is gentler, helping your clothes last longer.
Better for the Environment
- Dryers use a lot of electricity, which leads to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Air drying has no emissions.
- Some fabrics like wool and linen shrink easily in the dryer. Air drying prevents shrinkage problems.
- Air dried clothes tend to have fewer wrinkles, saving time on ironing.
Tips for Effective Air Drying
Follow these tips to ensure your clothes dry quickly and without issues:
Hang or Lay Flat
Hanging clothes allows air to circulate all around the garment for fast drying. Use hangers or a drying rack.
Laying flat is best for sweaters, delicate fabrics and items prone to stretching like t-shirts. Fold a towel or use a mesh rack.
- Look for drying instructions on clothing labels. Items like athletic wear may be designed to tumble dry.
Shake Out Items
- Before hanging, shake out clothing vigorously to remove wrinkles and ensure no parts are bunched together.
Use Indoor or Outdoor Drying Areas
Indoors, laundry rooms, mudrooms and bathrooms work well. Place a fan nearby to speed drying.
Outdoors, clotheslines and folding racks allow clothes to dry in the sun and breeze.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
- Direct sun can fade dark fabrics and damage delicate items. Use shade or bring clothes in before peak sunlight hours.
Check on Progress
- Monitor drying progress and remove clothes as soon as fully dry to avoid over-drying. Take clothes indoors if rain threatens.
Special Considerations by Fabric Type
Certain fabrics require specific air drying methods:
- Cotton dries quickly hung on a line or rack. Lay flat if prone to stretching.
- Lay wool flat on towels to prevent wrinkles and Felting. Never hang wool sweaters.
Synthetics (Polyester, Nylon, Etc.)
- Synthetics dry fast. Hang on non-plastic hangers to prevent static cling.
Rayon and Silk
- Lay flat and smooth to prevent creases on these delicate fabrics. Avoid direct sunlight.
- Hang jeans upside down by the hem to maintain their shape as they dry.
- Lay stretchy workout clothes flat to prevent sagging and distortion of the fibers.
Storing Once Dry
Fold or hang dry clothes right away to prevent new wrinkles from forming.
For clothes prone to wrinkling, use the steam function on your iron to smooth out creases after air drying.
Air drying your laundry takes a bit more time than using a clothes dryer but has huge benefits for your budget and the planet. Follow these air drying tips and with a little practice you’ll get the same great results minus the energy waste. Your wallet and the environment will thank you!