How to Save Money By Air Drying Your Clothes Outside
Doing laundry can be expensive, especially with the rising costs of energy and water. One great way to save money on laundry is to air dry your clothes outside instead of using the dryer. Here is an in-depth guide on how air drying your clothes can help you save money.
Why Air Drying Saves Money
Using your dryer is one of the most energy-intensive household tasks. The average electric clothes dryer uses 3-5 kWh of electricity per load, costing around $0.30-$0.50 per load to run. Gas dryers use around 18-35 cubic feet of natural gas, which can cost $0.25-$0.75 per load.
Air drying completely eliminates these energy costs, saving you $100 or more per year on utility bills for a typical household. It also reduces wear and tear on your dryer, meaning fewer repairs and longer lifespan.
In addition, air drying helps clothes last longer since the heat from dryers can damage fabrics over time. This allows you to extend the life of clothes and other items like sheets and towels.
Choosing a Drying Rack or Clothesline
To start air drying your laundry, you need either an outdoor clothesline or indoor drying rack. Here are some options to consider:
- Umbrella clothesline – Can handle heavy wet loads up to 40 lbs. Foldable and portable.
- Retractable clothesline – Allows you to extend line when needed. Mounts on wall or ceiling.
- Freestanding drying rack – Sturdy and stable on floor or countertop. Different shelf levels for items.
- Folding drying rack – Lightweight and collapses for storage. Best for delicate items and smaller loads.
- Laundry drying rack – Hangs over appliances like washer/dryer. Suspends clothes for air circulation.
Look for racks/clotheslines made of powder-coated metal or wood that won’t rust or decay. Focus on ones with enough capacity for your laundry needs and weight limitations. Prices range from $10 for basic folding racks up to $75+ for sturdy permanent clotheslines.
Choosing the Best Location
Location is key for faster, more effective drying. Here are ideal spots:
- Outdoors in direct sunlight – The sun’s UV rays help sanitize as the heat speeds up drying. Place near house for security.
- Enclosed porch or covered area – Protects from rain but still gets good airflow.
- Indoors near open window – Circulation from breeze outside. Pick room not in use to avoid dampness.
- Basement or utility room – Less ideal airflow but works if space has dehumidifier.
Avoid shaded areas without direct sun or ventilation. Damp indoor areas like bathrooms can also breed mold.
Preparing Laundry for Drying
To make sure clothes dry thoroughly:
- Shake items out after washing to reduce tangles and wrinkles.
- Separate heavy cottons from lightweight fabrics – they take different times to dry.
- Hang shirts, jeans, dresses by the bottom hem or loops to keep shape.
- Lay sweaters flat on a surface to air dry to avoid stretching.
- Hang socks and delicates on smaller drying rack shelves.
- Check clothing tags – some fabrics like wool should lay flat to dry.
Make sure to space out items evenly so air can fully circulate. Turn or flip halfway through drying time.
Estimated Drying Times
Drying times depend on humidity, weather conditions, and airflow. As a general guide:
- T-shirts, jeans, towels: 1-2 hours
- Button-down shirts, dresses, sheets: 2-3 hours
- Heavy jackets, comforters: 4-6 hours
- Delicates like lingerie: 2-3 hours
Thicker cottons and denim take longer than lightweight athletic wear. Hot summer days speed up drying vs. cooler spring/fall temps. Monitor items and remove once fully dry.
Maintenance and Storage
With proper care, your drying rack or clothesline should last for years. Follow these tips:
- Wipe down wooden racks occasionally to prevent mold/mildew.
- Use plastic covers or bring clothesline in during rainy seasons.
- Sand down rust spots on metal racks and treat with anti-rust spray paint.
- Collapse and store out of direct sun when not in use to prevent fading.
By air drying your laundry, you can save hundreds of dollars over time on utility bills. With the right setup and location, you can reduce your energy usage while keeping clothes fresh. Follow these guidelines to successfully make the transition from dryer to clothesline!