I have a very complex love-hate relationship with air drying laundry. In fact, from the outside looking in, one might think that it’s a strictly “love” relationship because I have not splurged on a dryer as yet. It’s not that I have any issues with embracing a simpler life and including a dryer in my laundry rotation. But I am very conscious of the costs attached to this particular modern comfort. Whilst there are several benefits to air drying laundry, I know that having a dryer would bring a level of convenience that I may have never experienced before. But is it worth it?
Growing up in Barbados, throwing a fresh, clean set of laundry on a line to dry in the sun and wind was the norm. Most people had endless lines in the backyard or side yard, which were designed solely for drying laundry. I’ll admit that hanging laundry on the line to air dry is not one of my favourite tasks. I dread having to hang each laundry item on the line and secure each piece with clothes pegs. And I dread it even more if a rain cloud appears and threatens a game of hide and seek with the sun.
Benefits of Air Drying Laundry
The benefits of air dying laundry are varied and range from money based advantages to environmental wins. Retro House Wife Goes Green highlighted several of these in an article that explained the benefits of line drying clothing. Some of these benefits include saving money; naturally bleaching your white laundry; extending the life of your clothing and preserving the environment. Unfortunately, these benefits mean nothing in housing estates where developers are more concerned with increasing property values and maximising returns on their investments.
Does Air Drying Laundry Save You Money?
One of the benefits of air drying laundry is that it can save you money. You may be able to save hundreds on electricity or gas costs, simply from not using your dryer. If you use a laundromat or concierge laundry service, hanging your laundry on a line can save you some coins immediately.
According to a Woman’s World article that investigates whether or not air drying can save you money, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has created an appliance energy calculator that allows you to calculate how much your appliances may be costing you in energy.
For example, if you use your dryer one hour each day for 365 days, it costs approximately $122.20 a year. Whilst that may not seem like a lot, that figure could increase depending on the size of your family, their laundry needs and the cost of electricity in your area.
Alternatives to Air Drying Laundry
Many of the newer housing developments in Barbados, which aim to appeal to a certain market, have banned the practice of air drying laundry on laundry lines from their estates. Instead, property owners are advised to purchase dryers for their homes and thus avoid violating the covenants of the estate. On one hand, this may appear to be a forward thinking move that is most likely influenced by a goal of preserving the prestige of the housing development.
If you are not in a position to fully air dry your laundry, you can still use a couple alternatives which will still be beneficial to you and to the environment. You can partially dry clothing on either an indoor and outdoor line and then put them in the dryer. You will be cutting back on electricity and/ or gas because you will not have to run the dryer for as long as drying soaking wet clothing. Another alternative is to add a large towel to the load of laundry that you are drying using the dryer. The thought process behind this is that the towel will absorb much of the water from your load. As a result, your clothes will dry faster, thus reducing your energy usage.
Best Items for Air-Drying Laundry
If you’re willing to jump on the air drying laundry bandwagon, there are several products on the market that you can use. These suggestions are perfect for air drying laundry indoors. The list below includes both indoor and outdoor air drying solutions. Don’t forget to purchase clothes pins and a clothes pin bag, so that you can hang items on the lines and not worry about them falling off.
In times where the protection of the environment is significant, especially with the onslaught of climate change, we can implement small actions into our lives that can protect the environment.