Tumble Dryers (for better or for worse)

I’m going to own up now – I HATE TUMBLE DRYERS, which is why I’ve never owned one, but I realise that they’re very convenient for a lot of people, especially with larger families. Did you know, however, that turning on a tumble dryer for an hour is the equivalent of turning on 225 light bulbs all at the same time? Yes, you heard right – the equivalent of 225 lightbulbs – now that’s not funny!

I appreciate that in this country, drying our clothes can be a bit of a dilemma when it’s cold, or cold and wet. I do think it’s worth saying though that I still manage to dry clothes on the line some of the time even in the winter. The rest of the time, I use radiators or clothes airers. I’m lucky though, as I’ve never found that I get lots of condensation – perhaps because I’m always opening windows, even in the winter (well, not all the time if it’s very frosty outside!).

Let’s be clear though: drying clothes on a washing line is by far the best thing to do, so if you’ve got access to one – use it!

Something else that helps is to ensure that your clothes are spun sufficiently. Occasionally, I’ll go to remove something from the washing machine and it’s really still a bit too wet so I put it on “spin” again to ensure that as much water as possible has been spun out. It’s also important to mention that it costs far less to spin water out of clothes than to dry them in a dryer.

I also plan when I’m going to wash (I’ve never been someone who washes a little bit every day – I tend to do washing when there’s plenty of it, so it can be more than one line-full at a time).

Perhaps because I walk in the countryside each day, I’m always very keen to see the weather forecast details and I also make a note of when will be good drying weather – so if tomorrow, for example, looks like it’s going to be warm and sunny – and even better if there’s going to be a bit of a breeze (which of course dries everything at “turbo” speed!), then I’ll take advantage of that.

If you have to dry indoors, then it’s really important to let the moisture out by opening windows – and quite frankly, it’s also really important to have some fresh air circulating in your home; far better and safer than synthetic air fresheners, that’s for sure!

If you absolutely have to use a dryer:

  • Ensure you fill it up rather than just doing lots of loads with hardly any clothes in the drum, which uses loads of energy!
  • Ensure your clothes are separated and not tangled up when you load them, as enabling air to circulate will help to get to all the parts of the clothes and help them to dry quicker.
  • Try to put similar materials together in a load. It’s a bit of a no-brainer really because when you think about it, lots of different types of clothes will inevitably have different drying times!
  • Again it may seem obvious when pointed out, but try to place the dryer in a warm place in your home rather than out in a garage or utility room. This means the dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to dry everything and again will use less energy (less being a bit of a contradiction in terms!).

The bottom line though is that tumble dryers EAT ENERGY FOR BREAKFAST! As such, whatever model you get and if you use it regularly, it will put your bills up significantly and really isn’t good for the planet – so, try to work towards living without one.


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