Green Laundry and Clothes Dryers


Can  You Have Green Laundry with Clothes Dryers?


Clothes dryers are very convenient, but they’re also big energy users, and thus expensive to use, and not green.

So it makes sense to look for alternatives, and use green laundry practices.

Laundry Line DryingOf course we all know that if the weather is good, and if you have the space, line drying clothes (or using a clothes rack / clothes horse) is the healthiest and the greenest and the cheapest method (see hanging tips).

Using the sun to dry your clothes (solar power) is free.

But what if

  • you don’t have a garden / balcony / patio / drying yard?
  • you are not allowed to hang your washing out
  • the weather is really bad, and it takes up to 3 days to dry laundry inside?

There are actually lots of alternatives to an electric, energy-hogging tumble-drier or drying machine, if you just put your mind to it.


Top Green Laundry Solutions

  1. If you’re using a clothes horse indoors and you can’t open the windows for some breeze, then use a fan to move the air around the clothes, or even a dehumidifier.
  2. When I was growing up in Ireland most houses had a pulley system – a clothes line or rack that was lifted up into the otherwise unused room space near the ceiling. Clothes dried quietly indoors and didn’t take up any space.
  3. Steal an idea from hotels – use a cable (retractable clothes line) stretching over the bathtub to dry clothes.
  4. Buy more of small, inexpensive things you wear a lot – such as socks and t-shirts – so that you can always have a clean supply. Then hoard the dirty ones until the weather is good enough to hang them out on the line.  (This also ensures that you run a full load when you do wash them).
  5. Use a high spin setting or run an extra spin cycle on your washing machine to get rid of as much water as possible before it comes out.  Yes, you’ll use energy for the spin, but it’s much, much less than the energy needed to dry clothes in a tumble dryer or clothes dryer.


Use a Combination for Green Laundry

green laundry no clothes dryer

If it’s not possible to dry everything without a clothes dryer, use these strategies:

  • As much as possible, use drying racks in sunny rooms so the tumble dryer doesn’t have to be used.
  • Partly drying clothes outside (even on a cloudy day) will save energy. You can then use a dryer to ‘finish off’ the washing.
  • If the weather is poor avoid washing large loads.


How to Save Energy (and Money) When Using Clothes Dryers

If you’re using a machine, there are some simple things you can do to save energy:

  • Spin clothes well before putting them in the dryer.
  • Only use the dryer to dry damp items that have come off the line on cold days.
  • Don’t mix heavyweight and lightweight articles in the same load as they take longer to dry.
  • Wool and acrylic items dry at a much lower temperature than cotton.  So sort your laundry for the best (and quickest) results.
  • Don’t overload the dryer or over-dry your clothes. A longer drying time uses more electricity.
  • (Green Tip – over-dried clothes are harder to iron.  Remove them while they are still slightly damp).
  • Run the dryer on a medium heating setting rather than high.
  • Don’t add wet items to a load that’s already partly dry.
  • Fold your laundry as you take it out of the dryer.  You’ll have fewer wrinkles and you may not even need to iron everything.
  • Clean the dryer’s lint filter after each load and keep the room well-ventilated so that the dryer runs more efficiently.
  • If you’re buying a new machine, make sure it’s energy efficient (Energy Star or A rated), and make sure it has an automatic drying sensor function so it doesn’t over-dry clothes, but switches off when it senses the moisture level is low.

You might also enjoy:  Go green with your washing machine

It’s easy to use green laundry practices.  Think before you automatically pop things in the clothes dryer.

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