How can I dry clothes most energy efficiently in winter?

Winter is not only cold but can also be quite clammy in parts of Australia. And when it’s already difficult to get your clothes dry after a wash in the lower temperatures, it certainly can be quite the task to ensure a swift, energy conscious drying when the air is humid because it hasn’t stopped raining for days.

Luckily, there are a few options of drying clothes in winter – even for the coldest of days.

Inside the house

Sure, you could just put all your washing during winter in the clothes dryer. But they can be expensive to run and can cause damage to some items such as finer clothing.

A good alternative is putting your washing machine on the highest spin cycle possible. For most machines that will be 1200 instead of the 600 or 800 the machine usually runs for a normal cycle. This will cost much, much less than running a dryer for an hour or two and doesn’t actually take any longer than your normal wash cycle.  Yes, your clothes will come out a with a few more creases but that’s nothing that a bit of smoothing and perhaps some ironing later on can’t fix.

Once the wash is done, simply put your well spun clothes onto a clothesline or clothes horse, making sure there is lots of space between the items and let them dry near a warm, dry place. This can be a living room next to a fire or maybe in a dry laundry room.

As a bonus, you can try the “towel trick”. Simply lay your heavy clothing item (this works best with garments like jeans or warm non-woollen jumpers) flat onto a fluffy towel and roll it up into a sort of towel sausage. Now twist the towel from one end to the other as hard as you can. This will cause the excess water in the jeans to be transferred to the towel where the water is then absorbed. You can repeat the process as many times as you like, just make sure your towel is dry enough. Afterwards, just hang up the clothing so it can get some air and it will dry much quicker and with much less energy required than running a dryer or putting your heating on high.

Another tip is to rotate your clothes. This is especially helpful with heavy items such as quilt covers, jumpers or jeans. Make sure the left, right, front and backside are getting enough air. This will help speeding up the overall drying process.

Outside the house

You might not quite believe it but yes, it is possible to dry your clothes outside – even in winter! Clothes dry when the moisture in them evaporates. This is influenced by 2 other factors: heat and time. So if you want your clothes to dry quickly, you can speed up the evaporating process with heat. That doesn’t mean that you need heat to dry anything, it just means that line drying clothes in colder winter air might take a little bit longer.

Simply hang your washing outside on a cold day. Bonus points for sunshine because that speeds up the drying process but is not always required. Make sure that all your items have enough space to dry and won’t touch each other when it’s slightly windy.

Some people like to know their clothes will be dry in a few hours, which is why they tend to dry smaller items such as underwear, shirts and other items of light clothing inside and only put the larger, heavier items such as bed linen and towels outside. And you know that amazing fresh smell your clothes have when you dry them outside? You can get the same crisp smell in winter too!


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