I mentioned our reduced use of our clothes dryer when I was discussing our last electricity bill. For the last year we’ve been (mostly) hang-drying our clothes to save the cost of running the dryer, and I think it has made an impact on the scale of a few dollars per month. It’s actually a bit labor-saving, too!
Our (apartment-friendly) hang-dry method
We wait until we have three loads of laundry to wash, which for our clothing ratios is usually two colors and one whites. For each load, we separate the wet clothes into those for hanging and those for putting in the dryer. We leave the hanging clothes up overnight and run usually about one load through the dryer.
When we first considered hang-drying our clothes, we bought a clothesline and clothespins and Kyle affixed it to run diagonally across our screened-in balcony. That didn’t really work out! The line wasn’t long enough to get a whole load on, and as it was out on the balcony it was sort of “out of sight, out of mind” for remembering not to pop the wet clothes into the dryer. Plus, it was a bit of work to get all the clothes pinned up on the clothesline and then unpin all of them after they were dry.
So one day we just decided to put our wet clothes on hangers and put them on the shower rod in our second bathroom to dry. It worked very well! The clothes dried overnight, as long as we spaced them out a tiny bit from one another, and when they were dry we just moved them straight into our closet. We liked the strategy so much we bought extra hangers to accommodate the clothing items that ultimately end up folded or in drawers.
Depending on the material, clothes dried indoors like this can end up stiff. My understanding is that clothes dried outside won’t have this problem as they should be blown around in the breeze or whatever. We have stopped hang-drying clothes that get particularly stiff and just use the dryer for them.
Items we hang to dry
- Kyle’s underthings
- workout clothes
Items we put in the dryer
- Emily’s underthings
- sheets and towels
Socks and other small items are way too much of a pain to hang-dry, plus we would have to pin them, so they end up in the dryer. I bet stiff socks would bother me! Shirts really take up the largest volume of what we wash, though, so it works out well to hang-dry all of them.
Try it out!
All you need, really, is a rod and the hangers the clothes came off of in the first place, or perhaps a few extra for items you don’t normally hang up, to try out this method. Of course, it won’t work well if you ultimately fold most of your clothes – in that case, stick with your dryer or a clothesline. Here are some other advantages:
- It really isn’t any more work to take a few items down from hangers to be folded than to move clothes in and out of the dryer.
- The dryer is stressful on some of your clothes so hang-drying them should improve their lifespan.
- Clothes you hang-dry don’t end up sitting in laundry baskets for days on end, wrinkling up and waiting to be put away (tell me I’m not the only one who does this…)!
- I think this method is possible even if you only have one shower rod in your house, since most clothes dry within a few hours or overnight. It’s actually an incentive to get them put away. :)
What do you think of this drying method – have you ever tried it? What offbeat methods do you use to reduce your utility bills?
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