As time has passed, the human race has got lazy, very lazy. If we can get a machine to do a job for us, we let the machine do it. If we can drive to the store, we drive to the store. It’s only a matter of time before we all buy robots to cook and clean, perhaps even take the kids to school once antonymous cars become more commonplace.
Is it a good thing though? Probably not. Very few people take pride in being called lazy, and it’s a slippery slope once you start letting the machines win. Perhaps that’s a bit of a melodramatic way of putting it, but when it comes to laundry, it’s certainly a bit crazy how things have progressed if you think about it.
Most homes have washing machines, and a growing number of those have either a tumble dryer too, or the washing machine is a washer dryer in one unit. As a result, it’s become all too easy to dry washing electronically rather than take advantage of the open air. Most of us know that it’s good to dry washing outdoors – 2020 has shown us the importance of fresh air – ventilation is a key weapon in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s also generally accepted that fresh air is something that’s great for our well-being too.
Getting out and about is synonymous with exercise, and in the world of laundry, that pretty much holds true too. Anyone who wears a fitness tracker like a FitBit will know how many steps a day you can rack up by simply doing the jobs around the house that need doing, so make a few of those trips outdoors to hang washing on the line and you’ll get even more activity clocked up.
Conversely, there’s very little activity in moving wet clothing from the washer to the dryer, and none at all if it’s a two in one appliance. That combined with the fact that you’re using two electrical functions mean that the electricity bill is taking a double hammering, when the wind and sunshine will do the job outside for free. What’s more, the wind and sun are examples of green, renewable energy, whereas the use of a tumble dryer is much more polluting.
Of course, it’s very easy to take the lazy option, and there’s also those people that live in blocks of flats shouting “aha! it’s all very well saying all this but we’ve not got a garden to put a washing line in!”. That may be true, and there may be no outdoor option available, but there are indoor solutions that work perfectly well in flats. The most popular, and arguably most obvious choice is the clothes airer, or clothes horse as some people call them. They may take up space, and of course space is at a premium in pokey little inner city flats, but they do fold down to put away when they’re not in use.
Placing a good airer in front of a radiator will get quick results too (although always leave a little gap to avoid an unnecessary fire risk), and there’s even heated airers available too if you like to dry your laundry in record time. You can see a wide range of them here, with all sorts of options to see and read about. The key with indoor drying, if it’s not in a tumble dryer, gets us back to that point earlier about ventilation.
As clothes dry, the water from washing needs to go somewhere. Much like when the sun comes out after rain, the water evaporates into the air, and the air becomes increasingly humid. It’s an indoor version of the water cycle, if you will. The solution is to open windows, and we mean windows, not a window. To get good ventilation you need a draught, and for a draught you need an entry and exit point for the air.
Typically, a well ventilated flat will dry clothing on an airer at least twice as quickly than one with close windows and doors as the air is still. You’ll also get more of a problem with condensation too, as the moisture will condense from the air against colder surfaces, which will usually be walls and windows.
All in all, outside drying is best, but the same rules apply indoors if that’s not possible. Combining heat and air movement (wind outside, a draught inside) will get better and faster results. Failing to create the correct conditions can create slow drying laundry, and in extreme cases, that can smell as bad as not washing in the first place!