Hung Out to Dry

About two thirds of people living in the UK have a tumble dryer. And why not? They make your clothes super fluffy, dry in hours and save all the hassle of having soggy clothes around the house. Here are some rough ballpark figures on your energy usage though. A 9kW vented tumble dryer uses around 5.34kWh for a full load cycle. That’s 636 kWh per year (if you use your dryer twice a week). Depending on your energy bills, you’re probably looking at over £200 a year for this. And if you run a wash more regularly, ouch! And that’s before we think of the cost to the environment.

More energy efficient alternatives include heated drying racks, dehumidifiers (I use one of these in winter when the weather is dismal) or simply allowing washing to dry inside on a rack or radiator. But beware, the latter is a recipe for damp, condensation-filled rooms.

There is a better way! Hang it out. Yes, get a washing line and a few pegs and hang your washing up outside the old fashioned way.

Believe me, even in winter, you’ll be surprised how often you can get a wash outside (confession time – I live in the sunny south of England which helps). On a sunny day, or a breezy day with light cloud, even in winter, my clothes are dry enough to be finished off inside on a clothes airer without any other help. In summer, it’s great. My clothes come in super dry and smelling of fresh air!

Perhaps I’m sad, but I really enjoy the act hanging washing out on a line. It gives me a chance to just switch off and let my brain refocus. If you live in a block of flats with a communal area, it may even be a chance for a good old chinwag with your neighbours. And our beautiful planet will heave a sigh of relief at a little less energy consumption.

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