Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Ditching the Tumble Dryer

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin and Little Green Cheese

I have a confession to make.  We had an electric tumble dryer!  It used to use to be rated at 1800 watts on the warm setting and 2200 watts on the hot setting.  Such a guzzler of electricity, and it was the cause of some very high winter electricity bills.

The good news is that it broke over a year ago when the element burnt out, and I only took it off the wall a few weeks ago and took it to the metal recyclers.

The even better news is that we did not replace it with another electric clothes dryer, even though our clothes drying needs have not changed.  We still need to dry clothes when it is raining, or cold in winter, or humid in summer.

The best news of all is that we have learnt a few tricks and tips that we can now share with you, now that we have managed to go dryer free for over a year.  Here they are.
  1. Don't replace the broken dryer.  Billions of people on the planet survive without this energy wasting device.  You will save a stack of money by avoiding the purchase, have lower electricity bills, and a much lower carbon footprint.  Even if you use GreenPower, you are still saving loads of money.
  2. Look for a good airer/clothes rack/horse that holds at least one load of washing.  We bought two for those big washing days.
  3. Use solar passive in winter to dry your clothes indoors.  We put the airers into the front room which we close off and it gets nice and toasty in there.  It drys the clothes in a day or so and you don't have to brave the elements to hang them out. 
  4. If you use a heater of some sort in the winter evenings, then place the clothes airer a safe distance away from the heat source.  Your clothes will be dry by morning.
  5. Plan ahead.  If you know the kids need their school uniforms for Monday, then do a quick load on eco-mode (don't forget the soap nuts) and load up the airer on Friday night.  They will be dry by Sunday.
  6. String up some cord beneath an under cover outdoors area, preferably one that gets a good breeze.  Your laundry will be dry in a day, even when it is wet outside.   If it is sunny, then use the hills hoist if you have one.
  7. Install a retractable clothes line in your laundry using the space that used to be taken up by the dryer!
  8. Celebrate your successful transition from clothes dryer addict to green, clean, laundry machine.
Here are some pictures of our laundry drying techniques.  Simple yet effective.
    Clothes Airer
    Undercover clothes line

    Retractable indoor clothes line (in)

    Retractable indoor clothes line (out)
    I give most of the credit to my wife Kim, who could have just told me to go and buy a new one when our old dryer broke, but it was her idea to try life without the electric dryer, so I did not suggest otherwise.  Well done to her for going against the grain of the normal societal trend.

    Dry clothes the natural way is the only way to go.  Our electricity bill has never been so low in winter, and our clothes last longer and don't have that static cling you get from using a dryer.

    Have any of you ditched the dryer and switched to indoor or outdoor methods?