Why I air dry my clothes, even in a small apartment

One or two days a week, my hallway turns into a makeshift laundry room. It’s a bit awkward to maneuver around drying clothes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, I like a romantic photo of sheets on a clothesline as much as the next person, but living in an apartment in the city, like many people, I don’t have access to a yard or a clothesline. old-fashioned exterior.

Ditching the clothes dryer is a worthy goal: after your heating and air conditioning, your clothes dryer is probably the biggest energy consumer in your home. According to the non-profit organization Green America, air drying your clothes can reduce the carbon footprint of an average household by 2,400 pounds per year! I always thought a clothes dryer was a necessary evil living in the city until I spotted a photo of an indoor clothesline on a blog, which made me realize I could dry in the air. air-free just about any garment inside – not just my special hand-washable items. Almost a decade after starting my air drying routine, I can tell you that the benefits go way beyond the impact on your electric bill.

Skipping the dryer reduces the wear and tear on your clothes. (All that lint you see? They’re tiny pieces of your clothes that broke during the drying cycle!) Because clothes wear out more slowly, it keeps them out of the landfill longer, and at its best. turn, the increased longevity of your wardrobe discourages you. to buy new clothes that consume precious raw materials. Air drying also prevents laundry accidents: if you air dry, it’s much harder to accidentally shrink a garment or set a stain permanently. Best of all, for anyone with a penchant for the color black: air drying helps your blacks and other darks, like deep indigo denim, stay looking great longer.

Hanging your clothes to dry can also be healthier for you and your family. A new study suggests that the clothes dryer spews microplastics into the air we breathe (yikes!). And a growing body of research reveals that it would be wise to think twice about a gas clothes dryer due to the impact on indoor air quality (more on this here, if you are curious). Finally, clothes dryer exhaust vents can become clogged with lint, causing nearly 3,000 home fires each year, according to FEMA. Friends, get your vents cleaned, please!

If I persuaded you to give air drying a try, here are some tips for getting started:

Buy a good stand

I’ve spent years using the most basic wooden folding stand and it was fine. However, when he finally gave in, I explored bigger options to increase my drying capacity. It took me three tries to find the perfect rack; a large wooden one didn’t hold up and a metal one I found was pretty good, but then I came across Brabantia’s 25m Hang On Rack. As soon as I saw the extra hanging rod and the nifty hanger hooks, I ordered myself one. As a bonus, I discovered that it folds up so much smaller than my previous racks. (Pssst . . . there’s a smaller 20-meter version.) An architect friend who’s also an air-drying enthusiast swears by IKEA’s basic rack and Leifheit’s retractable clothes rack. delicate or small suspensions.

Don’t skip the clothespins

Just because you’re not drying on that perfect clothesline doesn’t mean you don’t need clothespins. These handy clips will help you hang smaller, bulky items like socks, underwear, and baby clothes.

Shake and smooth while you hang

I remember the ah! the moment I watched my former roommate carefully smooth his jeans flat before hanging them up to dry. A little effort to shake something out and smooth it flat before placing it on your rack or hanger gives your garment a much nicer air-dried look. Pay particular attention to collars, pockets and cuffs which can bunch up in the wash.

Dry shirts on hangers

For all of our button down shirts, I simply dry the shirts directly on the hangers which leaves them looking their best. In fact when I remodeled my bathroom I was adamant that we had a fixed shower curtain rod and not a tension one because I wanted something that could hold the weight of my clothes in the process. to dry.

Take your time with the sheets

I love air-drying cloth napkins because they look so much better than they look out of the dryer that I can skip ironing (unless it’s a really formal occasion ). The trick is to carefully hang the towels evenly so that the dryer bar is along the center line where you normally fold the towel.

Lay the knits flat

One thing I don’t put on the dryer is sweaters and other knitted garments, which can stretch when hung. Instead, I lay them flat on a terry cloth towel (either on a wing of the stand or another flat surface).

Use the dryer strategically

I haven’t completely given up on my dryer. Since I live in an apartment in the city, towels, sheets, other bedding items, and very bulky clothes always go in the dryer. But I’m more strategic when using the dryer: I dry towels and heavier items separately from lightweight items to reduce drying times. And if you don’t like the stiff and sometimes crunchy feel of air-dried clothes, Janice Christie, one of the founders of Germantown Laundromat, suggested drying clothes for 10 minutes in the dryer and then hang them dry, which I have found very useful for linen garments.

Don’t delay folding

My last bit of wisdom goes back to double using my driveway as a drying area. As soon as my laundry is dry, I take it out of the basket and fold it. Living in a small apartment, a dryer takes up a lot of space, so it’s essential to avoid procrastinating on the final step.