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The cost-of-living crisis means we’re all looking for ways to save money, particularly with our heating bills. Drying clothes is one of the things that increases fuel bills over the winter months. We all need clean clothes so not washing them isn’t really an option!
So, what are the options for getting your clothes dry in winter? Here are five options that range from free to the most expensive way of doing it.
Dry clothes outside
Drying clothes outside isn’t just for spring and summer. There’s no minimum temperature that clothes need to dry. The colder it is, the longer it takes. But if you have somewhere dry outside, your clothes will start to dry. Drying clothes this way is the best way for the environment as well as your pocket.
If you have a garden, is there a way you could create a covered area using a gazebo or awning? As long as the area is dry, your clothes will start to dry in anything above about five or six degrees. Even if that means your clothes aren’t completely dry, the time they need to finish off will be less than drying inside straight from the washing machine.
If you live in a flat with a balcony which is covered, there are lots of option from a traditional airer to a wall mounted one.
Check the weather forecasts and then plan your washing for the days which are likely to have the best outdoor drying conditions. Of course, the weather can be unpredictable. But only washing on the days that are likely to be dryer, will help you keep fuel costs down.
Heat rises so the best place to dry clothes is on the ceiling. Fitting a ceiling airer in a room that’s warm will help your clothes dry, without adding to your heating bill. And because they’re on the ceiling, they don’t take up any space.
Kitchens tend to get warm from the heat of cooking, even when the heating isn’t on. However, cooking smells might make it impractical to dry clothes in there. Your dining room or bathroom may be your best option.
Ceiling airers start from as little as around £25 and are either made from wood or lightweight metal. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so there’s bound to be something that fits the space you have available. They’re easy to fit too.
Using a traditional airer next to a radiator will get your clothes dry when the heating is on. If the clothes have been outside first, the time it takes to dry this way will be less. Putting clothes on an airer allows clothes to dry better than putting them on a radiator. Air can circulate between the arms and doesn’t prevent the radiator heat from getting to the rest of the room.
A heated airer is a cheaper way to dry clothes than using a tumble dryer. Some airers can cost as little as 10p per hour to run (depending on electricity tariff). The length of time needed to dry clothes will vary depending on the fabric and whether clothes are put on straight from the washer or dried outside first.
If you do a load of washing a day, a heated airer could be the perfect solution, particularly if you don’t have the heating on. The upfront cost will vary depending on the size and model you choose. A three-tier heated airer costs from about £100.
Drying clothes in as tumble dryer is the go-to for most households. The average cost of a cycle is now around £2, which is considerably more than other drying options. So, if you want to use your tumble dryer, perhaps limit its use to things like bedding and towels which are more difficult to get dry any other way.
And again, drying outside for a period of time, will reduce the amount of time the tumble dryer takes to dry the load.
Other ways to reduce the cost of getting clothes dry in winter
The best way of reducing the cost of drying clothes is to wash them less often. The temptation is to put everything you’ve worn that day, into the wash basket when you get ready for bed at night. Getting into the habit of checking your clothes and using the sniff test can help to reduce the volume of washing.
If you’ve got a baby or toddler, you just have to accept that your washing basket is pretty much always going to be full. But the older your kids get, the easier it is for them to keep their clothes clean. Would a quick spot wash do the trick? Freshening clothes with a homemade laundry fresh spray may mean clothes can last another wear. Have a look at this article if you’d like to learn how to make your own spray.
If you’ve got any other money saving tips to get your clothes dry in winter, leave a comment so we can all try them.
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